Fillies seeded #1 at National Tournament
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The Panola College Fillies Volleyball team is seeded #1 at the National Tournament in Casper, Wyoming after winning the Region XIV Championship in Baytown, November 4-6. The Fillies finished the regular season in the #1 spot in the NJCAA poll for the final three weeks of the season.
First game at the National Tournament will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, against #16 seed Hill College of Hillsboro, Texas. Panola College will hold a Volleyball Watch Party at 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, in Charlie’s Bistro and the foyer of the A.J. Johnson Gymnasium.
“Panola College is very excited about our #1 seeded Fillies Volleyball Team,” said Jody Harris, student activities coordinator. “Unfortunately, we can’t all be in Casper, Wyoming, to cheer the Fillies to victory, but we will stream the game live from Charlie’s Bistro. There will be free finger foods, and don’t forget about the Bistro’s happy hour drink specials. We look forward to seeing everyone at 2 p.m on Thursday!”
The excitement has been building since the Fillies won at Region. On Monday, Nov. 14, members of the Panola County Chamber of Commerce and the Panola College Board of Trustees joined friends, family, fans and fellow students for a send-off for the Fillies as they boarded the bus bound for the airport on the first leg of their trip to Wyoming.
Head Coach Amber McCray said this has been a special year for her and assistant coach Jane Hays.
“I think about the selflessness these players have shown all season, not concerned about who gets the glory as long as PC gets the win,” she said. “We’ve had seven different players make All-Tournament teams this year. That is unheard of to me! But when you genuinely have a ‘We Over Me’ attitude, like my sis always says, ‘Anything truly is possible’.”
The Road to Nationals
For the first time since 2009, the Panola College Fillies are headed back to the NJCAA National Tournament. PC punched their ticket by taking down Lee College, 15th ranked Wharton County, and #14 San Jacinto College.
Panola swept host Lee College in the opening match of the weekend (25-20, 25-19, 25-19). Offensively, freshman outside Jaqueline da Silva led with 8 kills, followed by a trio of hitters (freshman right side Kaitlin Adams, sophomore outside Victoria Baptista, and freshman middle blocker Barbara Sabino) all adding 6 apiece. Freshman setters Kinly Carter and Cayman Sutton dished out 16 and 15 assists, respectively.
Sophomore libero Morgan Currie led the defense with 16 digs, with da Silva adding 6. Sophomore middle blocker Rachel Henderson dominated the net picking up 6 total blocks, while Adams and Sabino each added 4.
The win over Lee set up a rematch with Wharton County and resulted in another sweep for the Fillies (25-22, 25-18, 25-22). Barbara Sabino led the way with 8 kills, Jaqueline da Silva picked up 7, and Kaitlyn Adams and freshman right side Saadia Sahadeo added 6 apiece. Cayman Sutton and Kinly Carter dished out 16 and 13 assists each with Carter also adding two aces.
Adams and Sabino came up big at the net with 5 blocks apiece with Rachel Henderson and Sahadeo adding 3 each. Morgan Currie picked up 10 digs and 4 key aces, da Silva 8 digs and Baptista 7.
In the Region XIV Tournament championship match Panola took down San Jacinto College in four sets (25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 26-24). It was an epic battle that saw 27 tie scores and 10 lead changes.
The trio of Jaqueline da Silva, Victoria Baptista, and Kaitlyn Adams pounded out 15, 14, and 11 kills apiece, with Rachel Henderson adding 9 and Barbara Sabino 6. Cayman Sutton and Kinly Carter set up the offense with 29 and 25 assists, respectively. Sutton also added 8 digs and Carter picked up 3 aces.
Libero Morgan Currie racked up a match-high 26 digs, da Silva picked up 16 of her own, and Baptista added 10. Sabino tallied 9 total blocks, Baptista added 5, and Henderson 3.
For their efforts over the weekend, freshman middle blocker Barbara Sabino was voted an All-Tournament selection while sophomore outside Victoria Baptista was named Most Valuable Player.
Fillies Head Coach McCray was named Coach of the Year and Ana Oliveira was named Most Valuable Player. Rachel Henderson earned first-team honors, while teamates Cayman Sutton, Victoria Baptista, Morgan Currie, Barbara Sabino and Jaqueline da Silva were named to the second team. Kaitlyn Adams and Kinly Carter earned honorable mention status.
Follow the action at the National Tournament by watching the games live-streaming on the njcaatv.com website.
Here is the Tournament Bracket link, which will provide an online or printable bracket: http://www.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2016-17/div1/national_championship/index.