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Filed under Showcase, Sports, Volleyball

Volleyball sophomores honored at game

Volleyball sophomores honored at game

Sophomore players: Ali Akler, Ana Kiso, J’Keisha Evans, Haley Hampton

Panola Fillies volleyball hosted a Sophomore Night on Wednesday, Oct. 23 honoring the four sophomore players for the 2013-2014 year. (See photos from this and other volleyball events at the Fillies Volleyball Photo Gallery.)

The first sophomore, #2 Ali Akler,  is a transfer from Cowley County Community College, setter/defensive specialist from Cheney, Kansas.  She joined the team this year initially as a setter, but made the transition to defensive specialist early in conference play and has done a remarkable job.  On the year, she has played in 60 sets, collecting 119 digs.   Her personal best came in a thrilling 5-game victory against her former school Cowley County when she posted 15 digs.  Akler is majoring in Psychology and is set to graduate from Panola College this December before continuing her education at a university.  She was escorted by her father, Bill Akler.

The second sophomore is Ana Kiso, a setter from Belgrade, Serbia.  After playing sparingly her freshman season at PC, Kiso took over the starting role for the Fillies early this season with a breakout performance at the TJC Dana Hatch Invitational. Kiso has appeared in 87 sets this season totaling 774 assists and averaging 8.90 assists per set. She currently ranks 4th in the assists category for all players in the prestigious Region XIV Conference.  Kiso has also been an offensive threat for the Fillies, earning 57 kills for a .241 hitting percentage. She has collected 215 total digs thus far and 52 total blocks to round out her stats for this season.  Ana is majoring in Science and has excelled tremendously in the classroom, currently boasting a 3.77 GPA. After graduation from Panola this May, she plans to continue both her education and playing career at a university to be determined.  Ana was escorted by her mother away from home, Susan Ledkins.

The third sophomore, J’Keisha Evans, is a Pine Tree High School graduate from Longview, Texas who has developed into one of the instrumental leaders on the team this year, #20.  Evans started for the Fillies as a freshman, appearing in 96 sets, notching 223 kills for 2.32 per set and averaging .44 blocks per set. She really came on offensively towards the end of her first season and has carried that into her sophomore year to become a valuable hitter for the Fillies.  As a sophomore she has played in 90 sets already, has 206 total kills for 2.29 per set.  She’s also developed into a key blocker for the Fillies averaging .61 per set this season.  JK’s personal best this year came in an exciting 4-game win over Vernon in which she tallied 16 kills on .312 hitting and closed out a decisive 33-31 game 3 victory with 2 huge solo blocks. Evans is majoring in Psychology and plans to continue her education and playing career at the next level after graduation from Panola this May.  She was escorted by her parents Keisha and Miguel Repress.

The fourth sophomore, from Mesquite, Texas, is one of the most powerful players to come through PC and one who has undoubtedly left her mark on the Panola College volleyball program in more ways than one, #22 sophomore captain, Haley Hampton. Hampton was recruited to Panola as an outside hitter out of Mesquite Horn high school and that is where she started her freshman season. Playing in 95 sets her first year as a Fillie, she totaled 290 kills to average 3.05 kills per set on a .274 hitting average.   Her performance last year in conference play earned her Honorable Mention All-Conference honors in a stacked Region XIV Conference loaded with talent. Last spring, Hampton unselfishly made the transition to Middle Blocker where she has been a dominant force for the Fillies this season. So far this year, she has collected 199 kills on a 2.93 hitting percentage. Her .93 blocks per set currently ranks her 6th in all of Region XIV and 3rd in the North. Haley has been an integral piece of numerous big wins for the Fillies this season, but her season best came against NCTC when she hammered home 15 kills for a blazing .565 hitting percentage. Even with all she does well for the Fillies on the court, Hampton’s intangibles in her fiery work ethic and leadership are what will be missed most. She has also done well in the classroom, currently holding a 3.31 GPA. Majoring in General Studies, Hampton is set to become a Panola College graduate May 2014 before continuing her education and playing career at a university she has not yet decided. Hampton was escorted by her mother Stephanie Hampton, step father Donny, and little brother Tyson.

This year’s sophomore class has been an integral piece of putting Panola Volleyball in the national spotlight, with a weekly ranking in the top 15 teams in the country all season. They have worked hard to selflessly lead a freshman-loaded team through both triumph and adversity, and have shown daily what it means to truly be invested in a team and program.

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