Eighth grader Malyssa Jeter had a good strategy going into the game against Avon Park. “Score more points and keep the ball off the floor,” she said. The strategy worked early for the Panthers, but eventually the aggressive attacks by the Red Devils were too much for DeSoto to handle and they dropped the game 27-25, 35-16, 15-5.
Avon Park grabbed an early lead with soft hits over the front row of the Panthers. Once DeSoto picked up the soft shot, Hannah Rogers came to the line and served seven consecutive points to build a 15-7 DeSoto lead. Avon Park spent the rest drawing closer, but lost momentum several times due to service errors. With some improved defense by Avon Park, DeSoto coach Cail was forced to call a timeout with his squad holding a slim 21-20 lead. A Jeter kill increased the lead by two, but a net violation and serve receive error tied the game at 23, forcing another Panther timeout. A couple of side outs by both teams gave DeSoto a slim one point lead before a kill by middle hitter Heather Murphy gave DeSoto a 27-25 victory.
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