The Paris Lady Tiger volleyball team has worked hard through their 2018 campaign and are now leading the Little Illini Conference.
The Lady Tigers, who finished their 2017 season at 17-11, currently sit at the top of the Little Illini Conference with a perfect 4-0 record in the LIC and 14-6 overall. The third-year Paris Coach Christy Pinkston loves what she is seeing from her girls.
“They want to win and they play like it,” Pinkston said. “They go out there and compete.”
This past week, the Lady Tigers defeated Marshall in a two-game sweep.
Emma Pinkston and Lizzie Rouse led the team in kills with 10 apiece. After taking the first set in a quick 25-16 win, it looked as though the Lady Tigers were in for an easy sweep. Paris allowed the Lions to stick around though, finally overcoming them in extra points at 28-26.
The win does not mean that there aren’t a number of things that the squad can improve upon. One of the things that the Marshall game made glaringly obvious was the need to keep the pedal to the metal when up.
“It’s something that we have to emphasize in the future,” Pinkston said “We have to push all the way through the game, we can’t let up on teams or they’ll fight back.” This was especially true a week ago when Paris faced off against a tough Tri-County team at the Lady Tiger Classic. After winning the first set 25-21, Tri-County stormed back to win the final two sets 25-21 and 25-20. Though Paris went on to beat West Vigo and Chrisman in the tournament, the setback resulted in a second-place finish at their home tournament.
Despite being late in the season, the Lady Tigers have not been able to find a consistent lineup. Injuries have forced rotations of athletes to other positions on the court and resulted in some girls playing all around.
“We look at out weaknesses and switch it up,” Pinkston said “We are finally getting some girls like Hannah (Bowers) getting back from injury and that will make a difference.”
The Lady Tigers sit in a tie for first-place in the LIC with Newton. Robinson is just a half-game back from Paris. With the conference title up for grabs, Pinkston is well aware of the importance that each game brings to the table.
“There is a lot of back-and-forth with teams in the conference,” Pinkston said “It’s whoever is going to show up on a given night and make the least mistakes that is going to win.”
Confidence has been the name of the game though throughout the Lady Tiger’s season. The seniors on the team are excited about the possibility of posting a conference championship banner in the Paris high school rafters as the program’s first. Though there are still several weeks of play for the team, the Lady Tiger’s coach knows what the key will be to continue towards their goal.
“We have to play well as a team every night,” Pinkston said “We don’t have the option to look past any conference game. The overall goal of a conference championship is still in our minds but we focus on each game as it comes.”
Up next, Paris hosts LIC opponent Richland County Tuesday.
Richland County is 2-2 in conference and 8-11 overall through the 2018 season.