The Paris volleyball team got out to a slow start Monday evening, eventually falling in straight sets to Tri-County 25-22, 25-21.
“The way both teams came out and competed was great and it was a really good game,” Paris Coach Christy Pinkston said. “We walked away from the game knowing that there are some things that we can improve on moving forward.”
Paris (12-2) found some strength early at the net, with junior Emma Pinkston hammering away at the Titan defense.
The dual threat of Pinkston and senior Lizzie Rouse, which has been a lethal combination through the 2019 campaign for Paris, was met with resistance from Tri-County.
Tri-County (12-4) was able to consistently put up strong blocks against the Tiger attack, as junior Kaylenn Hunt pulled in three blocks in the game.
After getting out to a substantial lead in the first set, the Titans capped the opening set with a 25-22 victory.
Despite the early setback, Paris continued to push the pace in the second set, forcing a flurry of hitting errors from the visiting Titan attack. Tri-County was able to utilize some key tooling on attacks by senior Cailynne Phillips and Hunt. Hunt finished the contest with a team-high 10 kills and a .318 hitting percentage with one ace while Phillips tallied eight kills on a .429 hitting percentage and two aces.
Tri-County continued to bully back against the Tiger defense, eventually pushing its way to a 25-21 victory in the second set, giving them an overall win over Paris.
Tri-County junior Chelli Hall led the team with four digs. Junior Melia Eskew had 21 assists in the win.
For Paris, Rouse led the team with eight kills on 26 attempts while also managing two blocks. Junior Sara Burger and Pinkston each had five kills. Pinkston led the team with 10 digs. Junior Payton Block had 25 assists.
The two programs featured a host of players that played club volleyball for Pinkston on the Intensity travel team this past summer. Pinkston noted that she loved getting to see the improvements that the girls from both programs have made.
“It is so amazing to have had these girls play under me (for Intensity),” Pinkston said. “To see them using the techniques and things they have learned and to watch them grow, it is such a great experience.”
After suffering the setback on Monday to Tri-County, Paris rebounded with a dominating 25-7, 25-3 performance over Little Illini conference rival Red Hill. The Tiger defense gave up just ten total points against the Salukis, one of the least total of points scored against them in program history.
“After Monday I wanted to see how the team responded,” Pinkston said. “I wanted the girls to take it upon themselves and they came out strong.”
Paris came out hungry in the opening set, quickly building a double-digit lead behind the efforts of Pinkston and Rouse on the attack. The Tiger offense continued to let loose on the Saluki defense, eventually winning the first set 25-7.
Paris carried that momentum over into the second set, forcing a multitude of errors from the Red Hill team to win the second set 25-3. Rouse led the team with 10 kills on 12 attempts, hitting .833 while also managing an ace. Pinkston had nine kills on 14 attempts, hitting .643 to pair with two digs. Sarah Wells shined from the service line, racking up seven aces to go along with four digs. Block had three aces and 18 assists.
Paris plays again on Monday as 6:45 p.m. as they host Riverton Parke.