The Paris Lady Tigers and the Tri-County Lady Titans are off to strong starts in the 2018 volleyball season and are headed for a showdown Tuesday at Shiloh High School.
The Paris volleyball team has jumped out to a quick start in their 2018 campaign. The Lady Tigers are currently sitting in first place in the Little Illini Conference with a 2-0 record. Overall, Paris is 9-4 for the year.
One of the things, according to head coach Christy Pinkston, that has been crucial to the success of the Tigers has been the team chemistry among the girls.
“It’s a small group of girls but in ways that has helped us,” Pinkston said. “They all have great attitudes and they help each other fix the things that need addressed.”
Another factor that has faired well for Paris has been the emergence of leaders across the board. Middle Lizzie Rouse and outside-hitter Emma Pinkston have both been dominant on the front line for the Tigers, leading the team offensively in kills.
Though the duo has played well, others have shown they are capable of making the most of the opportunities presented to them as well.
“Lizzie and Emma have both been really great for us this year,” Pinkston said “But a lot of other girls like Sarah Wells and Hannah Bowers have been consistent for us too.”
One of the challenges that Paris faces in-season is the stark competition the Little Illini presents. Wins over conference rivals Casey-Westfield and Lawrenceville have allowed the Tigers to establish themselves in first-place in the conference.
Now on the backend of their schedule, Paris has managed to advance in multiple areas of the game as a team. One of the only factors that could affect them as the postseason approaches is conditioning among the girls.
“Sometimes the heat in a gym or a longer game will take its toll on the athletes,” Pinkston said “It doesn’t matter what point in the season we are at, the sprints that we do have a purpose and they are important for us to be able to stay in games.”
The Paris volleyball team is the only athletic team in the history of the school not to have a banner with a post-season accolade hanging in the hallways. This year though, there is a lot of excitement from the Tiger’s squad on the chance of continuing play through October.
“It’s up to the girls on how far we go this year in the playoffs,” Pinkston said “They all have a passion and the message has been the same no matter who you ask. We want a banner.”
Meanwhile across the county, the Tri-County Lady Titans volleyball team are doing what has become old hat for the program — they are winning and dominatirng most games.
This week, the Lady Titans took on Marshall of the Little Illinis Conference and swept the match in straight sets.
Grace Burnside has been on a hot streak lately and led the team with a dominating performance. Burnside colleged nine kills and five digs against Marshall.
The Lady Titans have had found success against the Lions the past several years and used the contest for the last tune-up before the Effingham St. Anthony Invitational Tournament today.
The Lions didn’t make it easy for the Lady Titans, battling hard in the first set. Tri-County ended up winning the opening match 25-23.
Tri-County were more aggressive in the second set, taking it 25-17 to sweep the match.
In addition to the play of Burnside, Tri-County was led by Julia Robertson who added four kills, 10 digs and three aces. Kaylenn Hunt finished with five kills and three blocks and Madison Shirley had three kills and six digs. Morgan Houia added 14 assists in the win.