While the longstanding rivalry between the Williams Yellowjackets and Maxwell Panthers football teams was placed on hold for the 2016 fall sports season, that isn’t the case with the two schools’ volleyball squads: The intra-county rivalry is alive and well.
Despite Maxwell’s smaller enrollment, the Panthers have owned bragging rights in recent history. Dating back to 2004, the Panthers have played the Yellowjackets at least once in every season except for 2008. Maxwell is 13-4 in matches against Williams in that time-frame, with 44 set wins to Williams’ 16.
The ‘Jackets and the Panthers are set to face each other for the second time in three weeks on the volleyball court on Sept. 20. The two schools proved themselves to be evenly matched in their last meeting and battled it out in a back-and-forth, five-set match on Sept. 1 in Williams.
Williams (5-3) took the first and third sets 25-21, and scraped by in the final set with the narrowest of margins, taking it 15-13.
The ‘Jackets were riding a four-match winning streak at the time of publication, including their victory over the Panthers. After opening the season 1-2, Williams started their current run against Liberty Christian of Redding and continued it against Maxwell, Princeton, and Esparto. Before facing Maxwell again, the Yellowjackets will match up against Winters today. They will also be playing in the Beth Pilger Invitational in Los Molinos on Thursday, with matches scheduled against Los Molinos, Princeton, and Colusa.
Leading the way for the ‘Jackets offensively have been senior Laura Rivera and junior Liz Hernandez, who have 44 and 43 kills, respectively, through Tuesday.
Hernandez was also tops on the Yellowjackets in aces and total blocks.
After losing to Williams, Maxwell suffered a pair of tough losses last week on Sept. 6 and 7, losing to Live Oak 2-3 and to Providence (Orland) 0-3. The Panthers bounced back on Thursday with a 3-1 win over Elk Creek, who they were set to face again on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday’s match against Elk Creek began a three-game home stand for the Panthers, after opening their season with five away matches.
With the third and final game of that home stand coming against Williams, Maxwell will enjoy the home-court advantage in the rematch between the two schools.
Tiffany Jenkins was leading the Panthers in kills with 24 prior to their Tuesday match against Elk Creek. Mallory Mathis led the Panthers with 17 aces, while Madison Miller led in blocks (13) and in digs (70).