The strong serving of Paige Vierra and Leah Ferrara paid big dividends for the Panther volleyball team last Thursday, as the pair combined for a total of 30 service points in a 25-20, 25-19 and 26-24, 3-0 game sweep in Williams.
The intra-county rivalry ended last season with each team claiming a win, setting up a thriller of sets in Williams for the first of two match-ups between the Panthers and Yellowjackets.
Maxwell wasted no time jumping to an early lead in the first set, propelled largely from the service line at the hands of Vierra. But Williams’ determination brought them back within two points for a 9-7 mid-game score. Williams found themselves in trouble with serve reception errors, and unable to catch up to the Panthers, the Yellowjackets fell short with a final 25-20 score.
In the second game, Maxwell again jumped out to an early lead but a set of errors by the Panthers allotted for a Yellowjacket comeback and a close score of 18-16. Williams setter Brenda Rivera leaned on seniors Estafania Bermudez and Jackie Rivera offensively to cut Maxwell’s lead, but ultimately fell short for a 25-19 loss.
In the third game, both teams proved to be evenly matched and battled it out in a back-and-forth score change for most of the game. Williams’ Jackie Rivera, assisted by Brenda Rivera, found momentum at the net to capitalize on Maxwell’s errors for a 18-15 Williams lead.
Maxwell’s Jilliann Wilson served up a series of points for the Panthers before Bermudez and Rivera blocked a kill from Maxwell’s Laynee Haywood for a Yellowjacket side-out. Williams pulled ahead with two aces from the service line by Brenda Rivera, but their lead would quickly diminish to a tie after two kills by Maxwell’s Courtney Wycoff. With a tied score at 24 points each, Vierra again sealed the fate of the Yellowjackets by finishing out the game and taking the win, 26-24.
“We played exceptionally well tonight,” said Hill, head coach for Williams. “We stayed close on the scoreboard each game tonight and that is the improvement I have been looking for.”
Haywood led the Panthers with 12 attacks and 13 serve receptions. Wycoff aided in the win with 13 attacks and 7 serve receptions.
Maxwell hosts the Live Oak Lions on Thursday with a 5:30 PM start time for JV and 6:30 PM for varsity.
Williams varsity heads to Princeton on Thursday with a 5:30 PM game time. ■