High school volleyball: Parkway gets first ever win win over Airline

1211

The Parkway Lady Panthers picked a good time to break out of a slump.

Parkway defeated Airline for the first time in program history Monday. After losing the first set 25-22, the Lady Panthers won the next three 27-25, 25-23, 25-22.

Going into Monday’s District 1-I match, Parkway was 0-5 against the Lady Vikings and hadn’t even won a set off them.

Parkway started its volleyball program in 2017. Barbara Curry, an assistant the first year, is in her third year as head coach.

With the win, the Lady Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak. They improved to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in district.

“The past few games haven’t been easy and we knew our schedule wasn’t getting any easier,” Curry said. “The team made a conscious decision to work extra hard to correct some obvious weaknesses we were exhibiting. I am so proud of them.”

Each set was tight and tension-filled. Both teams fought hard and made comebacks.

Airline (3-2, 1-2) held off a Parkway rally in the first set.

The turning point came near the end of the second set. The Lady Vikings led 24-20, but the Lady Panthers saved four straight set points to tie it at 24.

Airline had another chance to win the set ahead 25-24. But Parkway won three points in a row to close it out.

The third set was close all the way with Parkway maintaining a slight advantage. The Lady Panthers played well on the big points late in the set.

In the fourth set it was Airline’s turn to rally after Parkway jumped out to a 14-7 lead. The Lady Vikings won eight of the next nine points to tie it at 15. Airline grabbed a 17-16 lead on a block.

The Lady Panthers won three straight points to go up 19-17. After they extended the lead to 23-19, the Lady Vikings put together three straight of their own to get within 23-22. But two points later, the match belonged to Parkway.

Parkway libero Alyssa Colvard, a second-team All-District selection last year, returned after missing time with an ankle injury.

“She is a student of the game and her presence makes an obvious difference,” Curry said. “We continue to make adjustments with our lineup.”

Curry also praised five sophomores who contributed to the victory — middle Ivy Blackburn, defensive specialist Jada Payne, RS Brooklyn Hayden, outside hitter Mackynzie Eason and setter Evalyn Dang.

“Evalyn Dang has done such a good job transitioning from playing middle to setter,” Curry said. 

Curry said junior middle Harley Pierce and junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Dayton Cockerham made “numerous big plays.”

“Our older players have challenged and encouraged our younger players and it’s paying off,” Curry said. “This is a big win for our program. More2Give.”

Airline started volleyball in Bossier Parish in 2014 and has achieved a lot of success under head coach Reggie Digilormo, including district titles and playoff wins.

“Reggie is a good friend and a great coach,” Curry said. “She has been very helpful with me getting the program started.”

“It’s fun watching the sport grow like it has in North Louisiana. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Airline won’t have much time to wait before getting back on the court. The Lady Vikings host Natchitoches Central (2-2, 1-0) in another district match Tuesday.

Parkway hosts Loyola College Prep (1-3) in a non-district match Wednesday.

Benton (3-1, 2-1) hosts West Monroe (4-1, 1-1) on Tuesday in a District 1-I match.

Haughton (1-3) opens defense of its District 1-II title Tuesday at home against Caddo Magnet (0-5).