Samantha Johnson and Hannah Brisco

Neosho County Panthers players Samantha Johnson (5) and Hannah Brisco (12) rise up for a block in their 3-0 win over Labette on Wednesday.

JARED McMASTERS

Sports Editor

The streak continues.

The No. 18 Neosho County Panthers blanked the Labette Cardinals, 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-19), at home on Wednesday. It marked the fifth consecutive match where the Panthers kept Labette from winning a set.

“I thought we did a good job of taking care of things on our side,” Neosho County Head Coach Marisa Compton said. “I thought our kids that came in in the second and third sets did a good job of subbing in and taking care of the job, so we didn’t have much drop off from one group to the next.”

From blocks at the net to defensive digs to a skyrocketing attack percentage, the Panthers (2-1) rebounded from their 3-0 loss to Cowley with a clinical performance.

Neosho County right-side hitter Hannah Brisco capitalized on plenty of early chances to maintain a .462 attacking percentage and pick up eight of the Panthers’ 41 kills.

Defensive specialist Brooklyn Strobel brought a boost of energy off the bench with 14 digs and seven assists. 

“I thought Hannah Brisco did really well in the first set when she was in there,” Compton said. “Brooklyn Strobel played solid tonight. She did a really nice job in serve receive and on defense.”

The week off between the Panthers’ loss to Cowley and this match provided Neosho County with the opportunity to regroup and sharpen its focus, and those improvements showed on Wednesday night.

The Panthers finished the night with 11 errors, their fewest in their three matches this season. But the more impressive aspect was Neosho County’s effort in the third set.

“I thought Labette did a better job of earning their points and I think it took us a little bit to get going,” Compton said. “We had a lot more new people playing together in that last set, and it just took them a little bit to get comfortable with each other.”

After allowing 12 total points in the second set, the Panthers surrendered seven points against the Cardinals to open the third set at 7-7. The moment was on track to put Neosho County in a familiar spot after its woes from the second set of the Cowley match, where the Panthers lost all of their momentum and dropped eight of 10 points in a row.

Rather than fall victim to an early deficit and put themselves in a position where it would’ve been more difficult to come away with a 3-0 win, the Panthers stymied Labette’s resurgence. For Compton, it “absolutely” felt like her squad was making progress in dealing with adversity in those situations.

“We had a similar situation at Coffeyville, too,” Compton said. “We won the first two sets, put some subs in and ended up losing the third set. I think it’s a credit to the subs that came in that they’re doing a better job of coming in and stepping into their roles when they need to.”

 

Up Next

The Panthers will hit the road to play the Hutchinson Blue Dragons (5-3) at 11 am on Friday in El Dorado.

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