Parkway freshman Faith Evans (9) with a booming hit past Cresview’s juniors Kaylee Woldford (7) and Laney Jones (23) on Monday night in Convoy. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
Parkway freshman Faith Evans (9) with a booming hit past Cresview’s juniors Kaylee Woldford (7) and Laney Jones (23) on Monday night in Convoy. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)

CONVOY — It was a thriller in Convoy as the Parkway Lady Panthers traveled to Crestview for non-league volleyball action. The visiting Lady Panthers rallied from a sluggish start to take the match in four games, 14-25, 30-28, 25-20, 26-24.

Crestview came out out ready to play in the first set, taking an early 8-1 lead. The Lady Knights would hold that lead for the entirety of that first set, forcing Parkway to call a timeout at 18-7 and then adding on, eventually winning with a kill from junior hitter Laney Jones.

“After winning the first set, I told the girls that Parkway will not stop competing and we saw just that,” said Knights head coach Tammy Gregory. “It was definitely a battle tonight and we knew it would be.”

The second set would start much like the first one— as Crestview would jump out to a huge lead thanks to consistent serving and very few mistakes. At 11-4 Lady Knights would push Jordan Henkle, Parkway’s head coach, to call a timeout.

“We just didn’t have a lot of energy, we were really flat,” said Henkle of the his teams play early in the match. “We played tight, we had a lot of errors and the defense wasn’t really getting touches like they were later. We weren’t really clicking in any one-part to be able to roll with it.”

Out of that timeout called by Parkway—much was the same, as Crestview scored five of the next six points to take a 16-7 lead. This was when you could feel in the energy shift in the gym. Just as Gregory told her team, Parkway didn’t lay down—they fought.

The Lady Panthers went on five point run, capped off by senior Grace Swander’s kill to force a timeout call from Crestview and to shrink the deficit to 16-12.

“In the second game, we just struggled with consistency and allowed them to go on runs,” said the Lady Knights head coach. “Against aggressive teams, we cannot allow that to happen.”

With every point Parkway’s bench showed more energy— the Lady Panthers would feed off of this energy, going on a 9-5 run to tie the game at 21. This is where the see-saw match really heated up, as the two teams would trade blows throughout the rest of the set.

Henkle called a timeout as the Lady Knights scored two consecutive points, of kills by Avery McCoy and Lexi Gregory. The Panthers would then force Crestview to call a timeout when they scored twice, one of which was off of a Gracyn Temple ace.

23-23 and the action didn’t stop as the two teams traded points in Convoy till the Lady Panthers would celebrate on the gym floor with 30-28 game win.

“When we went on the run in the second game, the confidence level really went up after that,” said Parkway’s head coach. “Once we won that second game, I thought there was a role reversal, [Crestview] looked a little more flat. We started handling the ball better on our side. Our defense stepped up and made a lot of great saves.”

The finals two sets wouldn’t have quite the theatrics that game 2 had, but it still featured competitive play.

In a crucial third set Parkway would take a small early lead and never relinquish it. Never garnishing a big advantage, but just playing consistent ball.

“I thought our serving was really good tonight, as far as getting them out of rhythm a little bit on what they wanted to do,” said Henkle. “We talked all year that we are going to win serve, serve/receive defense. Try to limit our mistakes, because we aren’t a team that is going to bang you off the board, but we will try to win with defense and grinding.”

Panthers would take the next two sets in close fashion winning 25-20 and 26-24 respectively.

“Parkway has a very strong group of girls that battle for every point and they came up with more big plays tonight,” said Crestview head coach Gregory. “I love competing against teams of this caliber because it will only prepare us for what is to come.”

This match was a few points away from a completely different story, as if the Lady Knights would have sneaked in a few more points in the second set they would have led 2-0— or in the fourth set and pushed a deciding game 5.

Parkway was lead by Grace Swander with 16 kills, while Gracyn Temple served tremendously having five aces. Kris Kirby led the Lady Panthers in digs with 25.

Lexi Gregory led the Lady Knights with 14 kills, Maddy Lamb led in assists with 17, while Bailey Gregory led in digs with 21.