Lufkin’s Lady Panther volleyball team has gotten off to some early-season struggles, as expected for a team fielding a roster of mostly inexperienced players.
On Tuesday, the Lady Pack was able to put together its best overall effort of the season, beating a good Livingston team 25-23, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-19 at Panther Gymnasium.
Lufkin had managed just one win so far, and that was against a JV team in a recent tournament. Head coach Leah Flores decided to shuffle the lineup on Tuesday, and got the results the team has been seeking since the season started.
“It was a crazy night for sure,” Flores said. “We made a lot of changes as far as players. We moved up some people, and made changes based on stats we saw from this past weekend. Some girls really stepped up and did a great job. Freshman Natalie Cox did a tremendous job, and Janiya (Ross) showed a lot of confidence in attacking the net.
“This is a confidence builder for sure.”
Ross led Lufkin with 18 kills, and Cox added six. Freshman Libby Flores accounted for nearly 100 percent of her team’s assists.
Lufkin broke a 22-22 tie in the first game behind a service ace from Claire Walters and a kill from Courtnee Morgan to take the 25-23 win. Livingston rebounded to take the second game 25-22, but the Lady Panthers regrouped to take a tight third game. The game featured six ties before the Lady Panthers pulled away late on Reagan Hill’s four-point service streak.
The final game saw Kelby Coutee get off to a quick start with a pair of kills in the first five points. Cox then served Lufkin to an 11-7 lead, and Ross helped finish off the win with three kills in the final five points.
The Lady Panthers will travel to Rusk on Friday for a 5:30 p.m. start.