The Panther Creek volleyball team is a win away from a second consecutive conference title.
Panther Creek raced out to a 15-0 lead in the first set against Fuquay-Varina to earn a 3-0 (25-7, 25-14, 25-16) win at home to improve to 19-2 overa, 14-1 in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
One more win clinches at least a co-title with Green Hope. The two would then play a tiebreaker match on a neutral court for the league’s automatic 1-seed.
“I could feel the team’s energy and chemistry during warm-ups and I knew they were ready to go,” Panther Creek coach Karen Garmon said.
Garmon has been a part of the Catamounts’ girls basketball and volleyball programs for years, but noted this team is far more unique then any other team she’s been around.
“The chemistry, they truly love each other on and off the court and when a group of girls get along off the court, they’re magical on the court,” she said. “This is something we have to treasure.
She continued: “Other teams, you see teams get tired of each other … but not this group.”
Third-year varsity player Alani Alderman energized the Catamounts’ attack with savvy setting, but it was an all-around team effort that put Panther Creek over the top.
The Bengals (11-9, 6-8) sit sixth in the SWAC, but knocked off fifth-place Middle Creek earlier in the week to narrow the gap.
“We could not find a hole in that defense. (Panther Creek was) exceptional,” Fuquay coach Jeff Pagel said. “We rebound knowing we have the heart, the dedication and knowing we have to come out and play.”
Pagel acknowledged there had been some lineup changes, including the addition of several junior varsity players. He said “It’s almost like we’re starting fresh. We have a new look and we’re finding our identity.”