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Sophomores T’Asia Black and Andrea Hurt were strong at the net Saturday, notching nine and eight kills respectively as Paris Junior College defeated Richland College on Saturday 25-13, 25-15, 25-14.
Sophomore setter Jordan Strickland had 26 assists.
Paris and Richland played the first game of a triangular volleyball match at the Hunt Center on the PJC campus.
The 3 p.m. game paired Richland College and North Texas Central College, with Paris and NTCC playing in the final game of the day at 5 p.m.
PJC, ranked No. 12 among the nation’s junior college teams, improved to 16-2 with the win over Richland. The Lady Dragons are 1-1 in conference.
“I thought we looked a lot more relaxed playing today than we have the past two times we played in here,” PJC coach Justin Maness said, referring to a scrimmage game against Southern Arkansas on Aug. 28 and a game against Eastfield College on Monday.
“We’ve been kind of shaky. I don’t know if it’s because we haven’t played here much. But today they looked a lot more comfortable, and we put the ball away, executed a little bit better. And they looked more relaxed,” he said.
“Andi, our outside hitter, looked really good, and Jordan, my setter, looked really good. I thought all around, even the ones I got off the bench, did a good job today,” he said.
The conference is especially tough this year, Maness noted.
“It’s very tough. People have been beating each other back and forth. Blinn has been beat by Panola, Trinity valley beat Panola, we beat Trinity Valley. So it could be anybody this year. The key is getting to the tournament (Nov. 8-10 at Tyler),” he said.
PJC lost on the road to Tyler Junior College on Sept. 4, then lost to Trinity Valley in the championship game of the North Central Texas College tournament last Saturday at Gainesville.
Then PJC beat Trinity Valley on the Lady Cardinals’ court on Wednesday in Athens, when it mattered.
“I told the girls I was kind of glad they beat us (at Gainesville), you know, the mental stuff about it. I told our players we want to win here, but to get a win on the road in this conference is huge,” Maness said.
PJC plays on the road Monday at Redlands College in Oklahoma, then returns to the Hunt Center for a game Saturday against Panola.
Kills: T’Asia Black 9, Andrea Hurt 8, Abby Phillips 6, Kalyn Paris 6, Iliana Chakarova 4, Haley Hostetler 4, Jordan Strickland 2.
Aces: Jordan Strickland 4, Kalyn Paris 2, T’Asia Black 1, Denise Gonzales 1.
Assists: Jordan Strickland 26, Ingrid Boatman 6, Denise Gonzales 2, Demi Sheppard 1, Kalyn Paris 1, Abby Phillips 1.
Digs: Denise Gonzales 7, Andi Hurt 5, T’Asia Black 4, Iliana Chakarova 3, Kalyn Paris 3, Abby Phillips 3, Jordan Strickland 2, Brittney Johnson 2, Haley Hostetler 2, Demi Sheppard 2.
Blocks: T’Asia Black, 2 solo, 2 assists; Andi Hurt, 1 solo, 2 assists; Jordan Strickland, 1 solo, 2 assists; Haley Hostetler, 2 assists.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra