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Paris Junior College didn’t play its best volleyball on Saturday, but still dispatched Brookhaven College in three sets Saturday by a score of 25-22, 25-17, 25-15 to improve to 20-3 on the season.
PJC, ranked No. 11 in junior college volleyball, couldn’t pull away until near the end of the first set with Brookhaven, one of the seven Dallas County Community College District teams.
“We didn’t’ come out the first set and play like I wanted them to, but a win’s a win. That gives us 20 wins on the year, and I’ll take it,” PJC coach Justin Maness said.
“We didn’t really play down, because Brookhaven’s a good team, but our girls knew it’s non-conference. We finally started to pick it up toward the end.”
The game was the first of five home games for PJC in a 10-day stretch.
“We have Hill College here on Monday (at 6 p.m.). That’ll be a great match. Hill’s really good,” Maness said. “And then we’ve got Tyler (at the Hunt Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday).”
Tyler, ranked fifth nationally, is in first place in the five-team North Zone of Region XIV, with No. 6 Panola tied for second with PJC and Trinity Valley.
“We lost in five sets to Tyler at their place, so we’re looking forward to getting them here,” Maness said.
Panola was in first place, but was just upset by Trinity Valley, creating the three-way tie, “so it’s going to be interesting toward the end,” he added.
The top four teams in each zone go to the Region 14 tournament at Tyler Nov. 8-10, pitting the No. 1 team of the North Zone against the No. 4 team of the South Zone, and vice versa, and the No. 2 team of the North vs. the No. 3 team of the South, and vice versa.
“People are going to be scratching and fighting for those spots,” he said.
In the South Zone are Blinn College, ranked No. 1 nationally, which has lost only one game, and San Jacinto College, ranked No. 15 nationally. Lee College is ranked No. 21.
“That’s our first priority, just being in the top four, but we also don’t want to be the No. 4 seed, playing Blinn in the first game of the tournament,” Maness said.
“That’s what happened last year. We got Blinn in the first game, and after losing to them we fought our way back and beat them to go on to the game that would have taken us to the nationals if we had won,” he said.
After Hill and Tyler, the Dragons go to Richland College on Friday and return to Paris three days later for a 5:30 p.m. game on Monday, Oct. 7, with San Jacinto. Then Trinity Valley comes to the Hunt Center on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.
Although San Jacinto is in Region 14, it’s in the South Zone, so neither it nor a return game in Houston on Oct.16 will count as a conference game. But both games figure to be tough.
San Jacinto is “just very good competition,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing — preparation for the tournament, for the second half of conference.”
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra