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In a match between two of the nation’s top-ranked junior college volleyball teams, No. 5 Tyler Junior College defeated No. 10 Paris Junior College here Wednesday in four sets — 25-18, 24-26, 25-10, 25-17.
“Tyler is good, real good. I’m not taking anything away from them, but we didn’t come out and play our best. We didn’t stay aggressive. It just wasn’t our night, bottom line,” PJC Coach Justin Maness said.
Tyler improved to 17-1 overall and 5-0 in the north zone of Region 14. Paris lost to the Apache Ladies for the second time this season and fell to 20-5 overall and 2-3 in conference.
Tyler’s only loss was to top-ranked Blinn College, which is in the south zone of Region 14.
The west bleachers were full, with PJC’s student athletes from other sports as loud as they’ve ever been.
“It was a great crowd. We liked that — a lot,” Maness said.
Members of the PJC men’s basketball team stood at the southwest corner of the gym, urging the crowd on. They got so vociferous at one point that the line judge stopped play to move them back. But athletes from PJC’s other sports also were loud.
The west bleachers were full — about two-thirds students and one-third fans from around the community.
When the PJC women rallied from a 23-24 deficit to take the lead in the second set, the entire west bleachers stood and cheered the Dragons on to a 26-24 win that evened the match at 1-1.
Tyler then scored easy wins in the fourth and fifth sets.
Despite falling to 2-3 in conference, the Dragons remain in good shape for the Region 14 tournament later in October in Tyler. The top four teams from each zone advance to the double-elimination tournament.
Tyler is undefeated in conference, and Navarro is at the bottom of the five-team zone, with No. 9 Panola, Paris and Trinity Valley in a logjam in the middle.
Besides the two losses to Tyler, Paris has lost to Panola, Trinity Valley and No. 21 Hill College.
The Dragons’ next match is Friday at Richland College. They return home next week for a 5:30 p.m. game Monday against No. 15 San Jacinto and a 7 p.m. game Wednesday against Trinity Valley.
San Jac is in the south zone of Region 14, so that game is considered non-conference.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra