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Paris Junior College’s No. 12-ranked volleyball team, thrown off balance by a different style of play, got off to a slow start but came back to defeat Seminole State College of Oklahoma in four sets Monday night at the Hunt Center.
The Dragons lost the first set, 25-18, but won the next three — 25-15, 25-18, 25-18.
The Dragons were led Monday night against Seminole by Abby Phillips with 15 kills, Sara Dunmon with 11 kills, Andrea Hurt with 9 kills, and Haley Hostetler and T’Asia Black with 8 kills apiece.
Jordan Strickland had 43 assists.
Denise Gonzales and Demi Sheppard had two service aces apiece, and Iliana Chakarova had one ace.
Strickland had 13 digs, Chakarova and Gonzales had 11 digs each, and Dunmon had 10 digs.
Black had two solo blocks and two block assists. Phillips had one solo block and two block assists. Hostetler had six block assists, and Hurt and Strickland each had three block assists.
“We came out slow. The speed of Seminole is a little bit different than what we’ve been seeing, so the adjustments were a lot tougher,” Maness said.
“Our blocks were a little off because we’re used to seeing people getting up in the air and hitting the ball fast. Seminole was giving us kind of off-speed shots, and things like that. But in sets 2, 3 and 4, we kind of got our footing and kind of took it away.”
PJC (26-6 overall and 4-3 in Region XIV) will wrap up regular-season play here Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Navarro, which is winless in its seven league games.
“If we take care of Navarro, we’ll lock up second place in the North Zone,” PJC Coach Justin Maness said.
That’s meaningful because the top four from the North Zone and the top four from the South Zone advance to the Region XIV tournament Nov. 8-10 at Tyler.
As the No. 2 seed, the Dragons would play the No. 3 seed from the South in the first round of the double-elimination tournament.
Whereas the loser of Wednesday’s game between Panola and Trinity Valley would likely start against nationally No. 1-ranked Blinn.
PJC came off a huge win last weekend in Carthage over No. 9-ranked Panola, which lifted PJC to its 4-3 conference record, a game ahead of Panola and Trinity Valley — both 3-4. Tyler is unbeaten in league play at 8-0.
“As a result of the win over Panola, we’re right where we need to be. We looked as good as we have all year. If we end up with the No. 2 seed, we have a legitimate shot to do some good things in the tournament.”
If he had to guess, Maness said, he would expect Blinn to be the No. 1 seed in the South, San Jacinto the No. 2 seed, Lee the No. 3 seed, and Laredo the No. 4 seed.
“But Laredo, the fourth-place team, snuck up and beat Blinn, so everybody is beatable in this thing. There’s not anybody that really stands out as just dominant over everybody else,” Maness said.
Paris has played San Jacinto twice, both considered non-conference games. PJC won the game here and lost the return match in Pasadena last Wednesday, in five sets.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra