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Lady Panthers Top Howe in Season Opener

Van Alstyne volleyball and first-year head coach LeQuia Collins are off to a hot start following Tuesday night’s dual-match, season-opening win in Howe.

The Lady Panthers downed Howe in three games, 25-10, 25-13 and 25-17 and topped Trenton in three, 25-8, 25-10, 25-6 That makes six straight undefeated sets for the Lady Panthers with no losses to start their 2014 campaign.

First game, 2-0 start, not bad for a young squad.

“It feels great,” said Collins. “I feel really good about it. It’s very hopeful, I can say that. It’s a really good start to say the least, to win your first two matches 3-0 without a loss.”

Van Alstyne (2-0) got strong play from its two middles — Ellie Perkins and Raigan Servati, “They did really good stepping up; we’re running a lot of quick plays now,” said Collins — as well as from its setter, Jessie Gallagher, a move-in from Lovejoy, and Maddison O’Hanlon on the outside. Collins, however, was quick to point out that it’s a team game.

“It was a team effort; everyone contributed and did very well,” she said.

A hot start is fuel for a young team, and that is certainly the case for Van Alstyne. The Lady Panthers consist of one senior, three juniors and four sophomores. Collins’ varsity squad is only carrying eight players so she has her fingers crossed that all eight stay healthy and eligible. They will all needed be needed for a district that includes Farmersville, Whitewright, Lone Oak, Commerce, Caddo Mills, Leonard and Tom Bean.

The Lady Panthers play again in the Princeton Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The first game at Princeton High School is at 10:15 a.m., followed by matches at 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. The junior varsity is set to take on Denison at home Friday. The first home game for the varsity squad is Aug. 26 when the Lady Panthers take on Anna.