Charles City breaks through, captures first victory of season with sweep of Lady Justices
There has been a different aura in the air around Charles City High School’s Lady Panthers’ volleyball team in the 2023-24 season. Despite not pulling out any victories, the group has been more competitive on the court than in recent years. And in the Sept. 14 home contest against the visiting John Marshall Lady Justices, the much-needed breakthrough finally occurred.
Charles City’s Lady Panthers swept John Marshall 26-24, 25-17, 25-20 for their first win of the year and snapped a 17-game losing streak stemming back to last year.
But the victory didn’t come easy for the hosts as the battle came with many tense moments. In the opening frame, Charles City came out the gate to grab a 10-2 lead aces from Zaniyah Chavis. But John Marshall utilized their taller frames on the front row, as the visitors closed the gap and overtook the Lady Panthers, jumping out to a three-point advantage (20-17).
Charles City bounced back, thanks to serves from sophomore Marissa Jackson who returned to the lead to the hosts (23-21). But the Lady Justices countered, rallying the next three points in a row to set up a possible game up. However, the hosts were able to counter John Marshall’s attack, tying the game up at 24 apiece. It would be newcomer Endya Johnson’s two consecutive aces that would clinch the set, the first one the Lady Panthers have won during the year.
In the second set, both teams played evenly for most of the frame. With the score tied at 15 apiece, a dig by Charles City’s Jaela Smith kept a ball in play and resulted in teammate Taniyah Williams’ tip over the net to get the hosts the lead. Charles City rode that momentum with a 9-2 run to win the next frame.
In the third stanza, Chavis took the helm to serve, scoring four aces to provide a 12-5 advantage to Charles City. And when John Marshall attempted to make a comeback, another kill by Williams confused the visitors. With Charles City up 24-20, it would be Lady Panther Shaniyah Williams’ serve that John Marshall couldn’t return to clinch the match for the hosts.
After the contest, Charles City Lady Panthers Head Coach Lillani Adkins talked about challenging her team after last week’s loss to King & Queen.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, communication, and footwork,” she said, pointing to how her team has improved. “They were tired of losing.
“Tonight, we worked as a team and stayed together,” Adkins continued. “They are starting to understand that it takes all of them to be successful.”
Charles City improved their record to 1-7 on the season.