Lady Panthers Get First Volleyball Wins for New Coach

By Daniel Dullum

After a wild and competitive season-opening defeat, Imagine Prep-Superstition kept its momentum going on Aug. 28 with a three-game volleyball sweep over Sequoia Pathways Academy.

Two days later, the Lady Panthers swept Imagine Prep-Coolidge 25-14, 25-15, 25-13, improving to 2-1 on the season.

The 25-16, 25-8, 25-8 win over Sequoia provided Charlyne Long with her first head coaching win.

“Every game means a lot, whether we win or not,” Long said. “I’m taking this win, and we’re going to use it toward our next game.

“We’re still going to tweak some things. Just because it’s a win doesn’t mean that everything was perfect. We still have stuff we need to work on, but this win helps the girls out a lot and help drive us on.”

After a nine-point win in game one in the Sequoia match, IPS built a 12-4 lead in game two before Miranda Hess served the last six points, including aces on the last two.

Sequoia Pathway jumped to a 4-2 lead in game three before Prep went ahead to stay at 7-6 and building a 20-8 advantage. Alyssa Noble served three straight aces to set up match point. A Sequoia Pathway return error ended the match.

“It felt pretty good, and there’s many more to come,” Lady Panthers libero Alyssa Noble said. “It was a good start. I have confidence in our team.”

IPS hitter Dennisse Enriquez said, “We’re really excited. New team, new people, new everything. It’s working out really well. We’re really connecting quickly and we know how we play.”

Long credited the practice session that followed the five-game loss to  BASIS-Scottsdale as a factor in the Lady Panthers’ victory.

“I definitely think that practice after that first loss really motivated all of the girls,” Long said. “They wanted to do more. They came to me and asked me what they could do better. I was really impressed. Everyone wants to do better as a team.”

So far, Long said the process of putting the IPS team together has been “great.”

“When they get to practice, they click when they get together. It’s been all positive.”

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