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rashad Milligan | Times-News heads up: Lanett senior Ladaija Thomas eyes a ball in the air in Monday night’s win against Valley.

Lanett defeats Valley in straight sets on Rams’ senior night

VALLEY — The Lanett varsity volleyball team (4-8, 1-5) completed its season sweep over the Valley Rams (0-12, 0-5, excluding the Oct. 1 match against Beauregard) in a 25-17, 25-11, 25-16 win on Monday night.

“I’m extremely proud of my girls, I’m even more proud of our growth,” Lanett head volleyball coach Krisse Story said. “We started off a little bit slow, we were very inconsistent, but we’re on a two-game winning streak and I’m extremely proud of the girls. Of course, it’s always good to beat our crosstown rival, my alma mater, Valley High School.”

Story later said that she was appreciative of Valley allowing Lanett’s seniors being recognized before the match as well.

Each set of the night began going point-for-point with each team. The first set began 12-12, the second set was 9-9 and Lanett only led by a point, with a 11-10 lead to start the final set.

“I think we just got a little discouraged after calls weren’t going our way after a lot of balls kept falling,” Valley head volleyball coach Summer Lewis said. “At the beginning of the match, we were fired up and ready to play, then at the end of the match when things weren’t going our way, we kind of fell off and didn’t have the same energy. When you lose that energy, you lose focus of the game.”

While members of the Rams grew visibly frustrated on the court, Lanett remained composed, led by even kill seniors Alicia Abner and Ladaija Thomas. Thomas seemingly always gave the Panthers a point and possession when momentum appeared to slightly shift on to the home team.

“Ladaija is a leader on the floor,” Story said. “She has come such a long way. She leads [us] on the floor and this year, she’s been a leader off the floor as well. She leads by example, I’m so proud of what she’s doing for us this year. She asks for the ball and I love it. She wants the ball and she wants to play.”

Before the match, Valley’s eight seniors, Valencia Bennett, Faith Williams, Arteria Florence, D’Asia Stephens, LaMeisha Todd, Reese Bryson, Faith Graben and Marli Brooks were all acknowledged.

“This senior class has been with me for three years now,” Lewis said. “I love them just like they’re my own children and I am going to miss them.”

With a week left in the regular season, the Panthers’ main goal is to still win the area championship, but Monday night’s win was a sweetener as well.

“Lanett never wants to lose to Valley,” Story said. “Even in jackstones.”

Lanett remains on the road to face area-opponent Wadley (10-5, 4-1) on Thursday, while Valley heads on the road to face area-opponent Tallassee on Thursday.