Jackson County's Rebecca Teague (left) and Kassidy Gross go up for a block during region-tournament action earlier this week. The Panthers finished as the No. 3 seed out of 8-AAAAA for the state tournament. 

The Jackson County volleyball team will enter the state tournament as a No. 3 seed after a 25-21, 18-25, 25-13, 25-19 win over Walnut Grove Saturday (Oct. 17) at Greenbrier on the final day of the Region 8-AAAAA tournament.

The Panthers will face Northview on the road in the first round of the state tournament Tuesday (Oct. 20). 

Katie Hitt led the Panthers with 17 kills and 17 digs against Walnut Grove, while Gracie Herrin added 12 kills. Sophie Harris finished with 21 digs. Sydney McCutcheon finished with 36 assists and 15 digs. 

Jackson County was coming off a 26-24, 25-16, 25-22 loss at Apalachee in the semifinals Thursday (Oct. 15). Hitt led the Panthers with seven kills, while Kassidy Gross and Rebecca Teague each finished with six. McCutcheon had five aces, 20 assists and nine digs. Harris totaled 12 digs, while Ansley Herrin finished with 11 digs and Ruthie Fowler had 10.

"Third place was not where we had hoped we would finish the year, but we knew coming in that it was going to be a really tough region," Panther coach Ron Fowler said. "I thought our team did a great job this week with the new line up, but against Apalachee we made too many unforced errors to a veteran team that doesn't make many mistakes. I think we responded well after coming off the Apalachee loss to beat Walnut Grove. Walnut Grove has proven to be a tough opponent for us this year. They have seven seniors that battled to the very last point and it has made for two really good matches."

The Panthers qualified for the state tournament with a sweep of Clarke Central last Tuesday (Oct. 13).


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