PANTHER VICTORY

Jackson County's Cadence Thao bumps a ball during recent action. The Panthers picked up a school-record 33rd win on Tuesday (Oct. 1). 

The start of the postseason lies ahead this week, but the season is already a record-setting one for the Jackson County volleyball team.  

The Panthers split a pair of matches Tuesday (Oct. 1), losing to Athens Academy but beating Athens Christian to earn a school-record 33rd win of the season. 

Jackson County (33-10) fell to the 34-win Spartans 25-23, 25-22 but bounced back with a 25-15, 25-6 win over the Eagles. 

"I’m proud of the team for winning 33 matches and surpassing the school record for wins in a season," coach Jeff White said. "I did not expect to win 33 matches, but this team has overachieved all year. We don’t have the size or speed of the teams we play, but we stick to our game plan and find a way to win."

The Panthers, the No. 1 seed for the Area 8-AAA tournament, will host the area semifinals and finals on Saturday (Oct. 12).

"We have lost three of our last five matches to very good teams as we prepare for the area and state tournament," White said. "Risky scheduling, but I hope it will pay off in the coming weeks."

With Jackson County on fall break this week, White isn't sure how much a home-court edge will have in the tournament, given that many fans might be out of town. But he's happy for his team to host. 

"So I don’t think home court will be much of an advantage, other than we are comfortable in our gym," White said. "The tournament will be exciting and we hope to play well."

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