Ole Brook earns third district volleyball win

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — The Panthers might have played a tough non-district schedule but the hard work is starting to pay off. Brookhaven trounced Provine to win its third district game of the season and propel itself to second place in the standings with a 3-1 district record and 5-11 overall record. 

Provine stood little chance as Brookhaven seemed to be in control from the beginning and had confidence. Ole Brook won 25-8, 25-10 and 25-15 to take the district match in three sets. The match was over in less than an hour. 

Head Coach Charlton Gray and the Panthers seemed relaxed and comfortable in Thursday night’s action. Both coach and team have grown over the last three seasons and the win against Provine seemed to exemplify the growth. 

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“We are battling but it is exciting right now. I have to tell them I’m also learning how to coach this sport in the third season,” Gray said.  “I have to understand that they are young and learning how to play as well. I’m proud of the way we are focusing on district play. We have to compare it to football. We played a tough competition to get ready for district play.” 

Players were loose and fluid in their play. No longer are they frantic and reactionary. Ole Brook is getting better at communicating and running the pass, set and hit rhythm. The skill and consistency of play will take time. 

Brookhaven will focus next on a big test against district leaders South Jones. The Panthers have games against Natchez, Provine and South Jones after Tuesday before wrapping up district play and potentially securing a spot in the playoffs. 

“I’m very proud of them. We are playing well,” Gray said. 

One reason the Panthers are playing so well is the work they have put in. Senior Sierra Edwards said they have practiced every single day well into the afternoon. The team goes through drills consistently to correct the mistakes they are making. 

She said things finally clicked for the team when they played against Natchez and won. Since then, the team has been on a roll. 

“We have calmed down and played better,” Edwards said. “We want to be loose and not as tense. We are having fun but we know when we can have fun and when we need to make plays and be serious. We have to beat everyone else this year and keep fighting on the court to the last point.”