Just two days removed from defeating the Cherokee County Lady Warriors in the Albertville volleyball tournament, he wanted the Lady Panthers to prove the victory was no fluke.
Carroll got his wish, thanks in large part to his junior middle hitters.
Haley Motes came away with five kills, five digs and a block, while Dallas Smith contributed four kills, two blocks and an assist to lead the Lady Panthers to a 25-20, 25-22 victory over the Lady Warriors.
Emory Reedy added six assists, a pair of kills, a dig and an ace for the Lady Panthers (3-6). Madison Sides managed three kills and an ace.
The momentum Spring Garden had established was short-lived in its next match against Ashville. The Lady Panthers fell 25-22, 25-20.
Despite the loss, Carroll said he’s pleased with where the Lady Panthers are at right now in the young season.
“I thought they played well,” he said. “We come in today wanting to prove a point, wanting to prove we’ve improved. Anytime you beat a higher classification, especially Cherokee County, I think that’s definitely success. To beat them like we did, with the fundamentals, the passing, the setting, the hitting … we’ve got young people, and I think today has been successful. It shows what they want to do and how they’re pushing forward with some roles we’ve never played before. They really want to work hard and push to make an Elite 8, if not further.”
Against Ashville, Motes and Smith once again led the charge. Motes had three kills, three blocks, an ace and a dig. Smith added three kills and a block. Darby Bryant finished with three digs, two assists and two aces.
One thing Carroll said that’s helped the Lady Panthers so far this season has been moving Motes from outside hitter to middle.
“She’s playing well,” he said. “She doesn’t jump real high, so putting her in the middle where it’s a little lower, it’s helping her out. I think it’s benefiting her and our team.”
Following Cherokee County’s loss to Spring Garden, first-year coach Leah Monteith Goss had a meeting with her team, where they talked about “staying mentally tough and keeping our heads up.”
The Lady Warriors (4-3) played better against Ashville, but still came out on the short end of a 25-22, 25-18 loss.
“We’ve changed a lot of things around in the few short games we’ve played, just trying to find chemistry of what works best for us, and what’s going to give us the best opportunity to win,” Monteith Goss said. “I was very proud of how they came out in the second game and fought. They played much better in the second game than they did against Spring Garden.
“We’ve still got a long way to go. We just have some youth in us that needs to mature, but I’m very pleased with the heart of this team. The intensity is getting there. We just made too many mistakes (Monday), but it’ll come.”
Kayle Moon led Cherokee County against Spring Garden with seven kills. Heather Hubbard finished with 23 assists.
The Lady Warriors were more balanced against Ashville after getting junior hitter Madison Millsaps more involved. She led the charge with nine kills and 10 digs.
“One of the things we talked about after the Spring Garden game is she’s one of our strongest hitters, and we’re not utilizing her like we should,” Monteith Goss said. “I think in the Ashville game we did a much better job of getting her the ball. She can put it down. We’ve just got to get her the ball more, and good things will happen.
“Again, that comes with maturity and being able to consistently pass the ball. We’re working on that.”
Moon managed six kills for the Lady Warriors. Allison Horne contributed five kills and Kate Carter came away with 10 digs. Hubbard finished with 22 assists.