1002-ECHS at Holt VB 13 - Green

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Elmore County’s Kelley Green passes the ball.

There is not a spot on the floor Elmore County’s Kelley Green cannot play and she proved that during last Tuesday’s area match against rival Holtville. With Alexis Esco out, the Panthers needed other players to step up as a setter. Green did that and then some to lead Elmore County to a 25-17, 25-17, 25-22 victory.

“When she joined us this summer, I could tell she had good read with the ball,” ECHS coach Kim Moncrief said. “We are still trying her at different positions. She has played left side, right side and she’s just a valuable asset to help our team achieve what we want to achieve. We’re just trying to find the right fit.”

Green transferred from Edgewood and has made an immediate impact for the Panthers in all facets. She continued to be one of the best hitters while racking eight kills against Holtville but Green also made the most of her time as the go-to setter, recording 11 assists.

“That helps us a lot,” Moncrief said. “(Last Tuesday), we were without one of our setters so we knew she would have to play some setter for us. When we know we’re lacking somewhere, we know she can help us with it. She is athletically capable of getting the points when we need them.”

While she has always been familiar with the schools and rivalries in the county, Green admitted it was different to actually participate in one. However, she said the bond with her new teammates during the offseason helped develop a sense of the rivalry with Holtville.

It is easy to enjoy the rivalry from Elmore County’s side of the net where the Panthers have won nine consecutive area championships. Green said she is no stranger with the pressure of high expectations because of her time at Edgewood and she is ready to help extend the Panthers’ streak.

“I want to keep the streak of being area champions of course,” Green said. “At practice, we always put ourselves in high pressure situations where there are consequences. Coach puts us in good position to be ready for those.”

Elmore County turned that practice into results during Tuesday’s Class 4A Area 5 match. After taking a 16-3 lead in the first set, Holtville stormed back to cut the deficit to just four points, putting more pressure on the Panthers but they quickly shut down the comeback attempt with four straight points to end the set.

The Bulldogs continued took a 4-2 in the second set before Elmore County took back the lead for good, scoring seven straight points with Green serving. The third set got off to a similar start with the score 4-4 but Green recorded three straight kills to put the Panthers in front and they never looked back.

“You have all that adrenaline at the same time,” Green said. “Every time you win that next point, it is just like all that hard work is worth it.”

While Elmore County continues to find the right fit for Green, she said she was happy to play whatever position she was needed. While the first goal is to extend their streak of area titles, the Panthers hope the addition of Green gives them enough to compete further in the postseason than they did last year.

“Obviously getting an athlete of her caliber with her attitude and her energy is incredible,” Moncrief said. “I love working with her and I think she’s really going to help us over the next year or two.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.