1009-Elmore County 4.jpg

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Elmore County’s Madison Britt hits the ball against Horseshoe Bend.

The front row of Elmore County’s volleyball team is starting to come alive at the right moment as the Panthers look to take some momentum into the postseason. The Panthers knew what they would be getting out of top hitters Mirriam Foster, Katie Pollard and Kelley Green but they’ve has seen a number of other players make an impact.

Madison Britt took a year off from volleyball last year as she said she wanted to clear her head and focus on softball. However, ECHS coach Kim Moncrief talked with Britt about returning to the court and the Panthers are happy to see her back.

“We talked about it a little bit in the offseason,” Moncrief said. “I think she missed it last year. We’re really glad she came out again. She’s got great technique and she has the body for it. The height helps a lot.”

That height came into play when Elmore County hosted Horseshoe Bend on Senior Night last week. The Generals entered the night with a 23-match winning streak but the Panthers dominated from start to finish on their way to a three-set sweep.

Britt is listed at 6-foot-0 and she uses every inch of that to her advantage at the net. She finished with five kills and three blocks against the Generals, playing just over half the points.

“This season has been good so far,” Britt said. “We have come a long way to be honest. We’ve struggled in other games but I think (Wednesday), we really played how we’re supposed to play.”

The Panthers outscored their opponents by 14 points with Britt on the court and the team eased to a 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 victory. Moncrief said she recognized Britt in the locker room and said how well she played against Horseshoe Bend. Britt said she knew that meant she helped out her team but she did not realize she was playing well in the moment.

“I am my worst critic so I was looking at everything I did bad,” Britt said. “Every time I made a mistake, I knew it so I didn’t have time to stop and think about having a good match.”

The offense still ran through Foster, who played every point and finished with 17 kills. However, Britt showed the Panthers have yet another option they can go to when they need a point.

“That really helps us a lot,” Moncrief said. “We tend to set outside more than we need to. We need to mix it up some more and with her being a force in the middle, they’re not sure where the ball is going to go.”

While the big hitters will continue to be the go-players in the attack, Britt said she has learned a lot working with so many other good players on the front row. Moncrief said Britt’s confidence has visibly risen and the team is going to look to her more and more as the season continues.

“We have been trying to work with her in practice a lot more,” Moncrief said. “She’s always had a good read for the ball and she’s very athletic. She has come a long way with her hitting and she has timed her blocks better. She plays the net very well and she’s turning it on at the right time.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.