Volleyball squad excels while battling opponents and COVID-19

Breanna Johnson, Lufkin High School Student Media

Lufkin High School junior Kelby Coutee attacks the ball during the Lady Panthers’ non-district win over Marshall this past Tuesday night. (Photo by ANDY ADAMS/Lufkin ISD)

The Lady Panthers varsity volleyball team won seven of its first eight matches while also battling the coronavirus.

“I feel that, as a team, we have managed the unexpected challenges with corona, such as wearing the masks off the court and being socially distant from each other,” junior Kelby Coutee said.

The players are dealing with changes like spacing out on the sidelines when they’re not in a match, and not being able to shake hands with their opponents.

Head Coach Leah Flores said she believes the players have also picked up more sanitary habits, like increased hand-washing and the cleaning of equipment, that they will continue to use the rest of their lives.

Members of the varsity squad include Catera Brown, Kelby Coutee, Natalie Cox, Libby Flores, Reagan Hill, Bree Hodges, Amelia Houston, Morgan Kier, Mia Lila, Courtnee Morgan, Aleah Park and Claire Walters.

The team is scheduled to travel to face Huntington on Tuesday night, with the freshmen match beginning at 4:30 p.m., the junior varsity match beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the varsity contest starting at 6:30 p.m.

Lufkin is scheduled to start its district schedule with an Oct. 13 match against Jacksonville in Panther Gym on the Lufkin Middle School campus.