This just in.

The Navarro Lady Panthers volleyball team is pretty good.

Tuesday night in Navarro, hitter Kelly Helms was once again dominant, as the Panthers rolled by Brooks Academy, 25-10, 25-11 and 25-10 to improve to 8-1 in District 30-4A and 31-7 overall.

Helms had 14 kills in the contest, putting her just three kills away from the 1,000th kill of her career at Navarro.

“I wasn’t sure how many I had tonight, but I needed 17 before the match,” Helms said after the game. “I think I’m on track to get it Friday night at Gonzales.”

While head coach Nicole Blakeman played with the lineup a bit in the match, whenever Helms came back in it was almost automatic as the Panthers fed her the ball most of the night.

The Panthers went on extended runs of points throughout the match, building big leads through Helms and others offensively that the Bengals could not answer.

The blowout win gave Blakeman and the team a chance to work on some fundamentals during the match.

“We were working on keeping focused, no service errors and serving to different areas,” Blakeman said. 

Hitter Madison McCaig contributed with six kills on the night, most on short sets in the middle of the floor. Nelly Brumley also had six kills and Berklee Andrews served nine aces on the night to lead the team offensively.

Defensively, a slew of Panthers chipped in with digs to set up the offense, including Ashley Gosch (9), Carolyn Burch (7), Brumley (7), Andrews (6) and Kaitlin Menchaca (5).

“Berklee served really well and Nelly hit well,” Blakeman said. 

McCaig likes where the Panthers are at this point in the season, but knows the team has work to do to achieve the goals they have in mind for the year.

“We’ve been having a pretty good season so far,” McCaig said. “We all work together really well, we just have that bond.

“I think we underestimate ourselves and we need to start stepping up, because we are really good. If we can take it seriously, we have a chance to go far in the playoffs and maybe make it to state — I’m praying for that.”

Helms is also optimistic for the team’s chances to accomplish something special this season.

“We have flashes, but I think if we focus and really come together, we can go far this year,” she said. “We have a lot of injuries right now, so if we can pull it together, get everybody healthy, we can make that one solid run.”

Helms’ goal for this year is simple.

“State,” she said. “I think we’re good enough.”

Blakeman feels the team is good enough for a state playoff run, but that the Panthers will have to get through some tough teams to get there.

“Our problem is that we have eight teams ranked ahead of us that are in our region,” she said. “So while we may be doing well right now, we have some big competition ahead of us.

“If we put our minds to it, we can go all the way — but we have to work, because there are some really, really good teams in our region.”

Navarro travels to Gonazles on Friday, before returning home next Tuesday for a match that has district championship implications with La Vernia.

Other scores

Seguin got a crucial four-set win at Harlandale on Tuesday, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-17.

The offense was spread around Tuesday night, as Taylor Bode and Julianna Harrington had 13 kills each, while Leslie Muenchow and Riley Brittain chipped in with 10 apiece. Defensively, libero Amasti Canales had 35 digs, while Brinley Beicker and Brittain had 26 and 24, respectively.

The win improved the Lady Mats to 9-4 in district as they battle to maintain a playoff spot, currently sitting third with just three games left. 

Marion fell to 3-3 in district with a close three-set loss to Ingram-Moore, 25-23, 25-21 and 27-25.

Lifegate beat Winston in three sets, 25-5, 25-14 and 25-11. They move to 13-4 on the year and play next at the TCAL 2A state tournament in San Antonio as the No. 1 seed, Oct. 24-26. 

Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at sports@seguingazette.com .

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