FRISCO — Aug. 8 was a day of firsts not only for Midlothian Heritage High School's Jaguars but also its cross-town 5A counterpart.
The Lady Panthers broke ground on their 2017 volleyball season Tuesday night, beating Frisco Centennial High School in five sets and two hours, as well as earning first-year Head Coach Teresa Dunn a milestone win.
While Centennial (0-2) entered the match looking for a rebound to a 3-2 home loss to Forney High School on Monday, Midlothian stepped onto the gymnasium floor for its season opener.
The Lady Panthers lost the first set 25-20 but roared back after a few adjustments to claim the second 25-10.
Despite key kills by senior outside hitter Sydney Little and junior outside hitter Samantha Rodgers that helped Midlothian keep pace with Centennial's Lady Titans, the Lady Panthers fell short and seeded a two-set advantage after a 25-23 third set.
In set No. 4, Dunn and her team staged three different rallies, sealed a 25-17 win and evened the match at two apiece. The Lady Panthers found themselves down 14-11 in the middle of a crucial fifth but fought back to tie the set twice — finally taking the set 18-16 and the first win of the season.
It was Dunn's first victory in Midlothian since replacing current Kennedale High School Head Coach Mary Malone.
Dunn, an assistant coach at Southlake Carroll High School under Ryan Mitchell, helped District 5-6A MVP Asija O’Neal, Blocker of the Year Nailah Gordon and the Lady Dragons finish 43-7 overall reach both in state (No. 2) and national (No. 7) rankings. She was also a part of West Texas A&M's volleyball team between 2007 and 2010 — one of the winningest women's programs in NCAA Division II history.
In four years, her team made two appearances in the Final Four with one being the NCAA Volleyball National Championship.
Midlothian (1-0) will travel to Austin to compete in the Thursday through Saturday AISD Jason Landers Invitational. It will play its first home game at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 against Highland Park High School at MHS Arena.
Marcus S. Marion is the sports editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror. He can be reached by phone at (469) 517-1456 or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.