Five-set win at Anamosa wraps up division title

The Monticello Panthers are North Division volleyball champions in the River Valley Conference with a 6-0 record. Team members displaying their new title t-shirts are, first row from left: Jaelyn Aitchison, Allison Barnhart, Aubree Fairley, Emma Sperfslage, Jordan Fangmann, Piper Hansen and manager Hayley Manternach. Second row: assistant coach Kylie Nagel, Emma Hynick, Bronwyn Hodge, DeLainy Fellinger, Beka Prull, Tori McDonald, Lacie Koppes, Keziah McQuillen, Emma Porter and head coach Stacie Breitbach. Not pictured is Mallory Steiner. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Panther players (from left) Beka Prull, Tori McDonald, Jaelyn Aitchison and Keziah McQuillen celebrate a point late in the match at Anamosa.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Facing the pressure of needing a victory to win an outright division championship, the Monticello High School volleyball team came through, edging Anamosa in five sets Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Anamosa.

     The Panthers took that decisive fifth set 15-9, finishing 6-0 in division play to win the River Valley Conference, North Division title.

     It was the first conference title of any type for Panther volleyball since 2017, when Monticello tied for the division crown with North Cedar and Camanche, all with 4-1 records. Monticello is 15-9 overall.

     “It’s super fun to be part of,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “They just keep playing hard throughout the entire match. They are able to bounce back and stay determined.”

     “I think we perservered through all the ups and downs,” senior Tori McDonald said during a welcome-home event that was held in the high school commons after the Anamosa match.

     The complete score of the Anamosa match, Panther scores first, was 25-21, 15-25, 25-20, 15-25, 15-9.

     “I think we played to our strengths,” Breitbach said. “Defending the net, serving aggressively, mixing up our offense, and passing well on serve-receive.”

     The Panthers led for almost the entire first set, twice building leads as high as six, before winning by four. In the second set, Monticello led 12-11 before the Blue Raiders went on an 11-1 run to take control.

     Monticello scored the last three points of the third set, on a block by Beka Prull, and consecutive kills by Emma Hynick. Again the Raiders came back, pushing to a 21-14 lead before winning the fourth set by 10.

     That forced a fifth set, played up to 15. The Panthers got the early jump, with leads of 4-1, 11-5 and 13-7. Anamosa closed to within 13-9, before Bronwyn Hodge scored on a kill, and an Anamosa hit went out of bounds, ending the match.

     “We had five hitters that we could go to, and Tori did a nice job of feeding them the ball and getting key tips and pushes to keep the Raiders off balance, especially in set five,” Breitbach said.

     Monticello had 53 kills, led by Prull and Hodge with 13 apiece, Hynick with 10, and McDonald with nine. McDonald had 35 assists. Dig leaders were DeLainy Fellinger with 17, Hynick with 16, McDonald with 14, and Keziah McQuillen with 13. Jaelyn Aitchison served 17-for-17 with two aces. As a team, Monticello served 91-for-95 (95.8 percent).

     The Panthers had a more difficult time on Thursday, traveling to Wilton for a portion of the River Valley tournament. Due to COVID-19, the event was held at several sites, and the Wilton portion involved the top two teams from the North and South divisions.

     Monticello faced West Liberty in essentially a semifinal match, and lost 12-25, 16-25. West Liberty went on to defeat Wilton to win the conference tourney title.

     “They were super scrappy and have a powerful offense,” Breitbach said. “We needed to play our best match to beat them, and came up short.”

     The Panthers were scheduled to play host to Vinton-Shellsburg in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A, Region 6 tournament Monday, after this paper went to press. The winner will face either Independence or Center Point-Urbana in the semifinals Oct. 21 in Independence.


Oct. 13

Monticello 3, Anamosa 2

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl   Dg    Ac

DeLainy Fellinger                         0      0   17      0

Tori McDonald                              9      1   14      0

Emma Hynick                             10      2   16      0

Beka Prull                                   13      4     2      0

Keziah McQuillen                         6      2    13      1

Bronwyn Hodge                          13     2      0      0

Lacie Koppes                               2      1      0      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                           0      0      3      2

Piper Hansen                               0      0      1      0

Jordan Fangmann                        0      0      0      0

Totals                                          53   12     66     3

Assists – McDonald 35, Fellinger 6,

McQuillen 3, Hynick 1, Prull 1, Hodge 1,

Aitchison 1.

Serving leaders – Aitchison 17-17,

McDonald 14-14, Fellinger 13-13.

Set scores

Monticello                      25   15   25   15   15

Anamosa                       21   25   20   25     9


Oct. 15

River Valley Conf. Meet


(at Wilton)

West Liberty 2, Monticello 0

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl   Dg    Ac

DeLainy Fellinger                         0      0   14      0

Tori McDonald                              3      0     8       0

Emma Hynick                               0      1      3      0

Beka Prull                                    1      1      1      0

Keziah McQuillen                         0      0      3      0

Bronwyn Hodge                           3      2      1      0

Lacie Koppes                               0      1      0      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                           0      0      1      0

Piper Hansen                               0      0      0      0

Jordan Fangmann                        0      0      1      0

Totals                                           7      5     32     0

Assists – McDonald 4, Fellinger 2,

Fangmann 1.

Serving leaders – Fellinger 7-7,

McDonald 6-6, McQuillen 5-5.

Set scores

Monticello                   12   16

West Liberty                25   25



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