Gut check: Panthers score big road win

Madison Butterworth of Monticello tips the ball over the net during the Sept. 1 match at Bellevue. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Lacie Koppes of Monticello plays the ball in the Sept. 1 Bellevue match. Looking on at right is Lanie Luensman.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

   The River Valley Conference opener for Monticello and Bellevue, after two sets, looked like an even match involving two strong, athletic volleyball teams.

   Monticello took over in the third set, however, and went on to score a 24-26, 26-24, 25-15, 25-22 win over the Comets Sept. 1 at Bellevue.

   It was a significant win for the Panthers (1-0 conference, 3-2 overall), who are seeking a third straight RVC North Division title.

   “Anytime you go more than three (sets) and you get the win, it’s a huge boost for your team,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said.

   The Panthers put up big numbers in capturing the road win. Jayden Kuper was dominant at the net for much of the match, recording 22 kills with a .302 efficiency mark. Keziah McQuillen added 13 kills. Setter Mia Jaeger put up 46 assists, playing a big role in the team total of 51 kills.

   Defensively, the team had 67 digs, led by Jaeger with 16, Kuper with 14 and McQuillen with 13.

   It started out close. The first set stayed close, as neither team led by more than four points. Monticello led 24-22, but Bellevue rallied for four straight points at the end to win 26-24.

   “We started a little jittery, and didn’t follow the game plan that we talked about,” the coach said. “We were just kind of letting them attack us instead of being the aggressor.”

   Monticello bounced back, however, trailing 20-23 and 23-24 before scoring the last three points and winning the second set 26-24.

   The Panthers took charge in the third set, jumping to leads of 8-3 and 16-6. The Comets never got closer than an eight-point deficit after that, as Monticello won the set 25-15.

   “I think our offense took over a little bit, and our serving was really good. Those two things just really came around for us,” coach Breitbach said.

   Bellevue didn’t step aside easily, however. In the fourth set, the teams were tied at 11, 13 and 14 before Monticello scored four straight to lead 18-14. Three of those were a kill by McQuillen, a kill by Abby Sharlow and a service ace by Kuper.

   The Comets kept it close, as Monticello led 21-20, 22-21 and 23-22. Two straight kills by Kuper, however, closed out the Panther victory at 25-22.

   The Panthers served at 91.1 percent, including 10 aces. Lanie Luensman served three aces, Jordan Fangmann, Jaeger and Kuper had two apiece, and Jaelyn Aitchison served one.

   The team also had seven blocks, led by Sharlow with four and Madison Butterworth with two.

   “They believe in one another, they understand the team concept,” the coach concluded. “It was a gut check. They showed up and did what they needed to do.”


Sept. 1

Monticello 3, Bellevue 1

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl  Dg   Ac

Mia Jaeger                                   0      0   16     2

Jayden Kuper                             22      0   14     2

Madison Butterworth                    7      2     1     0

Keziah McQuillen                        13     1   13     0

Lanie Luensman                           0      0      6      3

Abby Sharlow                               6      4      0      0

Jordan Fangmann                        0      0      7      2

Jaelyn Aitchison                           0      0      5      1

Lacie Koppes                               3      0      2      0

Madilynn Kromminga                   0      0      3      0

Totals                                         51     7      67   10

Assists – Jaeger 46, Luensman 1, Kuper 1,

Butterworth 1.

Serving leaders – Jaeger 17-17,

Luensman 18-19, Fangmann 17-18.

Set scores

Monticello                     24   26   25   25

Bellevue                        26   24   15   22




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