Panthers rally twice, tip Camanche in five sets


Sophie Hodge of Monticello makes a pass during the Oct. 3 home win over Camanche. Looking on is teammate DeLainy Fellinger. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Emma Hynick of the Panthers follows through on a kill attempt Thursday night.
VOLLEYBALL
By: 
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     There have been times this season when the Monticello High School volleyball team has battled to a close finish, only to fall short by two or three points.

     In a home match against Camanche Oct. 3, the Panthers came from behind to pull out close sets – twice – and edged Camanche in a five-set match. Monticello won 25-17, lost 19-25, won 25-22 after trailing 12-18, lost 21-25, and won 21-19 to earn the victory.

     “It was a really huge win,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “We came off a loss to Bellevue. We knew the conference championship was out of reach, but we still wanted to play our game and continue to learn and get better. And to play five sets and get that win in the deciding set; it was a huge win.”

     It was a big night for both Jordan Kuper, who recorded 30 kills; and Tori McDonald, who had 47 assists.

     “Jordan has been huge for us all year,” Breitbach said. “She sees the court really well. And Tori is making good decisions, mixing up our offense, keeping them more off kilter on the other side.”

     Monticello (3-3 in the River Valley Conference North Division, 16-11 overall) had lost at Bellevue two days earlier, by scores of 14-25, 25-21, 21-25, 22-25; in a match that could have gone the other way had just a few points been reversed.

     On Thursday, though, the Panthers came up with enough big plays to come out on top.

     The first two sets weren’t particularly close. Monticello opened leads of 14-3 and 16-4 in the first set on the way to the eight-point win. In the second set, the Panthers led 6-4 but fell behind 16-22 before falling.

     The third set was the kind Monticello had been looking for. Camanche led 18-12 before the Panthers went on an 8-2 run to pull within one at 20-21. Monticello fell behind 21-22, but scored the final four points – the last two on kills by Emma Hynick and Tori McDonald – to win 25-22.

     The Indians led almost the entire fourth set. Monticello got within two points at 19-21, but Camanche scored four of the last six.

     The fifth set was supposed to be played up to 15. At first it looked as though the Indians were going to roll to the victory, taking leads of 10-5 and 13-9. Monticello then scored the next four points – a key tip by Kuper into an open spot on the floor tied it 13-13.

     The teams traded points – with neither getting the required two-point margin to win – all the way up to 19-19. Camanche got five chances in that stretch to serve for the win, but in each case the Panthers knotted things up again.

     With McDonald serving, a tip by Kuper gave the Panthers a 20-19 lead, and an error on the Camanche side gave Monticello the clinching point.

     Hynick had eight kills, while Carly Hayen and Bronwyn Hodge had six apiece.

     “The defense worked hard to defend (Jordan), and that allowed other people to shine,” Breitbach said.

     Defensively, Kuper had 21 of the team’s 80 digs, DeLainy Fellinger had 20, Leah Holub had 10, Sophie Hodge and McDonald had nine apiece.

     Serving was a big factor for the Panthers as well, as they served 92 percent as a team. Fellinger was 20-for-21, and McDonald was 18-for-19. Kuper served four aces, and Hynick had two.

     “Lainy Fellinger has just been stellar all year,” the coach said. “And I feel down the stretch, when we needed key serves, we didn’t miss.”

     That dramatic win followed a tough loss at Bellevue in four sets.

     “It was super close,” Breitbach said. “ But instead of swinging or trying to tip to a spot, I feel we just played it safe, and they didn’t. They kept swinging, so I think that was the difference.”

     Kuper recorded 26 kills in that match, and McDonald had 34 assists. Fellinger had 16 digs, Kuper had 12 and McDonald had 10.

Home Thursday

     The Panthers will close out their regular season with a home match Thursday, Oct. 10 against Iowa City Regina, which will also be Senior Night.

 

Oct. 1

Bellevue 3, Monticello 1

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl  Dg    Ac

DeLainy Fellinger                         0      0   16      0

Tori McDonald                              7      0   10      0

Jordan Kuper                              26     2   12      0

Carly Hayen                                 1      1      1      0

Emma Hynick                               5      1      1      0

Gabrielle Steiner                          1      0      2      0

Leah Holub                                   0      0      6      1

Sophie Hodge                               0      0      4      0

Bronwyn Hodge                            4      3      2      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                            0      0      1      1

Madison Butterworth                     2      1      0      0

Totals                                           46     8     55     2

Assists – McDonald 34, Kuper 4,

Fellinger 3, Holub 2, Hodge 1, Hynick 1,

Steiner 1.

Serving leaders – McDonald 14-15,

Holub 9-10.

Set scores

Monticello                     14   25   21   22

Bellevue                       25   21   25   25

 

Oct. 3

Monticello 3, Camanche 2

MONTICELLO                            Kl     Bl  Dg   Ac

DeLainy Fellinger                         0      0    20      0

Tori McDonald                              3      0      9      0

Jordan Kuper                              30      6    21      4

Carly Hayen                                 6      1      2      0

Emma Hynick                               8      0      4      2

Gabrielle Steiner                           0      0      1      0

Leah Holub                                    0      0   10      1

Sophie Hodge                                0      0      9      1

Bronwyn Hodge                             6      6      1      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                             0      0      0      0

Madison Butterworth                      2      0      1      0

Piper Hansen                                 0      0      2      0

Totals                                            55    13   80     8

Assists – McDonald 47, Fellinger 3,

Holub 2, Kuper 2.

Serving leaders – Fellinger 20-21,

McDonald 18-19.

Set scores

Camanche                    17   25   22   25   19

Monticello                      25   19   25   21   21

 

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