Panthers reach RVC quarterfinals with win over Cascade

Monticello players (from left) Carly Hayen, Marissa McNally and Tori McDonald celebrate the final point as the Panthers defeat Cascade during the River Valley Conference Tournament Oct. 9 in Durant. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Clara Finger keeps the ball in play for the Panthers against Cascade.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     It was a win that avenged two earlier losses to Cascade. More than that, the Monticello High School volleyball team’s three-set win over the Cougars sent the Panthers to the bracket round of the River Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament.

     Monticello opened the tournament Oct. 9 at Durant, in a three-school pod, from which two would advance. The Panthers lost the first of those matches, 16-21, 7-21, to Durant.

     But against Cascade, the Panthers shook off a tough first set loss, 20-22, to win 21-10, 15-8. Cascade had beaten Monticello twice earlier this season; at the Midland tournament, and in the Sept. 18 conference matchup, a contest that was decided by two points in the fifth set.

     “It was a big win for us,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “Not just because of the rivalry, but that gave us the opportunity to go to the championship bracket of the tournament.”

     Monticello (12-21) faced Wilton in the tournament quarterfinals Oct. 11 at Tipton, and lost 14-21, 13-21 to be ousted from the tournament.

     In the Durant match that opened the tournament, Monticello battled the Wildcats in the first set. The Panthers trailed 10-4 and 12-6, but rallied to within two points, 18-16, before Durant prevailed.

     The Wildcats broke the second set open. With the score tied 5-5, Durant went on an 11-1 run on the way to the win.

     “They are a tall team, and defend their net really well,” Breitbach said.

     Monticello surged to a 19-14 first set lead against Cascade, but saw it slip away on an 8-1 run by the Cougars. In the second set, the Panthers took a big early lead, 11-3, and made it stand. A kill by Carly Hayen closed that one out.

     That brought the match to a deciding third set, played up to 15. Again, the Panthers gained early control, with an 8-4 lead. A 6-2 run gave Monticello a 14-6 edge, with eight chances to close it out, and did so on a Cougar error.

     “The girls know that good things happen when we play together,” the coach said.

     Jordan Kuper had nine kills and 12 of the team’s 53 digs against Cascade. Jaelynn Kraus had nine digs, while Beka Prull and Lainey Fellinger each had eight digs. Kuper had four blocks and four aces, and Tori McDonald had three blocks. Prull had three aces.

     In Thursday’s Wilton match, Breitbach said the Beavers made late runs to close out both sets.

     “We started both games really strong, and then our serve receive got a little shaky and we didn’t make the best decisions offensively,” Breitbach said. “Wilton has one of the best players in Iowa with Aubrey Putman, and she elevates them.”

     Statistics from the Wilton match were unavailable at press time.

     The Panthers were scheduled to open Class 3A, Region 8 play with a quarterfinal match Oct. 17 at Camanche. The winner will play in the semifinals Oct. 23.

     “We played Camanche tough earlier this season,” Breitbach said. “I think if we come ready to play, defend our net and stay aggressive offensively, we can upset them.”


Oct. 9

River Valley Conf.


(at Durant)

Durant 2, Monticello 0

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl    Dg   Ac

Jaelynn Kraus                              0      0      4      0

Tori McDonald                              2      0      3      0

Jordan Kuper                                6      2      1      0

Carly Hayen                                 1      0      0      0

Sophie Hodge                              0      0      1      0

Beka Prull                                     0      0      3      0

Mallory Steiner                             1      0      3      0

Lainey Fellinger                            0      0      1      0

Clara Finger                                  0      0      0      0

Marissa McNally                           0      0      0      0

Totals                                          10     2     16     0

Assists – Steiner 3, McDonald 2, Kuper 1.

Serving leaders – Prull 8-8, Steiner 6-6.

Set scores

Monticello                   16     7

Durant                        21   21


Monticello 2, Cascade 1

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl    Dg   Ac

Jaelynn Kraus                              3      0      9      0

Tori McDonald                              1      3      4      0

Jordan Kuper                               9      4   12      4

Carly Hayen                                 2      1      1      0

Beka Prull                                    2      1      8      3

Mallory Steiner                             0      0      4      1

Clara Finger                                 0      0      5      0

Marissa McNally                           0      0      1      0

Lainey Fellinger                            0      0      8      0

Jordan Lorenzen                           0      0      1      0

Kenna Melchert                             0      0      0      0

Totals                                           17     9     53     8

Assists – McDonald 6, Steiner 6, Finger 1,

Kuper 1, McNally 1, Prull 1.

Serving leaders – Kraus 9-9, Steiner 12-13,

Kuper 10-11.

Set scores

Monticello                   20   21   15

Cascade                     22   10     8



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