V-S ends Panthers' season in regionals

DeLainy Fellinger keeps the ball in play for Monticello in the Vinton-Shellsburg match.

Keziah McQuillen tips the ball over for the Panthers Oct. 19 in Monticello. (Photos by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     While the Monticello High School volleyball season came to an end with a tense, five-set loss to Vinton-Shellsburg Oct. 19, just getting to that point in the season was a victory of its own.

     “This season looked different because of the pandemic, but I thought our kids were great,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “We are all thankful that we got to have a season, and they handled each new obstacle with a growth mindset.”

     That mindset led to a North Division championship in the River Valley Conference, but unfortunately for the Panthers, didn’t carry over into the regional quarterfinal match in Monticello.

     The Panthers lost a back-and-forth match to Vinton-Shellsburg 25-20, 23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 10-15. 

     “Volleyball is all about runs,” Breitbach said. “As a team we try not to give up three points in a row, but we did, and unfortunately when we were only playing to 15 (in the fifth set), it was too hard to overcome.”

     The first set might have given spectators the impression that the Panthers were going to cruise to victory. Monticello jumped out to leads of 5-0 and 12-3. The Vikings closed to within four points near the end, but the Panthers closed out the 25-20 win.

     “We came out confident and aggressive,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “We served well, and our passers provided the start to our offense.”

     Monticello led for part of the second set too, 18-15, but V-S went on an 8-1 run to take a 23-19 lead. The Panthers got within one point twice, including at 23-24, but a kill by the Vikings’ Samantha Walton ended the set and evened the match.

     Vinton-Shellsburg had another big run in the third set, 10-1, to take a 22-14 lead, and held off a late Monticello rally to win by four.

     “They have two really good hitters that kept us off balance and playing more defense,” Breitbach said. “We didn’t execute as well as we did in the first game. They also put up big blocks against our middles that forced us to switch our offense to be more effective.”

     The Panthers showed their ability to bounce back and win under pressure, however, scoring the last five points of the fourth set to break a 20-20 tie and win 25-20. Two kills by Emma Hynick and a service ace by Keziah McQuillen were part of the late rally.

     In the deciding fifth set, played up to 15, the teams played point-for-point until it was 4-4. The Vikings took leads of 6-4, 10-7 and 14-9. V-S then won two of the last three points, both on kills by Brynn Patterson, to take the set 15-10 and close out the win.

     Monticello finished the season with a record of 15-10, including 6-0 in the North Division and 7-2 against all River Valley foes.

     “The girls worked hard to get better, and you could see it in their play,” Breitbach said. “They weren’t afraid to try new plays, change up the defensive schemes, or play a different position. We depended on our bench players a lot, at key times during matches, and they came through. I’m so proud of the work ethic of this team.”

     It was the final match for five seniors: DeLainy Fellinger, Tori McDonald, Beka Prull, Allison Barnhart and Aubree Fairley.

     “I have really enjoyed working with those seniors,” the coach said. “They did great things on the court, and I am excited to see the great things they will do off the court. They provided leadership, positivity and laughs; they will be truly missed.”


Oct. 19

Class 3A, Region 6


Vinton-Shellsburg 3, Monti 2

MONTICELLO                            Kl   Bl   Dg   Ac

DeLainy Fellinger                         0     0   16     2

Tori McDonald                              3     3   14     2

Emma Hynick                             18     1   13     0

Jaelyn Aitchison                           0     0   11     0

Beka Prull                                   10     0    5     1

Keziah McQuillen                         8     0   20     3

Bronwyn Hodge                           9     5     0     0

Madison Butterworth                    3     1     1     0

Piper Hansen                               0     0     0     2

Jordan Fangmann                        0    0     2     0

Lacie Koppes                               0    0     0     0

Totals                                         51  10   82   10

Assists – McDonald 45, Butterworth 1,

Hynick 1, Aitchison 1.

Serving leaders – Fellinger 17-17,

McDonald 17-17, McQuillen 19-20.

Set scores

Vinton-Shllsbg.     20  25  25  20  15

Monticello             25  23  21  25  10


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