Panthers post first victory during two-match week

Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

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PHOTO: Sydney Owen knocks the ball over the net for Monticello in its Sept. 12 home match against Iowa City Regina. (Photo by Pete Temple)

VOLLEYBALL

By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor

In addition to picking up its first win of the season, the Monticello High School volleyball team is showing signs of overall improvement.

“We are definitely improving,” Monticello coach Lori Lammers said. “It shows in our stats. We are taking more attempts, scoring more points on kills and cutting down on hitting errors. We are also becoming more offensive on the service line.”

The Panthers got in the win column Sept. 9 at Anamosa, sweeping the Blue Raiders 25-11, 25-20, 25-21.

The team combined for 30 kills, led by Rachel Gadient with 10 and Sonya Sperfslage with eight. Taylor McDonough made 23 assists and served five aces. The Panthers also had 20 digs, led by Allison Ries with seven, Sydney Owen with five and Sonya McCormick with four.

Monticello ran into a tough opponent in a River Valley Conference home match against Iowa City Regina Thursday, Sept. 12 in Monticello. Regina scored a 25-14, 25-15, 25-13 victory.

“They are experienced,” Lammers said of the Regals. “With the exception of the two freshmen that play, their starters have at least two years of varsity court experience, plus they all play club in the off-season.”

Regina controlled the first set, jumping to an 18-7 lead before closing it out. In the second set, the teams were tied 11-11 before the Regals scored 14 of the last 18 points.

The Panthers surged to an early 6-2 lead in the third set, and were in an 11-11 tie, but Regina outscored Monticello 14-2 the rest of the way.

“We gave up the early lead in set three because our passing broke down,” Lammers said. “Passing is the most important skill, and we are still learning to value the pass. It’s where all of your offense is generated.”

It was a strong defensive game for the Panthers, who collected 41 digs for the match, including 12 by Ries and 10 by McDonough.

“That’s almost a fourth of our total defensive digs for the season so far,” the coach said. “That means we are doing a better job of reading hitters defensively.”

Gadient had seven kills, and McCormick had five. Sperfslage served three aces, while Mara Mescher had two. McDonough had 19 assists.

“We are learning to become a confident volleyball team,” Lammers said. “Right now, celebrating the little victories is crucial. We are getting closer to breaking through that glass ceiling.”

Sept. 9

Monticello 3, Anamosa 0

MONTICELLO Kl Bl Dg Ac

Rachel Gadient 10 3 0 0

Sonya McCormick 3 0 4 0

Taylor McDonough 2 1 1 5

Mara Mescher 5 0 2 0

Sydney Owen 1 1 5 1

Allison Ries 0 0 7 0

Sonya Sperfslage 8 0 1 8

Kennedy Kraus 0 0 0 0

Traci Plummer 1 0 0 0

Totals 30 5 20 14

Assists – McDonough 23, Mescher 3,

McCormick 1.

Set scores

Monticello 25 25 25

Anamosa 11 20 21

Sept. 12

I.C. Regina 3, Monticello 0

MONTICELLO Kl Bl Dg Ac

Rachel Gadient 7 1 1 0

Sonya McCormick 5 0 3 0

Taylor McDonough 0 1 10 0

Mara Mescher 0 0 4 2

Sydney Owen 4 1 6 0

Allison Ries 0 0 12 0

Sonya Sperfslage 3 1 5 3

Kourtney Kraus 0 0 0 0

Traci Plummer 1 0 0 0

Shay Stephen 0 0 0 0

Totals 20 4 41 5

Assists – McDonough 19, McCormick 1.

Set scores

Iowa City Regina 25 25 25

Monticello 14 15 13

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