PHOTO: Taylor McDonough (4) sets the ball for hitter Sydney Owen during the match at West Branch Oct. 3. (Photo courtesy of Norv Coblentz, West Branch Times)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Playing a top-10 ranked team presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is maintaining the confidence to stay with that team on the scoreboard.
Monticello (2-4, 4-14) had flashes of that during its Thursday, Oct. 3 match at West Branch (ranked 10th in Class 2A), but wound up with a three-set loss, by scores of 20-25, 11-25, 17-25.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get things going,” Monticello coach Lori Lammers said. “We only had eight kills for the match because we simply didn’t swing to terminate the ball.”
The bright side, the coach said, was the team’s defense.
“We did implement a new defense which made us tougher defensively,” she said. “We finished the night with 29 digs.”
The Panthers hung with the Bears for the first set before falling by five points.
“We played a great first set and put ourselves in position to win, but came up a little short,” Lammers said. “In set two we had a complete breakdown with passing, and lost confidence early. We rebounded a little big in set three, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the fast offense that West Branch ran.”
Serving was another high point for Monticello. As a team, the Panthers served 47-for-49 (96 percent). Five Panthers served 100 percent. Sydney Owen was 11-for-11, Taylor McDonough and Allison Ries were both 9-for-9, Sonya Sperfslage was 7-for-7, and Mara Mescher went 6-for-6.
Dig leaders were McCormick and Ries with seven apiece; McDonough, Mescher and Owen with five each. Shay Stephen and Owen each had a block.
This will be another single-match week for the Panthers, as they will play host to Cascade Thursday, Oct. 10.
Pairings for the Class 3A, Region 7 tournament have been released.
Monticello will open the post-season with a Monday, Oct. 28 quarterfinal match at Northeast of Goose Lake, starting at 7 p.m.
The winner will face either Vinton-Shellsburg or Center Point-Urbana Oct. 31, 7 p.m. in Center Point for the semifinal round. The regional final is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5 in Vinton.
The complete bracket is available at
West Branch 3, Monticello 0
MONTICELLO Kl Bl Dg Ac
Rachel Gadient 2 0 0 0
Sonya McCormick 2 0 7 1
Taylor McDonough 0 0 5 1
Mara Mescher 0 0 5 1
Sydney Owen 3 1 5 1
Traci Plummer 0 0 0 0
Allison Ries 0 0 7 0
Sonya Sperfslage 1 0 0 0
Kennedy Kraus 0 0 0 0
Shay Stephen 0 1 0 0
Shelby Wall 0 0 0 0
Totals 8 2 29 4
Assists – McDonough 3, Gadient 2, Kraus 2,
Monticello 20 11 17
Northeast 25 25 25