COLUMN: Panthers make history in Dyersville

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

   Monticello’s volleyball win at Dyersville Beckman Sept. 20 was a rare occurrence.

   How rare? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, the last time the Panther volleyball knocked off the Trailblazers before last week was in 1988.

   To be fair, once the Big Bend Conference disbanded in 2003, Beckman and Monticello did not share a conference again until this fall.

   I need to pause here to give credit to Jack Marlowe, the legendary sportswriter, fan and statistician from Maquoketa, who many years ago compiled a book telling the history of the defunct Big Bend, chock full of statistics, standings, awards, etc. It’s a treasure.

   There I learned that Beckman never lost more than a single Big Bend match from 1990 through 2003. And since Monticello never finished above the Blazers in those years, I concluded that Beckman won the matchup every time.

   My Express history began in late 1998, and my records do not show any Panther wins over Beckman since then.

   But from 1987 through 1989, Beckman went 3-4, 2-5 and 3-4 in conference play. So I researched those years, and there it was, Sept. 6, 1988, Monticello defeated Beckman 15-0, 15-6, 15-8 (you could only score on your own serve in those days). The team was coached by Cindy Hutcheson.

   I can’t speak fully for weekend tournaments; it’s possible Monti got the best of Beckman at some point in one of those three-set pool play matches.

   But the Sept. 20 win was a big one, made bigger because it put the Panthers in the driver’s seat for the RVC North Division title. Monticello also climbed into the Class 3A rankings at No. 14.


What a play!

   Speaking of volleyball, there was a play in a recent Monticello match that deserves recognition.

   I somehow neglected to put it in my regular volleyball article in our Sept. 21 issue, that in the Sept. 13 home match against Center Point-Urbana, Monticello junior Keziah McQuillen made one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen.

   Heading toward the Monti bench to save a ball, McQuillen bumped it back over her head, then tumbled over a teammate on one of the chairs in a complete somersault, somehow landing on her feet behind the chair.

   She then sprinted back onto the court, making it just in time to save the ball that was again coming her way. She two-handed it to setter Mia Jaeger, who set it for Jayden Kuper, who put it away with an impressive kill.

   Thanks to her mom, Kim McQuillen, who posted the video on Facebook, I’ve watched this play dozens of times.

   It happened in the fourth set, which the Panthers won 25-13 to close out the match, so the play probably didn’t affect the outcome. But it was a big, giant “Wow!”

   Way to go, Z.


Fewer emails!

   I think so, anyway.

   A few weeks ago I mentioned I was trying an experiment in which I “unsubscribed” from 10 email sources per day, to see if it made any difference long-term in the number of unwanted solicitations I receive.

   I’m here to report that it appears to be working. I can’t prove it, but I know I came into work Thursday morning, for instance, and had 24 unread emails (maybe six of which were useful), whereas normally it is around 50.

   It has taken time, however, I have had to unsubscribe from well over 100 email sources to make even that much difference. I’ll keep plugging away.




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