Panthers close regular season with win

Emma Hynick of the Panthers tries to slam the ball past a Mid-Prairie opponent during the Oct. 7 match in Monticello. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Jayden Kuper of Monticello sets up to return a serve in the Mid-Prairie match. Backing up the play is teammate Keziah McQuillen.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello posted some big numbers in its regular season-ending, three-set volleyball sweep of Mid-Prairie Oct. 7 at Monticello High School.

     The Panthers won 26-24, 25-12, 25-15.

     Monticello recorded 46 kills, and held the visiting Golden Hawks to just 17. The four-pronged attack of Jayden Kuper (14 kills), Bronwyn Hodge (10), Emma Hynick (nine) and Keziah McQuillen (seven) controlled the match, with the help of Mallory Steiner’s 38 assists.

     Also, the Panthers posted 32 digs, led by Kuper with 11, Piper Hansen and Hynick with nine apiece.

     It enabled Monticello to record two dominant sets after struggling to win the first one.

     “I think what changed is that our defensive coverage got better,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said. “We blocked better (seven for the match) and got to the ball to keep offense on our side.”

     It was also Senior Night, as the team honored its six seniors: Piper Hansen, Bronwyn Hodge, Emma Hynick, Emma Sperfslage, Mallory Steiner and Kylee Van Dorn.

     “The girls were really excited to play again at home and have Senior Night,” the coach said. “It is always an emotional night, but these seniors rose to the occasion and played really well, as did the whole team.”

     Mid-Prairie turned the match into a struggle for a while. The Golden Hawks took a 17-13 lead in the first set, before the Panthers scored seven straight points to go up 20-17. Mid-Prairie rallied to tie the set 24-24, then hit a ball into the net for a 25-24 Panther lead. Kuper then ended it with a kill.

     The Panthers were seldom challenged in the last two sets. After an 8-2 start, Monti cruised to an 18-12 lead, then scored the final seven points. The last four of those included a kill by Hodge, a block by Hodge, and two service aces from Kuper.

     Monticello gradually built a double-digit lead in the third set, going up 23-13 before a service error by Mid-Prairie and an ace by Kuper closed out the match.

     Serving was also a factor in the outcome. Monticello served 92.0 percent with 11 aces, including four by Kuper, three by McQuillen, and two each from Jordan Fangmann and Steiner.

Conference tourney next

     Monticello (15-7) was scheduled to begin play in the River Valley Conference Tournament beginning Oct. 12. The conference was split into four pods, with Monticello hosting one of them, and playing Mid-Prairie and Iowa City Regina. The top two will advance to the eight-team bracket play Oct. 14 in Wilton. If Monticello doesn’t advance, it will host a consolation bracket Oct. 14.

     “The conference tournament will be tough,” coach Breitbach said. “Regina has some really good athletes, and it is never great to play a team again (Mid-Prairie) after a couple of days. We will need to play aggressively on offense and be scrappy on defense to beat both of these teams.”

Regional pairings

     Pairings for regional play were also released last week. The Panthers will open at home, Oct. 18 against Dubuque Wahlert. The winner will face either Independence or Center Point-Urbana in a regional semifinal match Oct. 20 in Independence.


Oct. 7

(at Monticello)

Monticello 3, Mid-Prairie 0

MONTICELLO                            Kl     Bl   Dg   Ac

Emma Hynick                               9      2     9      0

Bronwyn Hodge                          10      2     1      0

Jayden Kuper                              14      1   11     4

Mallory Steiner                             1      0     4      2

Keziah McQuillen                         7      1     3      3

Jordan Fangmann                       0      0     5      2

Piper Hansen                               0      0     9      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                           0      1      0      0

Emma Sperfslage                        0      0      1      0

Kylee Van Dorn                           1      0      0      0

Abby Sharlow                              2      0      0      0

Lacie Koppes                               1      0      0      0

Totals                                          46    7     43     11

Assists – Steiner 38, P. Hansen 1, Hynick 1,

Kuper 1, Sharlow 1.

Serving leaders – McQuillen 9-9,

P. Hansen 8-8, Steiner 7-7.

Set scores

Mid-Prairie                  24   12   15

Monticello                   26   25   25




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