Regional win over Wahlert is followed by loss at Indee

Bronwyn Hodge of the Panthers (30) puts up a block in the regional semifinal match at Independence Oct. 20. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Emma Hynick follows through on a kill attempt in Wednesday’s Independence match.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     A three-set sweep of Dubuque Wahlert got the volleyball postseason off to a strong start for the Monticello Panthers, but a semifinal loss in a gritty effort at Independence two days later ended their season.

     “Our team really rose to the occasion and played well,” Monticello coach Stacie Breitbach said.

     It began in the quarterfinals, with Monticello playing host to Dubuque Wahlert Oct. 18. The Panthers scored a 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 victory.

     “The girls really wanted that first round match,” Breitbach said. “Our middle hitters (Jayden Kuper and Bronwyn Hodge) have really done a great job of setting the tone, and everyone else followed suit.”

     Monticello got off to a strong start in the first set, taking leads of 12-5 and 20-11. Wahlert pulled back to within five, at 22-17, but a kill by Jayden Kuper made it a six-point lead, and the Panthers scored the next two points to win the set.

     The second set was much closer, with neither team getting more than a five-point lead. The Panthers fell behind 14-16, but went on a 9-3 run to take the lead. A block by Bronwyn Hodge gave the Panthers a 24-19 lead, and two points, later, Madison Butterworth’s kill ended it.

     The final set was much like the first, with the Panthers gaining early control, taking leads of 8-2 and 12-3. Wahlert got within two points once, at 14-12, but Monticello clinched the match with an 11-4 run. An emphatic kill by Kuper provided the Panthers with the final points.

     Monticello had 40 kills, as Mallory Steiner recorded 29 assists.

     “Mal did a nice job running our offense,” Breitbach said. “Twenty-nine assists in a three-set match is pretty good. And Emma Hynick had a ton of digs that match. She was reading their tips really well.”

     Hynick had 15 digs, Kuper had 11 and Jordan Fangmann had 10. Hodge had six blocks, and Kuper had five. Kuper also served 16-for-16, while Keziah McQuillen served 15-for-15.

     On Oct. 20 in the regional semifinals at Independence, Monticello struggled in the opening set, falling behind 6-14 and 7-19, before ending with its final score of 11-25.

     “We were timid, for sure,” the coach said. “We just didn’t settle in during that first set.”

     The last three sets were nail-biters, with neither team winning by more than three. The second set was tied at 18, 19, 20 and 22, before the Panthers took a 24-22 lead on a block by Hodge and an error by Independence.

     The Mustangs were able to tie the match at 24. On the next point, Monticello’s players celebrated a kill attempt by Independence that went out of bounds, but it was ruled a Panther player had touched the net, so the Mustangs were awarded the point, and the Panthers trailed 24-25.

     “We didn’t see that at all,” Breitbach said.

     A tip that skipped off the net then gave Independence the win.

     The Panthers came back strong in the third set, taking leads of 14-5 and 21-11. Consecutive kills by Hodge put Monticello ahead 23-15, but Independence scored eight of the next nine points to get within one, at 24-23. But a block by Kuper enabled Monticello to come away with the two-point win.

     The fourth set also went down to the wire. Down 18-21, the Panthers scored four of the next six points to get within one, 22-23, before Independence scored two points to close out the match.

     Kuper had 11 and Hodge had 10 of the team’s 35 kills. Steiner had 32 assists. Hynick recorded 17 digs, and Kuper had 13. Hodge had seven blocks.

     “Bronwyn had so many touches at the net,” Breitbach said. “She had a really good night. Emma and Keziah have just been all over the court defensively. As for Jayden, we kept throwing (responsibilities) on her, and she’s been stellar all season.”

     The Panthers finished 19-9 on the season. They won the River Valley Conference North Division with a 6-0 record.

     “It was truly a great season,” the coach concluded. “Our seniors showed great leadership all season, the ones on the court and off the court. For a team to be as successful as they were, our bench players had to push them to be that good.”


Oct. 18

Class 3A, Region 7


(at Monticello)

Monticello 3, Dbq. Wahlert 0

MONTICELLO                            Kl    Bl   Dg   Ac

Emma Hynick                               9     2    15     1

Bronwyn Hodge                            7     6     2      0

Jayden Kuper                               8     5    11      0

Mallory Steiner                             2      0     7      0

Keziah McQuillen                         7      1     7      0

Jordan Fangmann                        0      0   10      1

Piper Hansen                               0      0     2      1

Madison Butterworth                    7      3      3     0

Totals                                          40    17    58    3

Assists – Steiner 29, Kuper 4, Fangmann 1,

McQuillen 1, P. Hansen 1.

Serving leaders – Kuper 16-16, McQuillen

15-15, Steiner 12-12, P. Hansen 11-11,

Hynick 9-9, Fangmann 14-15.

Set scores

Dbq. Wahlert              17   20   16

Monticello                   25   25   25


Oct. 20

Class 3A, Region 7


(at Independence)

Independence 3, Monticello 1

MONTICELLO                            Kl     Bl   Dg   Ac

Emma Hynick                               6      1    17     0

Bronwyn Hodge                          10      7     1      0

Jayden Kuper                              11      4   13     1

Mallory Steiner                             0      0     9      0

Keziah McQuillen                         6      3     8      0

Jordan Fangmann                        0      0     6      1

Piper Hansen                               0      0     1      0

Madison Butterworth                    2      4      0      0

Emma Sperfslage                        0      0      1      0

Jaelyn Aitchison                          0      0      6      0

Totals                                         35    19    62     2

Assists – Steiner 32, Hynick 1, Hodge 1.

Serving leaders – McQuillen 15-16, Steiner

13-14, Hynick 11-12, Aitchison 10-11.

Set scores

Monticello                   11   24   25   22

Independence            25   26   23   25



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