Panthers Comeback Bid Falls Short

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Vandalia boosted their season record to 15-5 with a 25-20, 25-18 non-conference win at Litchfield on Sept. 21. Coach Haley McGinnis’ Lady Vandals are among three teams who currently sit atop the South Central Conference and they will be looking to add a third league win when they host Hillsboro tonight.

In addition to Vandalia, Pana and Staunton stand undefeated in the South Central Conference. The Lady Vandals have suffered non-conference losses to Pana in late August and to Staunton in tournament play on Sept. 11. Litchfield is 1-1 in conference play with a win over Southwestern and a loss to Staunton. They play Carlinville at home today in an SCC match-up.

In Tuesday’s match at Litchfield, Lexi Wehrle, one of four seniors in the Vandals’ starting lineup led the team with seven kills followed by senior teammate Abby Guffey with six. 

Litchfield sophomore Annika Rhodes was the kill leader for Litchfield as she matched the production of Wehrle and was complemented by six kills from junior Blair Johnson. Rhodes was active on both sides of the ball as she finished the match with five inbound serves, 16 attack attempts, two blocks and three digs.

A sluggish start by Litchfield led to an early 11-2 Vandalia lead and although Coach Abby Carlson’s varsity squad would close the gap to within four points late in the match with freshman Georgina Painter at the service line, set point was gained from an out-of-bounds serve following a Vandal timeout.

Litchfield jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set on back-to-back kills from Johnson and Rhodes but Wehrle’s attack regained possession to the Vandals and they would tie the score at three after a net foul against the Panthers and a turn back at the net by Wehrle on Rhodes. Vandalia held the upper hand throughout the remainder of the match as they led by as many as 10 and won by seven.

Freshman Georgina Painter led Litchfield with eight inbound serves including two aced serves. Junior Carlee Harmon went 6-0 at the services line and had four blocks at the net. Harmon attempted eight attacks and had one kill. 

Junior Emma Walch continued her steady approach at the service line with six good serves. In addition she had 12 assists from the setter position and three defensive digs. Sophomore Amy Frerichs led the team in digs with 13. 

Sophomore Kendall Stewart was a perfect 4-0 from the service line, had a block at the net and five attack attempts. In addition to her six kills, junior Blair Johnson had five inbound serves, 18 attack attempts, two blocks and three digs.

Seniors Lexi Wehrle and Abby Guffey led the Vandal charge with seven and six kills respectively. Guffey also had a service ace, a block, six assists and two digs while Wehrle had two blocks and two digs. Senior Elizabeth Barenfanger had four kills and finished as the dig leader with 10. 

Sept. 21 at Litchfield

Vandalia 25 25

Litchfield 20 18

Vandalia Statistics

Aces: Abby Guffey 1, Lauren Kaiser 1, Ellika Whiteman 1. Kills: Lexi Wehrle 7, Abby Guffey 6, Elizabeth Barenfanger 4, Abby Durbin 2, Delaney Kopp 2, Lauren Kaiser 1. Blocks: L. Wehrle 2, A. Guffey 1. Assists: E. Whiteman 14, A. Guffey 6. Digs: E. Barenfanger 10, L. Kaiser 5, Morgan Daren 4, Olivia Dunn 3, L. Wehrle 2, A. Guffey 2, D. Kopp 1, E. Whiteman 1.

Litchfield Statistics

Serves In/Out: Georginia Painter 8/1, Carlee Harmon 6/0, Emma Walch 6/1, Annika Rhodes 5/0, Blair Johnson 5/1, Kendall Stewart 4/0, Taylor Brakenhoff 2/0. Aces: G. Painter 2, C. Harmon 1. Attack Attempts/Kills: A. Rhodes 16/7, B. Johnson. 18/6, C. Harmon. 8/1, K. Stewart 5/0, E. Walch 2/0, T. Brakenhoff 2/0, G. Painter 2/0. Blocks: C. Harmon 4, A. Rhodes 2, B. Johnson 2, K. Stewart 1, G. Painter 1. Assists: E. Walch 12, Amy Frerichs 2. Digs: A. Frerichs 13, E. Walch 3, A. Rhodes 3, B. Johnson 3.

Records:  Litchfield (5-8, 1-1); Vandalia (15-5, 2-0)

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