Litchfield picked up their third South Central Conference win in Big Orange Country with a 25-19, 25-19 straight set decision over the Gillespie Lady Miners, who are still in search of their first league win.
The other two Litchfield SCC wins were at home over Southwestern on Sept. 9 and Carlinville on Sept. 23. Their sole loss came at Staunton on September 16.
The Panthers host Mt. Olive this evening, Oct. 4, in a non-conference match and will travel to Pana on Thursday, Oct. 7, where they will have to play at the top of their game to beat the 15-4 Panthers. Pana also has three conference wins that include Hillsboro, Southwestern and Carlinville. However, they too have felt the sting of defeat at home against the Staunton Bulldogs in a three-set match that was decided by two points in the third set on Sept. 23.
After a Litchfield attack that sailed beyond the end line, Carlee Harmon greeted the Miners with a kill and the next three points were won by the Panthers.
Leading 5-3, the purple and white secured the next two points on a kill from Annika Rhodes and a tip from Blair Johnson. Gillespie’s Emily Schoen returned the serve to the Miners off a kill, but it was short lived as Brynn Baker’s serve found the net.
In the next sequence of plays, the two teams played nose-to-nose volleyball with long rallies that resulted in a 17-17 tie. Eve Kaduk’s net serve gave the Panthers a single point lead and a two-hit call against the Miners stretched the lead to two, but a net foul against Litchfield drew the Miners to within a point. Gillespie tied the score at 19, but relinquished possession with another serving error. A Miner attack in the net and an out of bounds hit resulted in an additional two points to the Panthers and a timeout by Gillespie Coach Celia Jubelt.
With a 22-19 lead and Johnson at the service line, Emma Walch found a hole and dumped the ball perfectly for a point, followed by a successful back row attack from Johnson and a serve return error committed by the Miners for a 25-19 first set win.
Litchfield began the second set with four successive points as the Miners experienced short in their serve return and Carlee Harmon and Annika Rhodes combined for a big stuff at the net for a score. The Panthers extended their lead to 6-2 when Gillespie’s Emily Schoen went down with an injury and did not return to the lineup.
The officials would replay the point following the injury to Schoen and it belonged to Litchfield. After a kill from Iris Page and a hitting error from Gillespie the remainder of the set belonged to the Panthers as they built leads of 9-4, 12-7, 15-8 and 22-14.
Points 23, 24 and 25 came by route of a Johnson kill, a skimmer serve from Carlee Harmon that could not be returned and another kill by Johnson who finished the game with 12 kills.
Emma Walch continues to be a steady force at the service line with 14 inbound including three aces. Playing out of the setter position, the junior also gathered a kill, a block, two digs and 10 assists.
Other team leaders were sophomore Annika Rhodes who had 12 inbound serves, an ace, a kill, four blocks and six digs and junior Blair Johnson with 12 kills, eight good serves, two aces, three blocks and four digs. Junior Carlee Harmon had six good serves, an ace, four blocks and a kill.
Sept. 30 at Gillespie
Litchfield 25 25
Gillespie 19 19
Serves In/Out: Emma Walch 14/0, Annika Rhodes 12/1, Blair Johnson 8/0, Carlee Harmon 6/1, Kendall Stewart 5/1, Taylor Brakenhoff 2/0. Aces: E. Walch 3, B. Johnson 2, A. Rhodes 1, C. Harmon 1, K. Stewart 1. Blocks: A. Rhodes 4, C. Harmon 4, B. Johnson 3, E. Walch 1. Attack Attempt/Kills: B. Johnson 25/12, A. Rhodes 9/1, C. Harmon 4/1, T. Brakenhoff 1/3, E. Walch 1/2. Assists: E. Walch 10, A. Hickerson 3. Digs: A. Rhodes 6, B. Johnson 4, A. Frerichs 4, E. Walch 2, A. Hickerson 2.
Service Points: Madison Niemeyer 6, Iris Page 4, Eve Kaduk 4, Emily Schoen 3, Brynn Baker 2, Darci Wolber 2. Aces: M. Niemeyer 2, I. Page 2, B. Baker 1, E. Kaduk 1. Kills: M. Niemeyer 4, B. Baker 2, E. Schoen 2, I. Page 2, E. Kaduk 1, Katie Kasarda 1, Becca Crays 1. Assists: M. Niemeyer 7, E. Kaduk 5. Digs: D. Wolber 14, B. Baker 3, E. Schoen 3, E. Kaduk 3, M. Niemeyer 2, I. Page 2, K. Kasarda 1, Alyssa McDaniels 1.
Records: Litchfield (7-9, 3-1), Gillespie (4-13, 0-4).