Toppers Get Back On The Court


After missing several games due to quarantine, the Hillsboro volleyball team was welcomed back to the court by a tough field at the Freeburg Monster Mash Tournament on Oct. 16. The Toppers won one of their four games on the day and finished fourth in the silver bracket, eighth overall, but played well defensively and made strides going into the final week of the regular season.

Hillsboro’s win came in one of their two pool play games as they beat East Alton-Wood River 25-19 and 15-9 after losing the first game 22-25. The victory was significant in the fact that it snapped a five-game losing streak for the Toppers, but it also marked senior Kaci Papin’s first game back this season after being benched by an off-season surgery.

Papin contributed immediately, posting one of Hillsboro’s three blocks (Sophia Blankenship and Alayna McCario had the other two) and putting down seven kills, second to Layne Rupert’s team-high nine. The Toppers also got 20 assists and a team-best 13 service points from Kinley Richardson and 17 digs and 10 service points from Isabella White.

After the win over the Oilers, Hillsboro drew Nashville for their second pool play match-up. The Hornets beat Staunton earlier this year (the Bulldogs had beaten Hillsboro on Thursday in the Toppers’ first game back from quarantine) and eventually finished second to the host school at the tournament, moving their record to 28-5.

The Toppers would try to hang with the Hornets, getting nine digs from White and a pair of blocks from Addison Lowe, but Nashville took the win in two games, 25-4, 25-12.

Hillsboro’s 1-1 record moved them to the Silver Bracket, where they faced off against a talented Waterloo Gibault Catholic team, who had beaten Alton Marquette earlier this year. After a bumpy 25-13 loss in game one, Hillsboro put some fear into the Hawks before falling 25-18. Adyson McCammack had a pair of blocks in the loss, while Isabella White finished with nine digs and three service points. Sophia Blankenship led the team with three kills, while Kinley Richardson had six assists.

Hillsboro’s final game was against Chester, who was 13-11 entering the game with a win over Gibault earlier this season. The Toppers fell to the Yellow Jackets, but it would take three games as the two teams split the first two bouts 25-21 (Chester) and 25-23 (Hillsboro), before Chester won the rubber match 15-13.

“We played excellent,” Coach Emily Zimmerman said of Hillsboro’s performance against Chester. “This team had strong attackers from left, right and middle and I thought our defense did an excellent job containing them.”

A big part of that came from Kaci Papin and Sophia Blankenship at the net as the pair combined for seven blocks. Layne Rupert added in six digs behind them and led the team in kills with 11. Tatum Christian stepped up at the service line, scoring eight points, including an ace.

Hillsboro will try to fine tune things this week before they meet Litchfield on Monday, Oct. 25, at the Carlinville Regional. Today, Oct. 18, the Toppers take on Southwestern on the Piasa Birds’ home floor, followed by a trip to Carlinville on Tuesday, Oct. 19, and a regular season conference match-up with Litchfield on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at home.

October 15 at Freeburg

Monster Mash Tournament

Hillsboro 22 25 15

EAWR 25 19 9

Hillsboro Statistics

Service Points: Kinley Richardson 13, Isabella White 10, Emilee Roemelin 4, Abbigail Schreiber 4, Layne Rupert 1, Sophia Blankenship 1. Aces: Kinley Richardson 2, Isabella White 1, Layne Rupert 1. Kills: Layne Rupert 9, Kaci Papin 7, Sophia Blankenship 5, Alayna McCario 3, Addison Lowe 1. Assists: Kinley Richardson 20. Digs: Isabella White 17, Layne Rupert 16, Kinley Richardson 6, Abbigail Schreiber 3, Alayna McCario 3, Emilee Roemelin 2, Sophia Blankenship 1, Kaci Papin 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 1, Sophia Blankenship 1, Alayna McCario 1.

Hillsboro 4 12

Nashville 25 25

Hillsboro Statistics

Service Points: Layne Rupert 3, Abbigail Schreiber 1, Sophia Blankenship 1. Aces: Layne Rupert 2. Kills: Kaci Papin 1, Alayna McCario 1, Tatum Christian 1. Assists: Kinley Richardson 2, Emilee Roemelin 1. Digs: Isabella White 9, Sophia Blankenship 5, Kinley Richardson 2, Layne Rupert 1, Abbigail Schreiber 1, Tatum Christian 1. Blocks: Addison Lowe 2, Kaci Papin 1, Alayna McCario 1.

Fifth Place Semifinal

Hillsboro 13 18

Gibault 25 25

Hillsboro Statistics

Service Points: Isabella White 3, Kaci Papin 2, Abbigail Schreiber 1, Kinley Richardson 1, Sophia Blankenship 1. Kills: Sophia Blankenship 3, Kaci Papin 2, Layne Rupert 2, Adyson McCammack 1. Assists: Kinley Richardson 6, Isabella White 1, Kenadie Carlock 1. Digs: Isabella White 9, Kenadie Carlock 3, Layne Rupert 3, Sophia Blankenship 3, Kaci Papin 2. Blocks: Adyson McCammack 2, Sophia Blankenship 1.

Seventh Place Game

Hillsboro 21 25 13

Chester 25 23 15

Hillsboro Statistics

Service Points: Tatum Christian 8, Kinley Richardson 6, Kenadie Carlock 3, Layne Rupert 2, Isabella White 2, Abbigail Schreiber 1, Sophia Blankenship 1. Aces: Tatum Christian 1, Layne Rupert 1, Isabella White 1. Kills: Layne Rupert 11, Sophia Blankenship 3, Kaci Papin 3, Tatum 3, Alayna McCario 1. Assists: Kinley Richardson 18, Alayna McCario 2, Sophia Blankenship 1. Digs: Layne Rupert 6, Isabella White 5, Kinley Richardson 2, Sophia Blankenship 1, Tatum Christian 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 4, Sophia Blankenship 3.

Record: Hillsboro (9-16).


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