It was a less than ideal way to end a spectacular season for the Hillsboro volleyball team as the Toppers fell to Staunton in two games at the Greenville Regional on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
Hillsboro had played the Bulldogs well during their regular season match-up, which went Staunton's way in three sets, but couldn't get things rolling on Tuesday night.
The two teams would trade points to start the game, before Staunton opened up a 6-3 lead off a Hillsboro error, a four-hit call and a Bulldog block.
Haley Major would end the surge with a kill, then followed that with another as she pulled her team back within one.
Staunton would get the ball back and got two big kills from Taryn Russell on the left side as they opened up a four point lead at 9-5. Hillsboro would battle back, getting kills from Kayli Ward, Chloe Beck and Emily Reynolds, who tied the game at 10-10 with a tip that found the floor.
That would be as close as the Toppers would get though, as Staunton regained the serve and pulled ahead. Hillsboro would try to keep up, but Gabbie Reising and Kaylee Seelbach combined for four service points, helping the Bulldogs grab a 19-12 lead.
Hillsboro would pick up just one service point from then on as Staunton pulled away with the 25-17 win in game one.
In game two, Staunton started hot and stayed that way as they scored four straight to kick things off. The lead would grow to as many as five before Hillsboro clawed their way back. A kill by Haley Major cut what was once a 7-2 advantage to an 8-7 Staunton lead, but the Bulldogs would get the ball back and continued to tack on points.
With kills from Haris Legendre, Taryn Russell and Katie Masinelli, Staunton built up a double digit lead at 22-12 and put the Toppers' season in jeopardy.
Hillsboro would make an effort to get back into the contest, twice cutting the deficit down to seven points as Kayli Ward's kill made it a 23-16 game.
Savannah Billings would get a tip to fall for the 24th Staunton point, with Russell hammering down the game winner.
With the win, Staunton moves on to play Breese Central, who dispatched Carlyle in Tuesday's other semifinal, 25-13, 25-12.
"It’s never easy to see the season come to an end, but I am so proud of these girls and their accomplishments. We finished the season with 21 wins and a third place finish in conference," Coach Emily Zimmerman said. "I’m so grateful for the opportunity to coach these girls. I love to watch them grow, learn, play a game they love and experience success along the way. I’m lucky to have a front row seat!"
Kayli Ward led the team in kills with six, while Kaci Papin added five and Haley Major finished with four. Jordan Jacobs (eight) and Reagan DeVaisher (six) led the team in assists.
While Staunton didn't allow many service points for the Toppers, Ally Devore led the team with four points, while Emily Reynolds added two points and an ace.
Defensively, Devore and Reynolds led the team in digs with six each, while Kaci Papin and Reynolds chipped in a block apiece.
The Hiltoppers advanced to Tuesday's semifinal game by virtue of their win over Greenville on Monday, Oct. 28. Hillsboro would beat the host Comets in two sets, 25-18 and 25-21.
Seniors would lead the serving for the Toppers, with Chloe Beck posting ten points, followed by Kayli Ward with five and Emily Reynolds with four.
Ward also led the team in kills, with eight, while Jordan Jacobs and Reagan DeVaisher had seven assists each. On defense, Ally Devore led the team with seven digs, followed by Ward and Reynolds with four each. Kaci Papin added six blocks, while Emma Miller (two) and Chloe Beck combined for three more.
While Beck, Reynolds, Ward and fellow senior Rylee Schmollinger will be missed, Coach Zimmerman and the Toppers will return several talented starters in 2020. This season was Hillsboro's fifth straight winning campaign, but a regional title has eluded them since 2005. Will next year be the year? Only time will tell.
October 28 at Greenville
Greenville Regional Quarterfinal
Hillsboro 25 25
Greenville 18 21
Service Points: Chloe Beck 10, Kayli Ward 5, Emily Reynolds 4, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Ally Devore 3, Haley Major 2. Aces: Haley Major 1, Emily Reynolds 1. Kills: Kayli Ward 8, Kaci Papin 4, Emily Reynolds 3, Haley Major 2, Emma Miller 2. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 7, Reagan DeVaisher 7, Chloe Beck 1. Digs: Ally Devore 7, Emily Reynolds 4, Kayli Ward 4, Haley Major 3, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Chloe Beck 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 6, Emma Miller 2, Chloe Beck 1.
October 29 at Greenville
Greenville Regional Semifinal
Hillsboro 17 16
Staunton 25 25
Service Points: Ally Devore 4, Emily Reynolds 2, Chloe Beck 1, Kayli Ward 1, Reagan DeVaisher 1. Aces: Emily Reynolds 1. Kills: Kayli Ward 6, Kaci Papin 5, Haley Major 4, Chloe Beck 2, Emily Reynolds 1, Jordan Jacobs 1, Reagan DeVaisher 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 8, Reagan DeVaisher 6, Emily Reynolds 3. Digs: Ally Devore 6, Emily Reynolds 6, Haley Major 4, Jordan Jacobs 3, Kaci Papin 1, Maria Hernandez 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 1, Emily Reynolds 1.
Record: Hillsboro (22-12).