On paper, the meeting between Hillsboro and Litchfield on Oct. 22 was a lopsided one in favor of the host Lady Hiltoppers. In reality, rivalries have a way of evening things out.
For three games the Lady Panthers, who entered the game 0-7 in the South Central Conference, gave Hillsboro everything they could handle on senior night, nearly spoiling a potential bid at a SCC title for the 7-1 Lady Hiltoppers. Eventually, Hillsboro would regroup after a game one loss and kept their championship hopes alive with a three game win over the Panthers.
The first game was all about who got hot when, as Litchfield held a 12-8 lead midway through the set, only to have the Toppers go on a six point run to retake the lead with Ally Devore at the serving line.
The points left Hillsboro as soon as they came though, as Devan Morgan served up seven straight points and gave Litchfield a commanding 20-14 lead.
The Toppers would get as close as three thanks to a kill by Chloe Beck, but Litchfield would keep the pressure on and scored the game winner on a tip by Morgan that made it 25-20.
In game two, Hillsboro jumped out ahead early, before Litchfield came back and took the lead at 8-7. The Toppers would regain the lead, but Litchfield kept it close with some big hits by junior Cara Pence.
One of Pence's kills late in the set would cut the lead to three at 21-18, but a block by Beck and two by Kaci Papin would put Hillsboro within a point of the match.
The Panthers capitalized on a Hillsboro miscue to keep the game alive, but Papin put down a kill for the game winner, 25-19.
Game three was a near carbon copy of the first, with Hillsboro leading early, thanks to a serving run by Emily Reynolds, but Litchfield coming back. Down 10-5, Emily Senjan served up an ace, then picked up four more points to close the Topper lead to one.
Hillsboro would weather the storm though, building their lead back up to four and never looking back. Solid work at the net by Beck, Papin, Kayli Ward and Emma Miller kept the Litchfield hitters off balance and allowed Hillsboro to close out the seven point win, 25-18.
Chloe Beck would have a big game on a night where she and fellow seniors Kayli Ward, Emily Reynolds and Rylee Schmollinger were honored for their contributions to the Topper volleyball program. Beck would have a team-high 12 kills, while also adding four service points and a block.
Ward and Reynolds also had solid nights on the attack, with six and four kills, while Kaci Papin also had six kills. Reagan DeVaisher led the team with 14 assists, while Jordan Jacobs added nine.
Pence would lead Litchfield's attack with eight kills, while Mallory Beechler added six and Becky Painter contributed two. Devan Morgan led the team in assists, with 18.
In the serving game, Haley Major had seven points and two aces, while Reynolds had seven points and one ace. Litchfield was led by Devan Morgan, who had 13 points, while Emily Senjan, Jordan Morgan, Becky Painter and Cara Pence had eight points apiece.
Defensively, Ally Devore led Hillsboro in digs with eight, while Papin and Emma Miller had four blocks apiece, while Reynolds added two and Beck and Major had one each.
Kate Komor led Litchfield in digs with 17, while Devan Morgan chipped in ten and Jordan Morgan added nine. Emily Senjan led the team with a pair of blocks.
Both teams will wrap up their regular season on Thursday, Oct. 24, with Litchfield at home against Carlinville and Hillsboro on the road against Pana. Pana is 8-0 in the SCC this season, but a loss to the Toppers could force a three-way tie for the conference title between Pana, Hillsboro and Staunton, who also has just one loss going into their final game Thursday against Gillespie.
October 22 at Hillsboro
Litchfield 25 19 18
Hillsboro 20 25 25
Service Points: Haley Major 7, Emily Reynolds 7, Reagan DeVaisher 5, Ally Devore 4, Chloe Beck 4, Kayli Ward 2, Maria Herhandez 2. Aces: Haley Major 2, Emily Reynolds 1, Reagan DeVaisher 1. Kills: Chloe Beck 12, Kaci Papin 6, Kayli Ward 6, Emily Reynolds 4, Haley Major 3, Emma Miller 1. Assists: Reagan DeVaisher 14, Jordan Jacobs 9, Emily Reynolds 1. Digs: Ally Devore 8, Emily Reynolds 4, Haley Major 3, Jordan Jacobs 2, Chloe Beck 1, Rylee Schmollinger 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 4, Emma Miller 4, Emily Reynolds 2, Chloe Beck 1, Haley Major 1.
Service Points: Devan Morgan 13, Emily Senjan 8, Becky Painter 8, Jordan Morgan 8, Cara Pence 8, Mallory Beechler 6. Aces: Emily Senjan 2, Devan Morgan 1, Becky Painter 1. Kills: Cara Pence 8, Mallory Beechler 6, Becky Painter 4, Emily Senjan 2, Jordan Morgan 1. Assists: Devan Morgan 18, Cara Pence 2, Becky Painter 1. Digs: Kate Komor 17, Devan Morgan 10, Jordan Morgan 9, Carson Jackson 5, Cara Pence 4, Mallory Beechler 4, Jordan Minkevich 4, Becky Painter 3, Emily Senjan 1. Blocks: Emily Senjan 2.
Records: Litchfield (8-19, 0-8), Hillsboro (20-10, 7-1).