What better way to begin the season than to capture a road win at the varsity level and that is exactly what the Litchfield Lady Panthers did last Thursday evening at Nokomis as they welcomed their new head coach with a 25-14, 25-22 straight set match win over the Lady Redskins.
In his first gig as the Panthers' head volleyball coach, Jeremy Heigert watched as the Redskins established an early 2-1 first set lead that was quickly reversed on the arm of senior Mcall Wertin as she put down two ace serves to to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead, a lead they would not relinquish throughout the set.
Wertin's ace serves were matched by Mallory Beechler and Becky Painter, who were also credited with an ace. Keeping the ball between the lines from the service area was key to the Panther win as junior Emily Senjan led the team in service points with four followed by Carlee Ernst and Beechler with three and Jordan Morgan and Becky Painter with two apiece.
Nokomis junior Jade Jett would close the scoring gap to 8-4 but it would be the closest the Redskins would get as Litchfield closed out the set with Beechler at the service line.
Nokomis Head Coach Megan Mehochko rallied her troops in the second set as the Redskins found their stride and kept the score close in the opening minutes. Litchfield did build an early 4-1 lead but in rally scoring, a three point cushion can be erased quickly and the Lady Redskins did just that as they battled to knot the score at seven on a downed spike by junior Macee Eisenbarth and a Litchfield touch on an ensuing Redskins serve.
Sophomore Mia Fesser put the Redskins up 8-7 at which time Coach Heigert called for a Litchfield timeout and huddle.
Neither team would gain more than a three-point advantage during the remaining minutes of the second set and with a 23-20 Litchfield lead, Nokomis was awarded point number 21 as the Panthers were whistled for a bad hit.
An out-of-bounds Redskins' serve returned possession to Litchfield and Jordan Morgan served point number 24 as Coach Mehockho used her second and final time out of the set.
A Redskin spike by senior Madelyn Sowarsh gained point number 22 and breathed new life but the Lady Panthers captured the final point with junior Macee Eisenbarth at the service line.
For Litchfield, the varsity starters against Nokomis were seniors Carlee Ernst and Lizzy Luttrell, juniors Jordan Morgan, Devan Morgan and Emily Senjan, sophomores Becky Painter and Kate Komor in the libero position. The remaining varsity roster includes seniors Mcall Wertin, Grace Thrasher and Sydney Robinson, and juniors Jordan Minkevich and Mallory Beechler. Also listed on the varsity roster are junior Trish Seipp and sophomore Aly Fenton, both of whom are alternates.
The junior varsity players include junior Trish Seipp and Ellen Fleming, sophomores Izzy Ott, Maddie Fowler, Aly Fenton, Halie Davis, Brianna Jeffers, Dakoda Mix, Lexi Staggs and Cara Pence. Alternates are freshmen Mackenzie Emerson and Laken Shade.
For Nokomis, Coach Mehochko's starting lineup included seniors Emily Chumley and Madelyn Sowarsh, juniors Jade Jett, Macee Eisenbarth and Sophia Keller (libero) and sophomores Kristen Stauder and Mia Fesser. The remainder of the varsity lineup includes junior Ellee Waterman, sophomores Delaney Keiser, Alex Pavolka, Olivia Taylor and freshman Presley Lamb.
The junior varsity players are juniors Sophia Keller and Ellee Waterman, sophomores Delaney Keiser, Alex Pavolka, Kristen Stauder, Olivia Taylor and freshmen Presley Lamb, Skylar Stewart and Karlie Wanger.
Coach Heigert is assisted by Steph Luttrell and Amy Stolte is Coach Mehochko's assistant.
August 23 at Nokomis
Litchfield 25 25
Nokomis 14 22
Service Points: Litchfield - Carlee Ernst 7, Emily Senjan 7, Becky Painter 7, Devan Morgan 6, Jordan Morgan 5, Mallory Beechler 5; Nokomis - Mia Fesser 5, Madelyn Sowarsh 5. Kills: Litchfield - Jordan Morgan 4, Becky Painter 2, Emily Senjan 1; Nokomis - Madelyn Sowarsh 4, Jade Jett 3, Macee Eisenbarth 3. Assists: Litchfield - Mallory Beechler 5, Devan Morgan 3; Nokomis - Mia Fesser 9. Blocks: Litchfield - Becky Painter 2, Lizzy Luttrell 1. Digs: Litchfield - Jordan Morgan 7, Becky Painter 5, Kate Komor 5, Emily Senjan 2, Jordan Minkevich 1, Carlee Ernst 1, Sydney Robinson 1, Mcall Wertin 1.
Records: Litchfield (1-0), Nokomis (0-1).