Monday night was senior night for the Hillsboro High School volleyball team and the Toppers gave the seven soon-to-be graduates a big reason to celebrate as they scored a two-game win over Carlinville.
Hillsboro broke Carlinville’s serve right off the bat, getting a block to make it 1-0 to start game one. Reagan DeVaisher, one of the seven seniors, helped her team get off to a hot start with three straight service points as Hillsboro upped their lead to 4-0.
The Cavies would get the ball back, but had trouble stringing together points throughout the match, notching just four service points in the match.
Hillsboro, on the other hand, would mix things up with an aggressive attack at the net and a solid serving game. The Toppers led 14-3, 16-5 and 20-9 before the Cavies got point number ten on a ball that found the gap.
Senior Haley Major killed any chance of a rally by the visitors with a tip kill, followed by a kill from Kaci Papin and three Carlinville errors that ended the game 25-10 in Hillsboro’s favor.
Everything that went wrong for the Cavaliers turned around in game two of the match as they managed to put together an 11-5 lead in the early going before a block by senior Emma Miller sparked a rally to get Hillsboro back within two.
Carlinville would build up a 13-9 lead in their next turn, but Hillsboro got the side out and Jordan Jacobs scored an ace moments later to tie the game at 13-13, the closest it had been since the score was 1-1.
Hillsboro would take the lead in their next trip to the service line after a hit out of bounds and an error by the Cavies made it 16-14, but Carlinville refused to go away.
The score would volley back and forth, from 19-16 (Carlinville) to 19-19 to 20-20 to 22-21 (Hillsboro). The Cavies would take their last lead of the match at 23-22, only to have the Toppers score twice and bring up match point at 24-23.
Carlinville proved to have more lives than most felines though, surviving match point when a Hillsboro hit sailed out of bounds to make it 24-23. The Cavies weren’t able to string together any points in the game’s final moments, but survived two more match points thanks to a block and a four-hit call.
Finally, with the score 27-26, Major ended the game with a well placed tip down the sideline to give Hillsboro the win.
“After a strong first set, we struggled to get going in set two.” Coach Emily Zimmerman said. “Despite playing from behind most of the game, the girls never gave up and continued to battle for the lead. The constant lead changes in a game like that can be physically and mentally exhausting, but the girls showed resilience and played smart on the floor. I’m proud of them for working so hard together and finishing the game strong.”
The victory improved Hillsboro’s record to 5-3 on the season and 5-2 in the South Central Conference.
Tuesday’s game would also be a thriller and would go the way of the home team again. Unfortunately, Hillsboro was the visitor this round as Morrisonville collected a two-game victory over the Toppers.
While game two was the barn burner against Carlinville, game one held that distinction in Hillsboro’s trip to Christian County. The Mohawks would hold on for a 30-28 win in the opening test, giving them momentum for the rest of the match.
Hillsboro was down most of the match, but rallied to cut the lead from 18-11 to 18-15. The rally continued as the Toppers tied things up at 19-19, starting a string of back-and-forth points between the two clubs.
Morrisonville would get a break at 26-26 when Reagan DeVaisher’s outside attack was called out of bounds, giving the Mohawks momentum and the win after a little more back-and-forth.
Morrisonville would carry the momentum into the second game, leading by as many as 11, 23-12, before DeVaisher served up five straight points to make it a six-point game. The deficit would be too much to overcome though and Morrisonville would earn the 25-17 win.
“Morrisonville was fundamentally sound and worked hard to keep the ball up. They attacked the holes in our defense, and blocked our hitters well,” Coach Zimmerman said. “They also served aggressively (despite serve receive being one of our strengths) and took us out of system more often than I’d like to admit.”
The Mohawks got 20 kills from the sophomore combo of Hailee Belsher (12) and Alaina Deal (8), with another sophomore, Tessa Funderburk, dishing out 12 assists.
The Toppers countered Ally Devore, Layne Rupert and Haley Major on defense, with Devore producing 15 digs and Rupert and Major on the cusp of double digits with nine digs each.
Hillsboro can take solace in the fact that they won’t have to face Morrisonville next year, but it’s a Catch-22 situation as the Mohawks are going to join forces with Lincolnwood for all high school sports.
While that rivalry looms in the future, another one awaits on Thursday, April 8, as Hillsboro travels to Litchfield for a South Central Conference tilt. After that, they will be back home on Saturday, April 10, to host the Tigers of Beardstown.
April 5 at Hillsboro
Carlinville 10 26
Hillsboro 25 28
Service Points: Kaci Papin 8, Reagan DeVaisher 7, Ally Devore 6, Jordan Jacobs 4, Haley Major 3, Layne Rupert 2. Aces: Kaci Papin 3, Jordan Jacobs 2 Haley Major 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 7, Haley Major 6, Layne Rupert 5, Alayna McCario 1. Assists: Reagan DeVaisher 10, Jordan Jacobs 8. Digs: Ally Devore 26, Haley Major 10, Layne Rupert 10, Jordan Jacobs 8, Reagan DeVaisher 8. Blocks: Emma Miller 3, Kaci Papin 2, Jordan Jacobs 1, Layne Rupert 1.
Record: Hillsboro (5-3, 5-2).
April 6 at Morrisonville
Hillsboro 28 17
Morrisonville 30 25
Service Points: Layne Rupert 7, Reagan DeVaisher 5, Kaci Papin 3, Jordan Jacobs 3, Ally Devore 1. Aces: Layne Rupert 3, Kaci Papin 1, Reagan DeVaisher 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 9, Layne Rupert 5, Haley Major 4, Reagan DeVaisher 2. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 12, Reagan DeVaisher 4. Digs: Ally Devore 15, Layne Rupert 9, Haley Major 9, Jordan Jacobs 7, Reagan DeVaisher 6, Kaci Papin 5, Alayna McCario 4, Emma Miller 2.
Record: Hillsboro (5-4).