Success might have been Hillsboro’s undoing on Thursday, Oct. 17, as the Toppers hosted Pana for senior night. After a 26-24 nail-biting loss to the SCC power in game one, Hillsboro took one on the chin in game two with a 25-10 loss to conference champions.
“I thought we played a great first set against Pana,” Coach Emily Zimmerman said. “I also think the girls played so hard in game one that they were exhausted. Pana is a tough team and the girls definitely pushed themselves physically in order to be on the verge of winning set one.”
Part of the fatigue came from a late charge by the Toppers, who rallied from a 22-17 deficit to cut the lead to one. The two teams would trade points over the next few series, with Hillsboro tying the game at 24-24 before the Panthers closed out the game with the final two points.
Game two was all Pana from the get go. Up 2-1, the Panthers went on a nine point run before Hillsboro got back on the board. Every opportunity Hillsboro gave Pana for a point, the Panthers capitalized on, eventually coming away with the 15 point win.
Ally Devore led Hillsboro in points (five), aces (one) and digs (six), while Emily Reynolds also had six digs. Kaci Papin and Kayli Ward had four kills each, with Emma Miller also being active at the net with three blocks. Jordan Jacobs led the team in assists with seven.
Jayda Maguire, Hillsboro’s lone senior, was honored prior to the game and earned the start for the Toppers, getting a dig during her time on the court.
Hillsboro hopes to take the lessons from the end of the season with them into the regional, where they will take on Litchfield on Monday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m.
“We’ve had some close losses to some strong teams this year,” Coach Zimmerman said, mentioning Greenville, Lincolnwood and Vandalia. “I’m hopeful that the confidence we gained in our win against Carlinville, as well as the level of play we showed during set one against Pana, will transcend into the post-season.
October 18 at Hillsboro
Pana 26 25
Hillsboro 24 10
Service Points: Ally Devore 5, Haley Major 4, Emily Reynolds 2, Chloe Beck 2, Jordan Jacobs 1, Kayli Ward 1. Aces: Ally Devore 1, Chloe Beck 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 4, Kayli Ward 4, Chloe Beck 3, Haley Major 2, Emily Reynolds 2, Emma Miller 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 7, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Kaci Papin 1. Digs: Ally Devore 6, Emily Reynolds 6, Jordan Jacobs 4, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Kayli Ward 3, Haley Major 2, Emma Miller 2, Chloe Beck 2, Jayda Maguire 1, Kaci Papin 1. Blocks: Emma Miller 3, Kaci Papin 2, Haley Major 2, Kayli Ward 1.
Records: Hillsboro (17-13, 3-6); Pana (27-8, 9-0).