Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out and such is the case for the Litchfield High School varsity volleyball team as their season ended with an early loss to the hosts of IHSA Class 2A Auburn Regional Tournament on Oct. 28.
Although the season losses outmatched the wins, this year's six graduating players, Mallory Beechler, Carson Jackson, Jordan Minkevich, Devan Morgan, Jordan Morgan and Emily Senjan, leave behind a legacy of commitment, determination and grit, all of which led to a signature win over the always tough Lincolnwood Lancers on Sept. 30, a fifth place berth in the Civic Memorial Tournament in October and hard fought three set losses down the stretch to Carlinville and Hillsboro.
During the 2019 season, the varsity Panthers played nine home matches, 11 on the road and one match in postseason play. They recorded three home wins including their season opener against Nokomis on August 29, a straight set decision over Morrisonville posted just days after losing to the Mohawks in the Grace Filled Tourney, and a come-from-behind three set decision over Lincolnwood in the Dig For the Cure match on Sept. 30.
Their road wins included Metro-East Lutheran and Mt. Olive. In tournament play, they were 3-6. In the Grace Filled Tourney in September, they gathered a win over Ramsey, but lost to Morrisonville, Edinburg, Vandalia and Staunton. In the Fall Classic at Bethalto Civic Memorial in October they defeated Carrollton and the junior Eagles, but lost to Triopia and Civic Memorial's varsity squad.
The Panthers pushed ten different opponents to three sets and in so doing they captured wins over Morrisonville, Metro-East Lutheran and Lincolnwood. In the 64 sets played during the regular season, the Panthers lost 19 by five points or less.
The Panther offense put down 299 kills for an average of 4.7 per set. At the service line, they recorded 111 aces and served 829 points while committing 123 service errors in 1,177 attempts. They had 75 successful blocks at the net.
Defensively, they recorded 1,168 digs against 404 dig errors. In ball handling, there were 130 assists (a pass, set or dig to a teammate resulting in an attack for a kill) with the majority generated from the hands of senior Devan Morgan who ended the season with 104.
In individual statistics, Devan Morgan was the top scorer from the service line with 198 points, followed by junior Cara Pence with 122, junior Becky Painter 115, senior Jordan Morgan 113, senior Emily Senjan 109, senior Mallory Beechler 102, senior Carson Jackson 31, senior Jordan Minkevich 17, junior Aly Fenton 13, and junior Kate Komor 9.
Pence led the team with 31 service aces followed by Painter with 22, D. Morgan 19, Senjan 14, Beechler 13, Jackson 6, J. Morgan 4, and Komor and Fenton each with 1.
Becky Painter led the team in kills with 81, followed by Pence with 75, J. Morgan 64, Senjan 37, Beechler 35, D. Morgan, Jackson and Komor, each with 2 and Fenton with 1.
Painter had 35 successful blocks to lead the team, followed by Senjan with 26, Pence 11, Beechler 9, and J. Morgan 4.
Kate Komor was the Panthers' dig leader with 226, followed by D. Morgan with 218, J. Morgan 208, Painter 129, Beechler 95, Senjan 82, Jackson 74, Pence 61, Minkevich 41, and Fenton 34.