In addition to the regular vitriol of a rivalry game and a conference match-up, the Hillsboro and Litchfield volleyball teams had some extra incentive to win going into Wednesday night's match-up in Litchfield.
It was senior night for the Panthers, who were coming off a solid performance in the Jerseyville Tournament, where they went 2-2 and finished fifth overall. Litchfield was also looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Hiltoppers, who defeated them 25-8, 25-19 in Hillsboro on Aug. 30.
The Toppers were looking to gain some confidence going into the final game of the regular season, where they would play Pana. A win would also give Hillsboro a three game winning streak, tying their longest of the season, and Head Coach Emily Zimmerman her 100th victory of her career.
If that weren't enough, the game also acted as a preview of next week's regional opener on Monday, Oct. 22, in which the two rivals will square off at the Hillsboro Regional.
It looked as if Hillsboro would get their wish in the early going as they dominated the opening set, but Litchfield battled back and earned a second set victory. The Toppers would regroup though, earning their 17th win of the season and Coach Zimmerman's milestone victory.
"To achieve 100 career wins is truly a great accomplishment. Over the past several years we have continued to show improvement, and I am so proud of how far this program has come," Zimmerman said. "While tallying victories is certainly one measure of a coach's accomplishments, there is much more involved in determining overall success. The most rewarding aspect of the job is the opportunity to watch these athletes as they evolve into caring teammates and young adults, and I feel truly honored to even have a small part in their lives."
hings would be close in the early going, but Hillsboro would go on an eight-point run with Emily Reynolds on the service line to blow the game wide open. The Toppers would get a pair of kills from Emma Miller and another from Haley Major in the streak, which gave Hillsboro a 11-3 lead.
After trading points, Hillsboro extended their lead, in part due to the serving of Jordan Jacobs. Jacobs rolled up eight straight service points, half of which came off of aces as the Topper advantage grew to 21-5.
Litchfield would get the serve back and had a late surge with Becky Painter knocking down a few jump serve aces and a block, but Hillsboro would close out the 25-11 win.
The Panthers would bounce back though, clawing their way out of an 11-7 deficit in the second set to take a 13-11 lead. Jordan Morgan would help spark the LHS girls with five straight service points, on her way to a team-best nine points in the match.
Hillsboro would keep it close, tying the game at 14 and 15 and taking a late 22-21 lead, but Litchfield would get a pair of kills from Emily Senjan late and picked up a 25-22 win in the second set.
Any hopes of the Panthers delaying Hillsboro's celebration took a blow in the early minutes of the deciding set as Kayli Ward served up five points and an ace to give the Toppers a 5-0 lead.
Litchfield would get the lead down to two, but weren't able to string together points during the match. Of the ten service rotations, the Panthers picked up a point just twice, with Carlee Ernst serving up two points and Devan Morgan tacking on one.
Hillsboro benefitted from a scoring run that gave them a 12-4 advantage and chipped away at the Panthers after that. A late error by Litchfield gave them a 24-12 lead and a ball hit into the net ended the game a point later, 25-13.
The Lady Toppers would have a big game at the service line, with Emily Reynolds posting 18 points and Jordan Jacobs adding ten. Reynolds would have three aces in the match, while Jacobs led the team with four.
On the attack, Kaci Papin put down 13 kills, while Kayli Ward added seven. Jacobs led the way with 14 assists, with Reagan DeVaisher adding seven.
Defensively, Haly Major had eight digs to lead the team, followed by Ally Devore with seven and Emily Reynolds with six. Ward and Major also had a block apiece in the win.
Litchfield would be led by Jordan Morgan and Becky Painter at the service line, with Painter notching four aces, half of her point total. Carlee Ernst and Devan Morgan also contributed seven and six points respectively.
Emily Senjan led the team in kills with four, while Jordan Morgan had three. Devan Morgan had nine assists in the attack.
Defensively, Kate Komor led the way with eight digs, followed by Ernst with seven and Lizzy Luttrell with six. Becky Painter had a pair of blocks, while Mcall Wertin and Luttrell had a block apiece.
As mentioned earlier, the two rivals will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at Hillsboro High School in the opening match of the Hillsboro Regional. The winner of that game moves on to play Greenville, the number two seed in the sub-sectional, on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The regional championship game is set for Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.
October 17 at Litchfield
Hillsboro 25 22 25
Litchfield 11 25 13
Service Points: Emily Reynolds 18, Jordan Jacobs 10, Kayli Ward 8, Ally Devore 4, Chloe Beck 4, Haley Major 2. Aces: Jordan Jacobs 4, Emily Reynolds 3, Kayli Ward 2, Chloe Beck 2. Kills: Kaci Papin 13, Kayli Ward 7, Haley Major 4, Chloe Beck 4, Emma Miller 2, Emily Reynolds 2. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 10, Reagan DeVaisher 7, Emma Miller 2, Haley Major 1, Kaci Papin 1, Chloe Beck 1. Digs: Haley Major 8, Ally Devore 7, Emily Reynolds 6, Jordan Jacobs 4, Paige Roemelin 4, Kayli Ward 4, Jayda Maguire 2, Reagan DeVaisher 2. Blocks: Kayli Ward 1, Haley Major 1.
Service Points: Jordan Morgan 9, Becky Painter 8, Carlee Ernst 7, Devan Morgan 6, Lizzy Luttrell 4, Grace Thrasher 1, Mcall Wertin 1, Mallory Beechler 1, Emily Senjan 1. Aces: Becky Painter 4, Jordan Morgan 1. Kills: Emily Senjan 4, Jordan Morgan 3, Mallory Beechler 1, Carlee Ernst 1. Assists: Devan Morgan 9. Digs: Kate Komor 8, Carlee Ernst 7, Lizzy Luttrell 6, Jordan Morgan 5, Mallory Beechler 3, Devan Morgan 3, Grace Thrasher 3, Sydney Robinson 2, Emily Senjan 2, Mcall Wertin 1, Jordan Minkevich 1, Becky Painter 1. Blocks: Becky Painter 2, Mcall Wertin 1, Lizzy Luttrell 1.
Records: Hillsboro (17-12, 3-5), Litchfield (8-19, 1-8).