|10/25/2018 9:23:00 AM|
Panthers at Belmont in sectional semi tonight
Taking Benton three sets to one and winning a WIAA Division 4 Regional volleyball title was described in one word by Iowa-Grant coach Marla Simon.
"This was another awesome win for our kids, the school and our volleyball program," Simon said as the Panthers move on to sectional play and are two wins from the state tournament. "We played really well, showed lots of confidence, and just made great plays."
The Panthers got the first set 25-21 then lost the second to the Zephyrs by the same 25-21 score. They followed the split by spiking their way past Benton 25-20 and 25-15.
Annie Spurley and Olivia Liddicoat staked claim on the nets with 15 kills each. Hazel Klosterman got into the groove with six and Kendall Peterson added five.
Liddicoat also rejected the Zephyrs' offerings with six blocks. Spurley and Peterson both had two.
Hazel Klosterman was the serve leader with four aces.
"I felt our offense and serving were the keys to our win over Benton," Simon said. "The girls served very tough and Benton wasn't able to get into the flow for their offense.
Maci Stevens put up 24 assists and Hazel Klosterman added 21 which was another bright spot for the Panthers.
"Our setters did a great job moving the ball around, to work around their bigger blockers," Simon added. "Olivia and Annie had really big games hitting and it was another good game the girls played."
Hero Klosterman had nine digs and Liddicoat seven which helped keep the ball in play.
Simon added another word to the mix when she described watching the Panthers earn the Regional title and move to Sectional play.
"Special and awesome!"
"I don't think many outside of our program thought us being a six seed we would manage to beat Seneca and Benton to win the title, but we play in a tough conference and I think our tournament schedule throughout the season sets us up well to see lots of different teams and styles. I feel our tough schedule has helped us! And, our last title, was just two years ago, in 2016."
Tonight the Panthers travel to Belmont where they will face the Six Rivers West champion River Ridge Timberwolves.
"River Ridge is obviously a tough team and being undefeated means something," said Simon. "They have been a strong program for quite a few years, so I'm sure they want to move on as much as we do. But, it's another team we don't know or do they know much about us, so we will see who comes to play and does the job on the floor tonight."
Thursday the Panthers handled Seneca 25-11, 25-8, 25-14.
A win tonight would send the Panthers to Royall Saturday.
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