Volleyball Cavaliers close out regular season with senior
Carlinville finishes 5-4 in South Central Conference play
By Jackson Wilson
The Carlinville Cavaliers’ volleyball team capped off a solid 2018 regular season with a straight-set conference win over the Litchfield Purple Panthers (25-9, 25-14) on Thursday, Oct. 18, at Carlinville High School. Carlinville seniors Lexi Egelhoff, Adriann Welte and Jordyn Houseman were honored before the game.
“They are some of the best leaders I have ever been able to coach. They’re great girls, they work hard, they set the tone every day in practice and they’ve gotten better every year at everything,” said Carlinville head coach Kaitie Hammann. “They are going to be very tough to replace next year. I’m so proud of them and I’m going to miss them a lot.”
The Cavaliers got down to business from the opening whistle. Litchfield put the first point on the board, but a service error ignited a 5-0 service run by Sarah DeNeve. This was the start of a big night for DeNeve. She tallied two aces, 12 service points and 11 assists for the Cavies. Carlinville had an early 5-2 lead upon conclusion of the service streak.
The Cavaliers kept the momentum on their side with a 6-3 run that was highlighted by service aces from Egelhoff and Gracie Reels. Trailing 11-5, Litchfield was forced to call the game’s first timeout.
Carlinville refused to ease up on the gas pedal. The Cavies held the visiting Panthers to just four points for the rest of the set. With a 17-8 lead, Sarah DeNeve put together another dominant service string to make it 23-8. Haley Wills put the exclamation point on the 25-9 victory and gave Carlinville the 1-0 match advantage with a set point kill. The Cavaliers finished the opening set on a 14-4 run.
The Panthers showed signs of life in the second set. Carlinville struck first with another kill, but Carlee Ernst quieted the home crowd with a service run of her own. Litchfield jumped out to a 4-1 lead. The Cavies cut the deficit to 4-3, but a service error from Egelhoff gave the momentum back to the Panthers. Becky Painter took advantage of Egelhoff’s miscue and picked up a service ace to restore the three point lead, 6-3. Painter committed an error on the next serve, but the Litchfield defense was able to get a huge block at the net to make it 7-4.
Despite the adversity, the Cavaliers remained focused and continued to battle. Litchfield was hit with another service error that swung the momentum back in Carlinville’s favor. Welte erupted for a clutch 9-0 service run that included an ace. A 7-4 deficit had transformed into a 13-7 lead for the Cavies within a matter of minutes.
Houseman followed up Welte’s strong streak with a 3-0 service run of her own, including back-to-back aces to make it 16-8.
The Panthers did what they could to stay in the game, but the task of making a major run against a red hot Cavaliers’ defense proved to be too much of a challenge to overcome. Carlinville pulled away in the final stretch and locked up the straight set victory, 25-14.
“It’s hard to keep up the intensity with all of the emotions on senior night, and I am so proud of the way my girls responded both games,” Hammann said.
The Carlinville seniors ended their regular season careers with a very productive team effort. Welte led the charge with 10 service points, six digs and six kills. Egelhoff chipped in five kills with two aces and Houseman added three service points and four digs.
Earlier this week, Carlinville came away with a conference win over Southwestern (25-19, 22-25, 25-12) in Piasa. The Cavaliers finish the 2018 regular season with a record of 18-12 and a tie for fourth place in the South Central Conference.
Carlinville has been assigned the fourth seed in the Carlyle regional and will face six-seeded Trenton (Wesclin) on Tues. Oct. 23