Warriors come back to win regional opener
Somewhere up above Ernie Banks is proud. Volleyball players at regionals were in the mood for “Let’s Play Three,” although the coaches involved may not have preferred the situation.
The girls regionals for eighth grade volleyball opened Saturday in Pana, with both games going the maximum three games.
Both Carlinville and North Mac had to come from behind to keep their seasons going, picking up wins over Litchfield and Gillespie.
Carlinville fought back to win an 18-25, 25-18, 25-20 decision from Litchfield.
The Warriors (12-10) advance to Tuesday’s regional semifinal against Auburn at 7 p.m., while North Mac meets top-seeded Pana at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.
Carlinville led 7-1 at the start of the first game, as Gracie Reels had three points, two aces and a kill to start, with Eryn Seal adding two points, including an ace and Madeline Bouillon had an early kill.
But Litchfield had other ideas than letting the Warriors expand the lead.
The Panther Cubs came right back with four points from Paige Foss and trim game one’s deficit to 7-6.
Carlinville still held a 12-10 lead, but the Panther Cubs took the lead at 14-13 and never looked back.
Aly Fenton had four straight points to extend the lead to 18-13.
Carlinville would not get much closer the rest of the way, with a net violation giving Litchfield a 25-18 game one win.
The Warriors opened a 4-1 lead in game two and kept the lead for the entire rest of the game.
A pair of points from Paris Cousett off kills from Maycee Gall made it a 12-5 game. Litchfield got within 15-13 before a kill for a sideout by Reels, followed by four Reels points (two aces) opened a 20-13 lead.
Carlinville got a 25-18 win on a kill from Gall on game-point.
The third game did not start well for Carlinville. Litchfield shot out to a 5-1 lead behind four points from Fenton.
Litchfield maintained the lead for a good portion of the decisive game, taking a four-point lead and three three-point leads at various times.
Litchfield held leads of 11-8, 13-10, 18-14 and 19-16.
Then a kill for a sideout by Gall changed the course of the match.
Gall went back to serve and got the next six points, including an ace and a kill from Cousett. Carlinville jumped into a 22-19 lead.
Strong serving late by the Warriors enabled them to come away with a 25-20 win in the third and decisive game.
For the Warriors, Reels had eight points, five aces and three kills; Seal seven points, two aces, three kills; Bouillon nine points, two aces, eight kills; Whitney Stahl two kills; Lexy West three points, ace, three kills; Gall seven points, ace, six kills and Cousett five points, ace, kill.
Litchfield got nine points and two kills from Fenton, and four kills from Foss. Maddi Fowler added seven points and three aces. Lexi Staggs had four points, two aces and Brianna Jeffers six points, two aces, one kill.
In the tournament opener, North Mac lost the first game 21-25, but stormed back for wins of 25-14, and 25-8 to advance further along.
The CMS Warriors seventh grade team competed at the Auburn Regional at Divernon last week.
The team defeated Gillespie on Feb. 28 25-10, 25-13, advancing to Wednesday’s semifinal against top-seeded Pana.
Carlinville and Pana played quite a battle, with the Warriors coming up just short, losing 19-25, 25-17, 25-27 in a classic three-game match.
The Warriors finished 11-11 on the season for seventh grade.