By Steve Robinson | November 11, 2007 - 9:19 am
Posted in Category: Deer Creek Mackinaw, Pekin Daily Times

VolleyballNORMAL – Haley Thurmond, Deer Creek-Mackinaw High’s senior outside hitter, most likely, summed up her teammates’ – and probably her community’s — feelings about getting to the State tournament and becoming the State’s fourth best team.

“This is going to be remembered for a long time,” she said. She added that the proof of the Lady Chiefs’ accomplishments is in the trophy and medals they earned.

As a result of being turned back by Albion (Edwards County), 25-19 and 25-17, Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School’s Volleyball team finished fourth at the IHSA State Volleyball tournament at Redbird Arena Saturday.

But an injury to a teammate perhaps readjusted the Lady Chiefs’ focus early in the second game. Having lost game one, and engrossed in a pitched battle tied 2-all in game two, junior outside hitter Ketra Hoffman missed a shot at a dig, hitting the floor.

But as the other girls helped lift Hoffman up off the floor, they each had frightened looks on their faces. That’s because they noticed that Hoffman’s left ring finger was bent 90 degrees in the wrong direction.

She exited the arena in tears and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Deer Creek Mackinaw“She’s a great player, (and without her on the court) we really lose a lot, so I think (Hoffman’s situation) just brought us down,” explained senior setter Kate Poorbaugh.

On the court, the Lady Chiefs tied the first game twice, but Edwards County took command for good once they achieved a 5-4 lead, and after breaking free of a 2-2 tie, the Lions were able to keep control in game two.

Lady Chiefs head coach Jennifer Mallicoat said she saw plenty of positives in her team’s play over how they had done against Mount Pulaski in a two-game loss to the Lady Toppers on Friday.

Despite the end result, Mallicoat said, “We were having fun out there. Defense was better…I think we still struggled with passing a little bit, too.”

IHSAHaving wrapped up her first season coaching by getting to State, Mallicoat summed up her feelings about the season by saying, “It was a fantastic season. I mean, I couldn’t ask for any more, especially as a first-time coach. I mean, this whole experience has been amazing.

“We definitely had so many positives this season…being able to come into State and being able to compete here was just icing on the cake.”

“They have some very good hitters,” said Edwards County head coach Linda Oxby Brown of the Lady Chiefs. “We blocked them (a little) better than Mount Pulaski did (on Friday), and that frustrated them.”

Oxby Brown acknowledged that the drama surrounding losing Hoffman as they did added to the situation.

Mount Pulaski, who defeated the Lady Chiefs on Friday, was crowned the first Class 1A Champ since IHSA reclassified schools, defeating Rockford-based Keith School in two games, 25-22 and 25-22.

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