By Steve Robinson | October 30, 2008 - 10:33 pm
Posted in Category: Pekin Daily Times, Pekin HS

VolleyballNORMAL – Pekin Community High Volleyball Coach Yvonne Thompson is quick to say her Lady Dragons team has been taking the last couple of seasons “little by little.”

Last year, her squad racked up just six victories. This year, the Lady Dragons were 9-21, but managed to enter the IHSA Class 4A Playoffs as a fourth seed, facing top seed Quincy Senior High School.

But, it turned out the Lady Dragons were no match for the faster, bigger Lady Blue Devils, as Quincy Senior High defeated PCHS, 25-13 and 25-9 to advance to the championship of the Normal Community Regional. Both games took just 37 minutes to play.

QSHS (33-3) will face the winner of a contest between Normal’s two public high schools, Normal Community and Normal West, on Thursday.

“I can’t say this game summed up our whole season because we can play better (than we did tonight), but that’s just how things turned out,” Thompson said.

Pekin Dragons“Playing Pekin twice (during the regular season) and then coming out here, I think we held our focus and did what we had to do,” explained QSHS Volleyball Coach Barb Crist.

“Having played them twice, we knew what had to be done and that it needed to be done,” Thompson said. “We just came up short against a team that was taller and stronger than we were.”

In both contests, PCHS kept within one, 3-2, giving the impression each game would require players with staying power. But the play of QSHS junior middle hitter Maddy Barnes, particular when serving, gave QSHS an advantage in game two, racking up five points while her teammate, senior middle hitter MacKenzie Davis, helped QSHS rack up nine points as a result of her serves in game one.

Server Brogan Epkins had 7 assists for the Dragons on the night. Tori Ehrett led in digs with 6 for PCHS, and middle hitter Michaela Quilty added four kills. The Lady Dragons recorded no aces on blocks.

Hannah Kvitle had 20 assists on the night, leading all players. Davis had 11 digs and three aces. Barnes and sophomore Brittany Houghton each had three blocks. Houghton had six kills on the night, followed by Taylor Holtmeyer, Bethany Foster, and Barnes, who each had five.

Thompson admitted once QSHS started garnering points on serves, she tried using in-game substitutions of PCHS players to slow that defensively, but it did not work.

IHSA“(QSHS) just kept serving that ball on us,” Thompson said. “If we can’t pass, then, all of the sudden the point totals start moving up.”

Crist said she had noticed that the Lady Dragons had improved between their matches against QSHS as the season moved along. QSHS won the prior contests.

“I thought (PCHS) would have been tougher because we had played them early in the season and again at mid-season, and they had improved a whole bunch (between prior matches). And tonight, I was anticipating a lot more from them.”

Thompson said she has just two seniors, but there are six juniors who will come up in the ranks next season, giving their coach hope that what they learned this season will carry over to be considered added experience next year.

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