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 Lady Panthers Finish Season With Losses to Tri, Hagerstown

Oct. 17, 2007 - Knightstown’s varsity volleyball team lost two hard-fought contests against Hagerstown and Tri High last week. Those were the final tune-ups for the IHSAA Sectional at Shenandoah, which began Tuesday night.

The Lady Panthers will not play in the Sectional until Thursday, when they line up against the host Lady Raiders, the overwhelming favorite to win the crown with 25 victories this season.

Last week, Hagerstown defeated Knightstown to spoil senior night for three Lady Panthers. Knightstown won the first two games, 25-14 and 25-22, but faltered down the stretch and fell in the final three games 15-25, 19-25 and12-15.

The Lady Panthers started out strong and controlled the first game of the match in almost every area.

“We were pretty excited because the girls were working very well together and everything was clicking,” Coach Carrie Underwood said. “They hit more aggressively and effectively than we have in quite some time, and the defense put the ball to target, allowing our setters to feed all the hitters. In game two, we backed off a little and allowed Hagerstown some breathing room, and they reduced their errors.

“Then they took game three, and we really became tentative and went away from what had been working,” Underwood said. “The hitters were not finding the holes, and we quit communicating. We also had more service errors in the last couple of games that we did not have in games one and two, and it seemed to come at bad times and break any momentum we had going.

“Overall, it was an exciting match, and we saw several good things come out of it. We have to develop a killer instinct, though, to put teams away when we have them down like that.”

Crystal Heim had an excellent offensive evening and led the team with 12 kills and six digs. Haley Cruse led the defense with 12 digs against Hagerstown. Hannah Jackson finished with seven digs, 12 assists, six kills, and four aces. Jodie Grant added seven digs. Brandi Lightner had a strong match and contributed 17 assists, six kills, and five digs.

“We thought Brandi worked extremely hard in this match, both offensively and defensively, to do whatever it took to get the job done,” Underwood said. “She had some powerful swings, and she read the other team’s hitters very well and reacted quicker in this match. Crystal was hitting very well in this match and was really trying to move the ball around on their defense.”

The three seniors honored before the match were Megan Grant, Janice Ortman, and manager Samantha Taylor.

Last Thursday, the Tri High Titans defeated the Lady Panthers in three, 14-25, 15-25, 18-25.

“We really struggled from the first serve in this match,” Underwood said. “I am not sure what happened between last Saturday when we went five and played them pretty close, but things fell apart quickly in this one.

“We could not get our passes to target most of the, but when we did, our hitters could not put away the ball. Tri looked really good. Their team was fired up and determined to win this match. They were focused and played more aggressively than they were on Saturday. We could not get anything started.”

Haley Cruse and Crystal Heim each finished with four digs, and Heim added three kills. Hannah Jackson contributed six kills and six assists. Brandi Lightner had eight assists and five kills.

The Lady Panthers play Shenandoah in the second match of the evening on Thursday at Shenandoah in sectional play.


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