TRENTON — All good things must come to an end.
Pinckneyville’s illustrious run ended to Breese Mater Dei 25-18, 25-10 on Wednesday night in the Class 2A Trenton Wesclin Sectional.
After notching their 30th win of the year on Monday, the fatigue finally set in after the Panthers thrilling three-set victory against Breese Central.
Breese Mater Dei was the more aggressive team and the Knights showed that by playing above the net. There’s no telling if the Panthers were still tired from Monday’s game, but it certainly wasn’t the same team fans were accustomed to seeing.
“Before this experience not a lot of people knew that Pinckneyville had a volleyball team, said Panthers coach Cathy Kohnen. “We’re pretty proud to come up here and have the ability to compete at this level.”
Kohnen went on to add that she thinks her team is just scratching the surface. The Panthers will miss senior’s Elaine Shaneyfelt and Macy Epplin next season, but try and pick up from where they left off with 13 returning players.
“We have three freshman and some sophomores in our starting lineup so this is all new for them,” said Kohnen. “We’re going to try real hard next year to do the same thing."
Breese Mater Dei came into the match wanting to slow down Panthers' junior Bella Pasquino. The outside-hitter was coming off a strong outing against Breese Central and that hadn’t gone unnoticed by Knights coach Chad Rakers.
“We wanted to stop Pasquino as much as possible and not let her control the game as much as she did against Central,” said Rakers. “Not only with her attack but with her blocks, so we were prepared to handle that and get them out of system early on.”
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The Knights advance to take on Fairfield in the Vandalia Super-Sectional on Friday.
“I understand that the scores looked the way that they looked but they certainly don’t say everything,” said Rakers. “We still have things to clean up and I just know that we can play a stronger full match than we did tonight.”
Pinckneyville got off to an early 8-6 lead in the first set to force Breese Mater Dei into an early timeout to regroup. The Knights were able to tie the match at 11 apiece and explode for a 7-point run with Rylee Sudholt serving.
Jessie Timmermann set up Riley Kleber for the kill to end the rally that forced Pinckneyville to take two timeouts and attempt to slow down the Knights momentum. The team finished out the set on a 7-6 run that was capped off on a serve out of bounds.
The Panthers wouldn’t go down quietly and battled their way to a 10-6 deficit before the Knights capped off a nearly two-minute long volley that put all momentum on their side.
Breese Mater Dei took that momentum turned it into a 14-4 run to close out the set. Timmermann would once again set up her teammate Macie Beer for the final kill to keep their season alive and leave the Panthers empty handed.
“We just kept talking about not playing afraid and really trying to get into our offense,” said Kohnen. “They have really aggressive servers that like to serve deep and sometimes it’s hard to push that ball up to your setter so you can run the offense.”
Hustle. It was a tricky question at first, but that was the word Kohnen decided she felt fit this team the best. In a season that experienced more ups than downs there was always the emotional leadership from Shaneyfelt and Epplin.
“In the time that Elaine and Macy have been in the program teams have broken records for the last three years,” said Kohnen. “They have really helped the program excel and should be extremely proud of their time here in Pinckneyville.”