By Mike Monahan
Mahomet-Seymour was an average of 4 inches taller than Mattoon in Tuesday’s Apollo Conference volleyball match.
The Bulldogs also had too much firepower and prevented the Green Wave from getting on a roll offensively.
Mahomet won its fourth straight match 25-19, 25-17 to improve to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Their only loss was to Morton 25-18-25-23. It was the first conference loss for the Green Wave, 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the Apollo.
“We knew how big they are,” said Mattoon coach Kayla Quick. “In practice, we worked on stuffs and blocks and how to see the holes and adjust to our opponent, but we didn’t quite do what we had practiced.”
Saturday in Mattoon’s own tournament, the Green Wave had extended their winning streak to six with victories over Sullivan (25-10, 25-10), Pana (25-20, 21-25, 15-7), St. Elmo/Brownstown (25-14, 25-15) and Warrensburg-Latham (25-16, 25-23) before falling to Taylorville, 25-24, 25-17.
Averie Smith was named the Most Valuable player and Bella Smith made the all-tournament team.
The two tied for a team-high in kills with 24 in the tourney while Averie Smith also had seven aces, four blocks, and eight digs. Bella Smith, meanwhile, led MHS in assists with 35, aces with nine and also had 20 digs.
In the second set, Mahomet led 11-8 after a point by Bella Smith. One of only three service errors occurred next before Avery Allen gave the Bulldogs control of the game with five straight points, including back-to-back aces for a 17-8 advantage.
In the second set Mahomet led 11-8 after a point by Mattoon’s Bella Smith. One of only three service errors occurred next and Avery Allen gave the Lady Bulldogs control of the game with five straight points, including back-to-back aces for a 17-8 advantage.
The Green Wave didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.
“The talent level had nothing to do with it as this is the most athletic, flexible group I have had and they have a great chemistry,” said Quick. “It was our mental game that got in our way tonight. “
Mahomet had five service errors in the second set, but Mattoon was unable to take advantage.
“We can’t wait for the other team to make mistakes,” Quick said. “We have to make our own points.”
The first set featured seven ties and Mattoon’s only lead, 3-2, came on a service point by Bella Smith. Mahomet took the lead for good after a tip by 6-foot-4 freshman Talia Francom, which gave Madalyn Gaede the serve. Gaede served three straight points, including a kill by Francom for a 6-3 advantage.
Mahomet led 13-9 after three points by Alayna Evans, including an ace and two kills by Avery Allen.
The Green Wave outscored Mahomet 5-1 as Chloe Jobe served three points, including an ace and getting a kill from Averie Smith.
That is when Mahomet pulled away with nine straight points, including eight service points by 5-10 Gaede. She had an ace during the run and Allen had two kills and a tip, while 6-footer Sophie Zerrouki had a kill as well.
A kill by 5-11 junior Grace Rodebaugh ended the set.
Mattoon never had a run of four more than four points. Sadie Bialeschki led Mattoon in aces with seven, while Faith Niebrugge led in assists with seven and in digs with nine. The most kills the Green Wave had individually was three.
Outside hitter Jessica Evans was injured in the match and didn’t play as much as she usually does.
“Evans has had problems with her left ankle for the last several weeks, and we tape it up and she is able to play,” Quick said. “But, for some reason, it was worse for her tonight.”
The junior varsity won 25-19, 20-25, 15-4.
Mattoon continues Apollo play Thursday by hosting Lincoln.