By Mike Monahan

After dropping a 25-9 first set to Taylorville in Thursday’s Apollo Conference volleyball match, Mattoon showed improvement in the second set but still fell short, 25-18. 

Mattoon had lost to Taylorville in straight sets on Sept. 4 – 25-24, 25-17.

Earlier this week Mattoon lost to Mount Zion in three sets, 20-25, 25-8, 25-19. 

Taylorville improved to 10-1 and has won nine straight matches with its only loss being to Rochester 30-28, 25-20. The Tornadoes are 4-0 in the conference. 

The second set was close early on. Taylorville led 17-10 after a 9-3 run, including four service points by Hannah Clayton and a kill by Elle Richards. The Green Wave didn’t get closer than six the rest of the way. 

“In the second set, it was obvious just looking at the stats that we showed up and they each did their jobs on an individual level and that produced results,” said Mattoon coach Kayla Quick. “We didn’t come out on top, but they did worlds better because they decided to do their jobs.”

Taylorville used an 8-0 run to lead 12-2 after seven straight service points by Abby Heberling, including a tip by Clayton. 

“I told the girls in the locker room ‘you can’t just be bystanders; you can’t just expect that the ball is going to go somewhere else and then not have to do a job,” said Quick, whose team fell to 7-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference. “Each of them has a job and a duty to perform on the court and if one doesn’t show up to do that job then it impacts the rest of the play in the rest of the team.”

Mattoon will next host Effingham on Sept. 23. 

“Taylorville has some really good outside hitters that like to turn on the line and they can produce really great cross country shots too,” said Quick. “Anticipating their movements and reading what they are doing across the court and putting ourselves in the right spot is not something that we do fantastically today, but they are doing it and getting better. Taylorville has some really good middle hitters and they have some height in those middle hitters (three that are 5-10) who like to turn to the corners too. Reading where their bodies are moving, what they are doing with their arms and putting ourselves in those spots before they hit the ball is something we need to work on.”

The junior varsity lost in three sets 25-11, 20-25, 15-7 and the freshmen lost in three sets as well.