Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Mattoon opened its home schedule with a three-set win over Charleston (0-2) on Thursday evening, defeating the Trojans 25-8, 15-25, 25-9.
Mattoon (1-2) swept Charleston last season, beating the Trojans in two sets on Sept. 2 and in three sets on Sept. 29.
“We really wanted to win because it was Charleston; it’s our home court,” Mattoon senior Jess Evans said. “It’s our first (home) game, and it’s our senior year. I feel like we really wanted it. It showed in how we played.”
The Green Wave stormed out to a 7-0 lead in the first set, prompting a timeout by first-year Charleston varsity coach Nicole Beals. The stoppage didn’t negate Mattoon’s momentum as the Green Wave finished out the set on a 18-8 run.
The second set was a battle with the two teams played evenly until Charleston went on five-point run for a 13-10 lead, which prompted Mattoon coach Kayla Quick to call a timeout of her own.
Stoppage time was called when Mattoon’s Ashley Jobe was injured on a play at the net that resulted in the Trojans taking a 16-10 advantage.
Charleston went on another five-point run before Mattoon put up two points of its own. But the rally fell short.
“The girls did a great job picking each other up,” said Beals. “They played with a lot of heart and didn’t quit. They played to the last ball. I’m really proud of them.”
Evans said the Green Wave got too comfortable in the second set leading to Charleston taking advantage.
“I feel like we got relaxed and used to our environment – which is something you don’t want to do in volleyball,” she said. “You want to keep the intensity up and I don’t think we did that. We got too comfortable because we did so good in the first set. We started to come back at the end, but it was too late.”
Mattoon opened the third set on a 13-4 run, capped by a hammer of a kill by sophomore middle hitter Ashlynne Kuhn.
Charleston put up a 5-1 rally of its own, but Mattoon responded by closing the third set with a 5-1 run.
“I think we did everything right,” Evans said. “I think we were more motivated than in the first set. To see them defeat us in the second set gave us even more motivation to pull through.”
Charleston hosts Mattoon on September 27th.
“These girls are competitors,” Beals said. “They played to win. They practice hard. They play hard. They’re excited to get revenge when Mattoon comes to our place.”
Sophia Rhine: 1 ace, 16 assists, 1 block assist, and 4 digs
Malea Niemerg: 5 kills, 1 dig
Jada Cobb: 1 assist, 5 digs
Jess Evans: 1 ace, 4 kills, 11 digs
Lily Ghere: 1 ace, 4 kills, 1 block assist, 3 digs
Nevaeh Laster: 1 ace, 7 kills, 3 block assists, 4 digs
Gabi Ray: 9 digs
Sarah Rankin: 2 aces, 4 kills, 2 solo blocks, 2 block assists, 1 dig
Ashley Jobe: 1 ace, 3 assists, 1 dig
Ashlynne Kuhn: 1 ace, 4 kills, 2 block assists
Ryan Smith: 1 kill, 8 assists, 1 solo block
Aces: Makenzie Pamperin 2, Macy Hetzel 1
Kills: Macy Hetzel 3, Audrey Jacobs 1, Addison Shrader 9
Digs: Makenzie Pamperin 15, Macy Hetzel 7, Emma Beurskens 3, Blair Ritchey 2, Olivia Schuette 6, Addison Shrader 3, Tommie Carver 7