Panthers defeat Althoff to win second straight Regional title.
It’s never easy to beat an opponent that knows you well. That was just the case for the O’Fallon Panther volleyball team who were defeated last Friday by Belleville West in the Edwardsville IHSA Sectional tournament.
During the 2016 season the Panthers and the Maroons faced off three times. In those three meetings, prior to the Sectional, the Panthers got the better of the Maroons. Often times the matches between the two SWC powerhouses required three games to be decided. On Friday however, the match only required two games. This time the Maroons finally got the better of the Panthers when it mattered most.
But that is not to say the O’Fallon High team did not play well or battle hard. Both games in the set were decided by two points at a score of 27-25.
“It is hard to beat a team time and time again. They begin to get familiar with what we have tendencies to do and they used it. West made fewer errors and they were picking up everything we were putting over the net,” said O’Fallon varsity head coach Katelyn Hagarty.
Earlier in the week the Panthers defeated the Althoff Crusaders for their second Regional Title in a row. Much like in their match against West, both the Panthers and the Crusaders were very familiar with each other.
“We came out and played really well against Althoff,” said Hagarty. “Our passing allowed our offense to make a play every single rally.”
Although their season ended shorter than they had hoped, the Panthers had quite an impressive year. In over two months of play the O’Fallon squad bolstered an impressive overall record of 26-9-3. Not only did they with their Regional Tournament but, they also finished in first place in the Southwestern Conference.
“Being the Southwestern Conference champions is exciting. It’s not just given to us, they really had to go out and earn it. This was a very fun group to be around and I’m very proud of who they are. I know that all of the graduating seniors are going to go on and be something,” said Hagarty.