Lady Panthers peaking in time for post-season play

BY COLTEN STEELE
WEEKLY REPORTER
Austin Wilkerson takes the ball into enemy territory during Friday night's game against SLU High. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Jeff Egbert)

Austin Wilkerson takes the ball into enemy territory during Friday night’s game against SLU High. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Jeff Egbert)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Lady Panthers had a very busy work schedule this week and could not have played any better.

“This has been a great week for our team, and I could not be more proud with how hard the girls worked,” Coach Melissa Massey said.

The ladies started off the week traveling to Alton and dominating in both matches, winning 25-14 in each set. The ladies would then turn around and host Althoff on Thursday and beat them as well to extend their record to 23-5.

Over the weekend the Panthers competed in the O’Fallon Township High School Autumn Classic tournament. The ladies won their first two pool play games defeating Pickneyville 25-16 and 25-7. The ladies would also get their second win of the day, beating Salem 25-11 and 25-6.

On Saturday, the ladies beat Breese Central 25-13 and 25-12, and would then continue on to bracket play.

O’Fallon finished the day on Saturday winning the Gold Division after beating Champaign Central in a third match 15-9. They would then advance to the Championship and face Chicago Marist. The ladies swept the championship match winning 25-23 and 27-25.

Coach Massey said, “We are definitely peaking at the right time. Beating a team that is ranked fifth in the state is pretty incredible. We need to take that momentum and ride into the postseason.”

Mackenzie Koester was the tournament Most Valuable Player, and Elise Smith was on All-Tournament team. Coach Massey said, “Both girls played a huge part in our success this weekend.”

Coach also mentioned many times that as a team the girls are playing great, “All of our players played so well, and it was our team that got us there. They are getting into really good rhythm, and we are very excited for the playoffs.”

The ladies record currently sits at 28-5, and they are ranked 15th in the state. The Panthers will travel to conference opponent East St. Louis on Tuesday beginning at 5:30.