Edwardsville ruined a great story.
The Pekin volleyball team faced Edwardsville in the Class 4A Chatham Glenwood Sectional championship match Wednesday on Dragons star Hannah Thompson's 18th birthday, and the Tigers spoiled the celebration with a 25-22, 25-21 victory.
Edwardsville (32-5) will play Friday in the Normal West Supersectional. Pekin (31-8) saw its season come to an end, but what a season it was.
The Dragons made their deepest run in the postseason in Yvonne Thompson's 18 years as coach. Teams that play in sectional championship matches are in the Sweet 16.
Pekin didn't play its best Wednesday.
"We were out of rhythm and scrambling at times," Yvonne Thompson said. "Maybe it was nerves, or seeing something we'd hadn't seen this season. Our girls never gave up, though, and played aggressively."
What Pekin hadn't seen previously was a team like Edwardsville with four dangerous hitters.
"That's more hitters than most teams have," Yvonne Thompson said.
Bradley recruit Hannah Thompson -- Yvonne Thompson's daughter -- had her usual full stat sheet in her Pekin finale.
She had 13 kills, five digs, two blocks and an ace. Molly Flannigan had nine assists, Jenna Taphorn had two blocks, and Maddy Cash and Flannigan each had an ace for the Dragons.
Kate Martin had 11 kills and 15 digs for Edwardsville (32-5). Rachel Verdun dished out 22 assists.
Wednesday's loss hurt, of course, but Yvonne Thompson said the sting of defeat will fade with time, especially for the seven seniors on the roster.
"Overall, it was a great season," she said. "This was a great group of kids who worked hard and were fun to be around. Years from now, they'll remember the friendships and bus rides, not the losses."
On the court, "I asked some of the girls to play different roles this season, to hit from different positions. They took ownership of it," she said.
Hannah Thompson played for Pekin for four years. Her mom said those years "flew by. In fact, the last 18 years have flown by."
Four Pekin volleyball players are on the Pekin girls basketball team, which began pre-season practice this week. The four are Cash, Flannigan, Taphorn and Lauren Juergens.

Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.