Washington rebounds at East Peoria

Bryan Veginski
Hitting past a block: Lexie Barra, a Washington junior, slams a ball Oct. 20 against Morton. The Lady Panther volleyball team lost in two sets to the Potters at Torry Gymnasium on Senior Night. Washington is a No. 3 seed in this week’s Class 3A regional.

Morton never fully relinquished control in a Mid-Illini Conference volleyball match Oct. 20 at Washington.

The Potters locked up a top-three league finish with a 25-17, 25-18 win at Torry Gymnasium on the Lady Panthers’ Senior Night.

It was the second win of the season for Morton over Washington, which lost its fourth straight outing.

A sluggish start in set one by Morton gave the Lady Panthers a 4-0 cushion.

But the Potters answered with an 8-1 run to take a lead they would not surrender.

Washington was down 24-13 before scoring four consecutive points to make Morton work.

Sarah Misselhorn rapped a kill, then Lexie Barra rose for a block. After a Potter attacking error, Lindsey Boyer found the corner for the Lady Panthers.

A Washington passing error ended the set.

Barra tied set two, 4-4, with a kill and the Lady Panthers later remained close on an Emily Heuermann slam and Abby Clanin tip.

A Haley Houser dink and Morton receiving error drew Washington within 14-12.

Blocks by Barra and Clanin made it 17-15 as the cheers of the Lady Panther faithful grew louder.

“We would have liked to start out how it ended,” Boyer said. “We kept fighting back.”

Potter role player Peyton McAtee gave the visitors a lift with consecutive kills to create a 20-15 margin.

Heuermann landed a kill and a Morton error reduced the Washington deficit to 21-18.

But the Potters scored the last four points to close out the match.

Boyer’s 11 assists and four aces were team-high totals.

Kaitlyn Wright had eight digs, Houser five kills and Barra four blocks.

Before the varsity contest, seniors Boyer, Samantha Smith, Moriah Peterson and Wright were recognized.

Lindsey Watson had nine kills and Kathleen Stark nine digs for the Washington sophomores in a 21-25, 25-19, 15-10 win. The freshmen also defeated Morton, 25-19, 21-25, 19-17.

WCHS 25-25, East Peoria 22-16

The Lady Panthers returned to winning form Thursday on the Raiders’ Senior Night.

Washington (19-14, 8-6) finished fourth in the Mid-Illini, its best standing since a tie for third in 2006.

In the opening set at Allison Gymnasium, neither team scored more than two points on its serve until three Lady Panther points in a row made it 22-17.

Washington came at East Peoria with a variety of attackers. Houser, Barra, Clanin, Heuermann and Misselhorn all recorded kills.

A Clanin dink and Raider error created  a slim set-one win.

In the second set, a tip and kill by Clanin started and ended a 4-0 run that made it 10-8 in favor of the Lady Panthers.

Barra and Heuermann were hot at the net as they gave Washington some separation with an 18-11 surplus.

East Peoria pulled within 19-16 before a 6-0 Lady Panther spree completed a regular-season sweep.

Clanin had two kills, including on match point, and Taylor Kuykendall and  Heuermann one apiece.

Barra paced Washington with eight kills and two blocks.

Boyer’s 19 assists were a team-best figure, and Peterson added seven digs.

“I’m glad we’ve got a few days of practice to work out some inconsistencies,” said Heinz.

The Lady Panther sophomores posted a 25-15, 25-16 win, while the freshmen also won in two sets, 25-15, 25-18.

Postseason: No. 3 seed Washington looks to knock out second-seeded Normal U-High in a Class 3A regional semifinal the Lady Panthers host at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The  winner advances to the regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday, likely against No. 1 seed Metamora.

The champions of the Washington and Galesburg regionals square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals of the Dunlap Sectional.

Sophomores

The Washington sophomore volleyball team finished its season with a record of 22-4 after a third-place finish Saturday in the Metamora Tournament.

In Mid-Illini action, the Lady Panthers’ 12-2 mark was good for a first-place tie with Metamora.

“One goal our team set in August was to be a champion and this group worked hard enough to accomplish that goal,” WCHS sophomore coach Clint Reed said.

At the sophomore tournament at Metamora, the Lady Panthers defeated East Peoria in the third-place match, 25-21, 25-17.

Natalie Hamilton and Watson each had six kills and Ashley Scalf three aces.

In pool play, the sophomores began their day with a 25-12, 25-22 win over Dunlap as Julia Williams collected 10 kills.

In the second round of pool play, Washington downed Limestone, 25-18, 25-16. The Rockets entered the tournament with just three losses on the season.

“We knew the Rockets would test us since they had given our team two of our three losses, but we also defeated them just two weeks ago,” Reed said. “Our team understood how hard they needed to play to be successful.”

In the third pool-play match, Morton defeated the Lady Panthers, 25-21, 25-20, to keep Washington from an anticipated rematch with Metamora for the title.