Lady Panthers edged out of Regionals

The Lady Panthers had a chance to exact revenge on Pella Christian in Regional play, but first they’d have to get through Cardinal in the first round on October 16. They came up just shy in the opening set and avoided a sweep, but eventually were sent home with a loss to end their season.

Pekin fell behind a handful of points midway through the first set but after a timeout, started to put some things together and rally their way back to make it a game. The Lady Panthers got to within two points and then one point before Cardinal ended the rally. A couple more points fell Pekin’s way to tie things at 23-23, but Cardinal would close out the set with a couple consecutive points.

Pekin responded by taking an early lead in the second, but a rally from the Comets put the home team back on top. From that point, Pekin would threaten to retake the lead but never do so, staying within one point until the Comets rattled off a few points to put the game out of reach and take the second set 25-19.

Down to what could very well be their final set of their season, the Lady Panthers got out to another lead with their backs against the wall and kept building off their success. The Comets tied things up at 11-11 but then Pekin put up five straight points to pull away, looking to force a fourth set. The Comets wouldn’t go away easily as they closed the gap down considerably to make for an exciting last few points. Those points would be won by Pekin to take the set 25-22, avoiding the sweep.

Cardinal found some early success in the fourth but some quick points from Haley Gambell put the Lady Panthers up a point. The Comets would respond with another strong rally to put the pressure back on Pekin. Down as much as nine points late in the set, Pekin tried to halt the momentum the Comets were building with every successive point, which worked temporarily. The Lady Panthers went on to win nine of the final 16 points but would come up short in a 25-19 defeat.

For Gambell and Ellie Ledger, it was their final game playing for the Pekin volleyball program, which they finished off strong. They both had 11 kills in the match while Gambell had 19 digs, 10 assists and seven aces on 20 of 23 from the service line. Ledger also had five digs, three blocks, two aces on 10 of 11 serving and one assist.

Allison Bainbridge led the team with 12 kills, Erika Coleman had 16 assists and Kylie Noel chipped in with 13 digs. A majority of the Lady Panthers’ roster returns next season as they look to build off their 14-15 record this year.