THE VOLLEYBALL TEAM of Pana High School celebrate as they are handed their regional plaque on Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Shelbyville High School gym. The Panthers were 25-19, 25-20 winners over Effingham St. Anthony in the Class 2A Regional Tournament.
Pana, 29-7, moves on to the Sectional competition on Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Toledo to take on the Vandalia Vandals at 7:00 p.m.
(Mary Cothern/Tom Latonis Photos)
SENIOR ALLIE SCHOONOVER, left, rises for a kill during the Pana-St. Anthony volleyball match Thursday night. Schoonover had a tremendous night at the net for the Panthers with 8 kills against the Bulldogs.
The Pana Panthers volleyball team won their second straight IHSA Class 2A Regional title Thursday night, Oct. 25, with a 25-19, 25-20 win over Effingham St. Anthony in the Shelbyville High School gym. Pana, 29-7, will face the Vandalia Vandals for the third time this season in the Class 2A Toledo Sectional at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“I thought we did a really good job; we didn’t let up,” said Pana Head Coach Greg Cothern, after the first-year head coach picked up his first career regional title. “There were some balls which could easily have dropped on our side, but one of our players would dive underneath and pop it up and we’d make something happen out of it. The girls just played really well tonight with a lot of emotion. It was good to see that happen.”
One of those players was senior Allie Schoonover who made 8 kills and had 7 digs.
“Allie Schoonover had a tremendous game all around the court, from the front row to the back row,” Cothern said.
“We were ready to play and we gave it all we got,” Schoonover said. “We got it (regional championship) last year and we wanted to get it this year and go farther than we did last year.”
Two other seniors, Raven Horsthemke and Nadine Vaughn, help set up Schoonover for those kills. Horsthemke set up 12 and Vaughn dished out 11.
“I had some good sets tonight,” Schoonover said. “I think our passing was really good and our sets were good. We had some good hits, too.”
The sectional match-up between Pana and Vandalia is the third of this season. Each have won a match on their own home floors.
“We have to get mentally ready for it,” Schoonover said of the impending match. “We’re probably going to watch film and try to pick up everything we messed up on last time and fix it and find any other errors.”
Her coach echoed those thoughts.
“We’ll have to go back and talk with the coaching staff to see what we have to do,” Cothern said. “I think the big key to the last time we played them was we were flat. In volleyball, that goes a long way. It’s not like other sports where you can run someone in and out real quick and get a game-changer in there. I hope this continues and they are mentally tough as we keep going.”
Nadine Vaughn was also active at the net with 7 kills and 10 blocks. Kristina Pollman also had 10 blocks. Autumn Finley had 4 and Hannah Funneman got 3. She also had 7 blocks and Morgan Franklin had 5 blocks.
Marissa Presnell got 8 service points with Raven Horsthemke collecting 6. Funneman had 4 service points with an ace and Pollman had 3 service points with an ace.
In the back court, Sydney Lett got 8 digs with Schoonover, Pollman and Vaughn each getting 7.
The Panthers enter their contest with the Vandals with a 29-7 record.
In the other semi-final of the Toledo Sectional, Casey-Westfield, winner of the Lawrenceville Sectional, will play the third of three South Central Conference teams in the sectional –Carlinville. The Cavaliers won their own regional over Greenfield, 25-17, 25-16, on Thursday. That match precedes the Pana-Vandalia match at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.
The winners of Tuesday’s semi-finals will play each other at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, for the Sectional title and advance to the Super-Sectional at Effingham St. Anthony. They will face the Nashville Sectional winner at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, with the winner going to the final four and the state tournament.