PANA – Coach Allison Smith was rooting for Argenta-Oreana to beat Windsor and, therefore, advance to the Pana Tournament championship game.
With her team playing the loser of that match, it wasn’t that Smith has a vendetta against Windsor or thought her team would have an easier time beating them; she just wanted a second chance.
The only reason Vandalia wasn’t playing in that match was because Windsor defeated the Vandals in the first game of match play at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
“We didn’t play well our very first match, but I don’t think we were quite awake yet,” Smith said. “I think if we would have played them later in the day, we would have beaten them.”
No one will know if the Vandals would have beaten Windsor, but the Vandals instead came away with a dominating 25-16, 25-15 win against Argenta in the third-place match, leading for all but five points in the second set.
Several players contributed to that victory, with four Vandal players – seniors Amy Walton, Taylor Parrish, Ellie Ehrat and Whitney Schaal – each serving at least three straight Vandalia points at some point in the Argenta match.
Defensively, the Vandals held Argenta to just 11 points on its own serves. The four above-mentioned players alone combined to score 20 points for Vandalia during their serving streaks.
By pulling out to a 17-9 lead in the second set, Smith was also able to get her bench players some time in a fast-paced varsity game.
“It’s good for those kids to see varsity experience,” she said.
Vandalia also had a chance to advance to the championship match if they could have knocked off Pana in the first finals match.
While the Vandals lost in two sets – both 25-22 decisions – Smith was pleased that the team competed well against Pana, because the Panthers defeated Vandalia, 25-9, 25-16, last Tuesday.
“We redeemed ourselves from the other night when we played up here,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, there at the end, they got three blocks in the row.”
Vandalia also beat Stew-Stras (25-20, 25-14) and the Taylorville JV squad (25-13, 25-9) during match play.
On offense, Smith said all of her players attacked well the entire tournament.
“Hitting-wise, everybody had a good day,” she said.
Parrish led the team in kills with 22. Holly Goldsmith (15), Sierah Ruffner (11) and Austyn Krueger (eight) also performed well killing the ball.
Wollerman had 62 assists and 13 service aces.
The Vandals will not play another tournament this season. The team finished third in its other two tournaments – Altamont and Vandalia – as well.