Fairfield volleyball hosting Panthers in regional semifinals
When it comes to Fairfield volleyball, there’s simply no place like home.
The Trojans, winners of all 11 matches they’ve played at Fairfield High School this season, will have one final chance to pick up a win in front of the home crowd Thursday. In the regional semifinal match, the Trojans will be up against Southeast Conference rival Mount Pleasant (16-15).
The two rivals have faced off twice this season, and both times Fairfield has come out on top with three-game sweeps. The Trojans won a 25-13, 25-22, 25-22 game against the Panthers in their last meeting Oct. 2. The first time the teams met, way back on Aug. 30, Fairfield won 25-23, 25-23, 25-21.
And although Fairfield is coming into the match the undeniable favorite, Diers expects to see Mount Pleasant’s best effort in the third matchup.
“I know that they’re going to be fired up and ready to go,” Diers said of Mount Pleasant. “They lost twice to us in the conference, and they weren’t pleased about it.”
The Panthers’ strength is up front, where senior Elinor Krieger-Coble leads the team with 210 kills and has chipped in 32 blocks. Krieger-Coble is joined by sophomore Kelsi Phipps, who has tallied 170 kills and 76 blocks, and junior Taryne Shull, who has 90 blocked shots.
“They have a real strong dynamic front line that is capable of hitting very well and putting up a real good block, so we’ve got to do the things that got us to our conference wins,” Diers said.
To counteract the Panthers’ kill leaders, Fairfield will look to stay aggressive with their hitting, play solid floor defense and continue bringing their consistent serve.
Additionally, the Trojans are coming off a tight five-set win over Knoxville and have been winning close games all season. Fairfield head coach Nancy Diers doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
“It’s not exactly the way you want to go, but this is the route we seem to be taking, so we have to make sure we’re prepared, ready and focused to know that every time we play it’s going to be a close match,” she said.
The winner of Thursday’s match will face the winner of the other Region 6 semifinal, which is pitting Clear Creek-Amana (21-13) against Cedar Rapids Xavier (24-11). The regional final is next Tuesday in Washington.
“Our girls are going to be fired up,” Diers added. “Hopefully there will be a good crowd from our community. I was real pleased with the way our crowd helped and responded [Monday], and hopefully it’ll do the same on Thursday night.”
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Fairfield High School.