Pekin advances to championship bracket in SEISC tournament
Before the Southeast Iowa Super Conference tournament began Thursday, Pekin coach Ashley Bartels said that her team plays down to its opponent’s talent level.
This would normally be a very bad habit for a team to have. The habit reared its ugly head Thursday when Pekin almost lost a set to Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, who has yet to win a set the entire year.
However, the Panthers play up to their opponents as well.
After MSAE, Pekin took on Holy Trinity, who is the opposite of MSAE in every way. The Crusaders have only lost two sets and one match the entire season. Mikaela Foecke is their best player, and that is more than well publicized.
“We had never seen Holy Trinity play, but heard about their middle blocker, Foecke,” Bartels said. “So we were ready for anything.”
Pekin gave Holy Trinity its biggest test of the night, but lost 15-21, 15-21. The Panthers blocked Foecke and company 11 times. Beth Atwood and Whitney Horras each had three of those blocks.
“I’m proud of the team’s fight tonight and the heart they played with,” Bartels said.
The Panthers defeated West Burlington 21-13, 17-21, 16-14. Jessica Horras led ted the team with six kills. WACO came next, and Pekin disposed of them 16-21, 21-19, 15-7. Whitney led the team with 15 assists and Beth had eight kills.
Holy Trinity was the only team that beat Pekin, so the Panthers find themselves in the championship bracket. Those games start Saturday at 5 p.m. at West Burlington’s Southeastern Community College. Pekin will play Mediapolis, which is the Pool two winner. If the Panthers were to win that game, they would face the winner of New London and IMS.
Maharishi went 0-4 on the night, meaning they didn’t earn a place in the consolation bracket. The four teams that finished last in each pool are the only teams that don’t get to play in either the championship or consolation brackets on Saturday.
Cardinal (2-2) and Van Buren (1-3) both will be in the consolation bracket. Cardinal hosted pool four, which consisted of the Comets, Van Buren, Louisa-Muscatine, IMS and Winfield-Mount Union. Winfield-Mount Union won the pool and IMS finished second. Louisa-Muscatine will not be making trip to play in the consolation games.
The Van Buren and Cardinal match, which ended with 16-14 set three win in favor of Cardinal, may have been the match of the night. Cardinal came out tired because the match they had just played went late. Van Buren had time to rest and looked fresh in comparison to the Comets. The Warriors won the first set 21-13, but the Comets came back to win the second set and the match.
Nicole Coffin led the Warriors with 37 digs, 14 kills and two blocks on the night. Libby King, who’s knee injury The Ledger reported yesterday, played and was not hurt. The knee injury was apparently a practical joke played on coach Matt Zeitler. Zeitler panicked, and the joke worked to perfection.
“I think we showed improvement,” Zeitler said. “They just can’t crank it up another notch when the game is on the line.”
As for Cardinal, Katey Liles led the team with 28 digs. Leea Ostrander recorded 13 kills and Amy Hart had 18 kills of her own.
These two teams have the chance to play again on Saturday.