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Knightettes bitten by Terriers for first loss

FARMINGTON – The Farmington Knightettes were undefeated at 12-0 going into Saturday’s match with the Carbondale Terriers, one of the strongest teams in Southern Illinois now at 13-1. The two teams put on a great display of power attacks and blocks in their three-game match. Carbondale finished on top with a 23-25, 27-25, 25-13 win.

We got our first loss,” said Coach Becky Noble, “and hopefully we won’t get anymore. This was a good match for us. It should make us better by playing a strong team like this.”

“We knew they (Farmington) would be tough for us,” said Carbondale head coach Jennifer Stanley. “This is the third year we’ve played Farmington and the first time we’ve ever beaten them.”

Farmington established their attack game first. Megan Bess powered a kill to the Carbondale floor and the rout seemed to be on for the Knightettes when she nailed another just two plays later. Farmington moved out to an 8-5 lead, but the Terriers would not back down. Renee Favreau served the Terriers back into the game with her last serve going for an ace to make the score 11-11.

Carbondale jumped ahead, but at 15-13 the Knightettes came back to retake the lead at 17-16 causing Coach Stanley to call time to hopefully stop the momentum shift.

The Terriers misfired on their next two attacks with both spikes hitting only net to give the Knightettes the lead they needed going into the last five points of the game.

Favreau continued to give the Knightettes fits at the service line as she served three straight points to make it a 23-22 game. This time it was Coach Noble who called time. The time-out had direct effect as Favreau served the next one into the net.

Carbondale’s big hitter Christy Long drilled a kill past Farmington’s defense to get the serve back and save game point, however the next point would belong to Farmington as Bess returned the favor with a big smash to end the first game.

Game two started out even, but when Malaikah Love served four straight adding a kill of her own in the middle, the Terriers jumped out to a 10-6 lead. Sydney Winslow broke Love’s serve with a kill.

A huge double block by Winslow and Briley Milfield was a tying point at 10-10, and Winslow served up four straight points for the Farmington lead. The Terriers did not flinch, and Michelle Hatfield served her team to a 16-16 tie.

Farmington would again take the lead, this time off of two kills by Bess. The Knightettes would go up 23-19, but Carbondale came right back to make it a two-point game. Brenna Noble served a no-return ball that made it game point.

The Terriers score the next two points and added two more kills to make it their game point. Coach Noble called for time again. The Terriers mishandled the ball right after the time-out to tie the game at 25. Long drove a good kill down the line and Megan Hughes served an ace to close out game two.

Playing game three was consistent with the long volleyball day at Farmington Middle School’s gym. Carbondale won the freshman game 2-1, and Farmington had won the J.V. game 2-1. Now it was the varsity’s turn. The referee was overheard to ask the Carbondale captain “are you sure this is the last game”, in reference to all three matches.

For Farmington it would be a ‘Long game’. Long made four straight kills to start the third game for the Terriers. Farmington could not get its attack game going as Carbondale’s server Favreau kept dropping short shots over the net on her serve, and the Knightettes were unable to make successful passes to their setter to mount a decent attack.

The Knightettes did draw close at 5-4, but Carbondale’s net game was in high gear. Long served the Terriers to 11-6 and Farmington called time. Bess and Love exchanged kills and a missed serve by Carbondale made it 14-8. Bess’s kill was the last for Farmington for 13 straight points.

The hard, driving serves of Long and Love and the drop serves of Favreau kept Farmington’s attack null and void. Meanwhile, Long had nine kills in the third game alone. During the final stretch the Knightettes could only score by either a missed serve by Carbondale or a ball hit out by the visitors.

The Terriers were nearly celebrating when they took a 24-13 lead, but Bess and the Knightettes would not say die. On game point, Bess boomed three kills and all three were blocked, but the junior hitter would not quit as her fourth attempt on the point found only floor.

The two teams were so evenly matched that what Farmington could do, Carbondale could also do. On the next game point, Long was also blocked three straight times by the Knightettes, but it resulted in a loose ball being punched by Hughes to the back corner for the match-ending point.

Bess led the Knightettes in kills with 16, and Winslow had 11. The two hitters also had nine and 10 digs respectively. Brenna Noble made 13 assists and Becky Weaver had 11. Winslow and Elizabeth Harris made three blocks each.

Long made 20 kills for the Terriers and Love had eight. Favreau served 13 points with four going for aces.

Farmington, 12-1, will play next on Monday when they will host Hillsboro.

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