Photos courtesy Jesse Otten
The EP Panthers ended the season on a positive note as they defeated Hall in straight sets, 16-25, 14-25 on Thursday night in Prophetstown.
The Panthers finished with an 8-4 overall record. The freshmen also had a winning record with the sophomores finishing at the .500 mark as both squads swept the Red Devils in straight sets.
With a large and boisterous student section the Panthers played extremely well gradually pulling away in both sets. Seniors Ady Scott, Emily Brooks, Baylee Anderson, Kara Schipper, and Ella Heyvaert all had big moments in the contest with Brooks getting the match winning spike.
Freshman Kennedy Buck had an outstanding night serving 19 for 20 from the line and contributed 20 assists.
Coach Heather Bruns summed up the season and her senior players saying,” It’s going to be hard to lose this group of eight seniors but as I look down the (grade) levels they all got better during the season. This group always came out and performed well. There were times when I think we could have done better, like with Newman, Rock Falls and Riverdale (all close losses). It seemed like we had our bad nights against good teams.” Bruns added, “Everybody had a night of their own to step up and did what they needed to do. It was a real team effort all season.”
The Panthers were fortunate to get a majority of their games in, avoiding a Covid shut down, but Bruns wished it could have been a “normal” season. “In a short season it’s very difficult to prepare for different teams but there’s no doubt in my mind we would’ve done better things against the teams we lost to.”
Senior outside hitter Ady Scott said, “We proved ourselves this year. I think we could’ve gone a long way in postseason.” Scott added that she was proud to leave the program in good hands, “There’s so much talent in our younger levels. The freshman class is a force to be reckoned with and the sophomore group is willing to work hard.”