Brittany Bacorn

Knoxville's Brittany Bacorn chalked up a triple double for the night with 17 kills, 21 assists and 27 digs

KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville Panthers gave notice that they are tournament ready Thursday night in the Panther Pit as they battled Winterset, the No. 15 team in Class 4A to the wire before falling 15-13 in the overtime set. And those tournament matches are upon us as Knoxville hosts its own tourney on Saturday and next Tuesday the Panthers travel to Indianola to open play in the Class 4A Regional tourney.

The journey to that final set began with the Huskies rallying from a 21-18 deficit to post a 25-22 win in game one. Knoxville was poised to take the win, but the final seven points for the Huskies included a net serve and three hitting errors. Abby Wadle had three big kills to lead the Panthers to the 21-18 lead, but then the offense hit the wall.

“We didn’t have a lot of errors,” Panther Coach Mollie Keitges said. “But many of our errors came at crucial times in the set.”

The second set proved to be a reverse of set one. It was the Panthers coming from behind to seize a hard fought 28-26 win. Midway through the set Knoxville was trailing by a 16-13 score. Hannah Dunkin stepped to the service line and served up the next five points including an ace to give her team a 19-16 lead. In that run, Wadle and Brittany Bacorn smashed down kills.

The Huskies would not fold and they battled back to tie the score at 23-23. It was a furious run to the finish as three kills by Wadle kept her team in contention at 26-26. A resounding kill by Bacorn and another ace serve by Hannah Dunkin put the Panthers in the win column at 28-26.

The song writer said that ‘England swings like a pendulum do,’ and this match took on that nature. The Huskies stormed back to take a 25-15 win in game three to put the Panther backs against the wall.

Game four was a point trading affair with the Panthers tying the score several times only to see the Huskies regain the lead. Finally a kill by Ella Breazeale knotted the score at 13-13. Then Melanie Sullivan hammered down a kill and Bacorn zipped an ace serve to give Knoxville a 15-13 lead. But the Huskies fought off the challenge and took back the lead at 17-16.

A kill by Wadle tied the score at 17-17 and sent Sullivan to the service line. Sullivan fired up a pair of ace serves and Charlee Heffron and Wadle belted kills to give Knoxville a 22-17 lead. A pair of hitting errors by the Huskies and a massive kill into the face of a Winterset defender gave the Panthers a 25-18 win and set the match into overtime.

In the overtime set, Knoxville took a 3-1 lead on a kill by Breazeale and a pair of Husky errors. The Huskies rallied to take a 5-3 lead and never gave up the lead. Knoxville would tie to score four times, but were never able to take the lead again in a 15-13 loss.

“Our team played hard,” Keitges said. “They fought a tough battle and were very competitive. Serving and hitting errors plagued us in the games we lost and we need to fine tune those things before the regional tournament.”

Bacorn chalked up a triple double for the night with 17 kills, 21 assists and 27 digs, while Wadle chipped in with 17 kills. Sullivan was 19-of-19 in serving with a pair of aces and she added 14 digs. Emma Dunkin was 14-of-14 from the service line and she dug up 22 balls. Hannah Dunkin dished out 19 assists to her hitters.

The Panthers are 20-13 for the season and they host their home tourney Saturday.

Trending Video

Recommended for you