MT. PLEASANT — There was a Panther fight at Mt. Pleasant high school on Thursday night. The hosting MP Panthers had their hands full with the No. 9 Knoxville Panthers, who had lost just one game coming into the showdown.
Knoxville escaped in the first set and controlled the final two, sweeping Mt. Pleasant 25-20, 25-10, 25-15.
“They have a lot of good hitters, and they pass the ball well,” said Mt. pleasant coach David Streeter. “We got some swings on, we just weren’t able to hit our spots here and there. They had some vulnerable areas, and we weren’t’ able to get to them.”
Mt. Pleasant hung tight against the heavily-favored visiting squad in the first set. Mt. Pleasant jumped out to an early lead, but Knoxville came back to tie the game at 3-3.
Knoxville stretched their lead to three points, at 6-3, but Mt. Pleasant cut it to one point on two different occasions, both at 7-6 and 10-9. Keokuk scored the next five points, however, and stretched their lead to 15-9.
Mt. Pleasant clawed back, winning a handful of scrambles to cut the lead to 23-20. Knoxville won the last two points, however, and escaped with a five-point win.
Knoxville got out to an early lead in the second set, but Mt. Pleasant battled back to take a 7-6 lead, getting two kills apiece from Lexie Magnani, Karsyn Lamm and Kenna Lamm in the process. Knoxville scored the next 10 points, though, and finished the game on a 19-3 run to fly away with the second set 25-10.
The two teams split the first eight points in set three, but Knoxville pulled away to lead 9-4. Mt. Pleasant cut the lead down to two points, at 13-11 and 14-12.
Knoxville scored the next three points and never let Mt. Pleasant get back in it, eventually winning the third set by 10.
“When you can play with them and win some out of sync balls and stuff like that, it’s nice to get that point,” Coach Streeter said. “But it’s just one of those where if you can’t run an offense, you’re spending time on your heels.”
Kenna led the squad with six kills in the loss. Avery Sutter had five blocks, and Reece Barton ended the night with eight digs.
Mt. Pleasant moved to 5-18 with the loss. They’ll play in the Southeast Conference tournament next week.