In their second Southwestern Conference match of the season, the O’Fallon boys volleyball squad was overpowered by the Edwardsville Tigers.
After easily handling Granite City in their SWC opener the previous week, the Panther spikers fell victim to masterful performances by senior Will Frank, who contributed nine kills and 10 digs, and senior setter Jake Vandever, who recorded a season-high 22 assists.
O’Fallon did not have an answer to the senior duo as Edwardsville rolled to a 25-8 victory in game one and completed the sweep with a 25-21 win over the Panthers in game two. It took only 15 minutes to finish the first game with Edwardsville dominating play at the net and running off points in bunches before the young Panthers knew what hit them.
Game two was a different story with the OTHS squad shaking off the Edwardsville first game blitz and challenging the Tigers for virtually every point. O’Fallon senior Austin Minor put the Panthers on a more equal footing early in game two with a three-point service run. Alex Belongy and Luke Meidel sparked a second O’Fallon flurry that allowed the Panthers to take leads of 14-13 and 16-15. With the outcome still very much in doubt, Edwardsville’s 6-foot-7 Frank went to work.
The Tiger hitter blasted consecutive kills to knot the score, and sophomore Nick Allen served up an ace to put Edwardsville ahead for good. Continued pressure at the net sealed the deal for the Tigers and evened the OTHS record at 1-1.
“We were kind of overwhelmed in the first game, but I was pleased with the way our team battled back in game two,” OTHS coach Katelyn Hagarty said. “We competed much more effectively and reduced the number of errors. We will continue to improve and look forward to playing Edwardsville again.”