O'Fallon: Sports

O'Fallon spikers open season with two SWC wins

Connor Sheehan of O'Fallon spikes the ball in the Panthers' home opener against Granite City
Connor Sheehan of O'Fallon spikes the ball in the Panthers' home opener against Granite City clibbra@bnd.com

The OTHS boys volleyball team opened its season going 2-0 against a pair of Southwestern Conference opponents.

The Panthers, regional champions five straight years, made quick work of the Granite City in the season opener on March 27 at the OTHS Panther Dome. OTHS came away with a home victory over the Warriors in straight sets, 25-10, 25-14.

"It was a good night for us," said OTHS coach Amy Sheehan "The boys came out and were able to work on things that we have been working on for the past three weeks. We still have a lot to work on, but overall, (I was) pleased with our performance."

O'Fallon had 44 serves, including three aces, compared to just 20 serves for Granite City. The Warriors had just a single ace.

The Panthers notched 29 kills, attacking the net 45 times. Justin Hovick led the Panthers with nine kills in 16 attempts. Hovick also had four assists.

Connor Sheehan accounted for all of the Panthers' other assists — 24 of them.

Romell Williams, Eric Toftmark, Bryce Backhus all had five kills apiece for OTHS; Zach Herran had two.

Jake Baldus had one kill and two blocks for O'Fallon. Sheehan and Toftmark also each had one block in the game.

On Thursday, O'Fallon traveled to Edwardsville for another SWC tilt.

"It was a very tough match-up for our second match of the season," Sheehan said. "Edwardsville is a very disciplined and tough opponent. It was a hard-fought match between both sides."

After two back-and-forth nail-biter sets, the Panthers came away as the top cats, earning 27-25 and 31-29 wins over the Tigers.

"We had to fight hard during the entire match, especially with having 17 serving errors," Sheehan said.

Nerves might have had a little something to do with it.

"I know that our boys were a little nervous at the beginning for a couple of reasons. Obviously, because it has always been a huge rivalry, and because every player on the court has been a teammate with someone on the other side of the court," Sheehan said.

Backhus had a good day, which included a team-high 10 kills to go along with three service aces and one block.

Also for OTHS against Edwardsville, Williams had seven kills, an assist, and 25 service receive attempts. Both Toftmark and Hovick had five kills. Hovick also had three blocks and Toftmark, two. Baldus had two kills and two blocks. Sheehan also dished out 27 assists to go with one kill and one block. Easton Gavin also had an ace.

O'Fallon has the potential to see Edwardsville three more times this season.

"When we meet them again, I suspect that it will be just as exciting as the first match," Sheehan said.