Panthers sweep Trojans in WIC Semifinals

By Matt Gengler, Sports Editor

It just clicked, Whatever Logan-Magnolia did on Tuesday night during the Western Iowa Conference Tournament semifinals, it worked.  The third-seeded Logan-Magnolia Panthers exacted some revenge, knocking off second-seeded Tri-Center in three straight sets during the WIC Tournament semifinals at Missouri Valley.

“You don’t even know how happy I am for this group right now,” stated Panthers Coach Faith Bruck. “They have been so close all season long. They proved tonight they should be considered at or near the top of the conference.”

The turning point of the entire match happened toward the end of the first set, when Lo-Ma trailed Tri-Center 22-19. The Panthers finished the first set on a convincing 6-1 run, highlighted by stellar blocking, defensive digs and pinpoint serving. Lo-Ma scored six of the final seven points, seizing early control.  It carried over to the second set, as the Panthers raced out to an early 21-4 advantage.

The Trojans made it close in the third set, pulling to within 18-16, but the Panthers rattled off seven consecutive points to end the match and finished the sweep.  With the win, the Panthers have defeated the top three teams in the WIC this season, topping Treynor, Underwood and Tri-Center during the 2019 campaign.

The third seeded Panthers faced the fourth seeded Underwood Eagles in the WIC Tournament final on Thursday night at Missouri Valley. Lo-Ma knocked off Underwood in four sets during the regular season meeting.

Jaice Johnsen finished with eight kills, seven digs, and one block; Kylie Morrison and Courtney Ohl added five kills apiece. Morison added 14 digs and three blocks, while Emilie Thompson led the block squad with four blocks. Ashlyn Doiel was solid once again, connecting on 27-28 serves, including four aces.

“This group has believed in themselves all season. We were in search of a signature win during this type of environment,” Bruck concluded.  “These girls played with a ton of heart and composure, and we’re gaining confidence. We hope it continues into the post-season.”

Up Next: Logan-Magnolia (6-2, 19-6) will open up the Class 2A Regional Tournament play on Monday, Oct. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. in Logan.

WIC Tournament VB, Semifinals: 10-15-2019 @ Missouri Valley

#3 Logan-Magnolia 25, 25, 25  #2 Tri-Center 23, 8, 16

Serving: Ashlyn Doiel 27-28 (4 aces); Macanna Guritz 3-3; Jaice Johnsen 8-9 (1); Emme Lake 14-14 (1); Kylie Morrison 12-12 (1); Courtney Ohl 7-9 (1); Emilie Thompson 4-5. Set Assists: Ashley Christians 3; Ashlyn Doiel 12; Emme Lake 10; Ruby Nolting 1. Kills: Diggins 3; Johnsen 8; Morrison 5; Nolting 4; Ohl 5; Thompson 2. Digs: Christians 8; Diggins 3; Doiel 7; Guritz 4; Johnsen 7; Lake 5; Morrison 14; Nolting 2; Emilie Thompson 8. Blocks: Diggins 2; Johnsen 1; Morrison 3; Nolting 2; Thompson 4. Lo-Ma Record: (6-2 WIC), 19-6.

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