The Stags came out pumped up with the large crowd on hand as
sophomore Anna Hayes started the action by getting the first two
kills of the night for the home team.
West Prairie was loaded with heavy-hitters though and quickly jumped
out to an 8-4 lead before Coach Jennifer Hayes called a timeout.
The Stags found themselves down 13-7 when another timeout was called
by Coach Hayes and she tried to settle her young team down.
West Prairie just kept pounding the ball and moments later the score
was doubled up on the Stags, 20-10 in favor of the Cyclones. West
Prairie just kept scoring, but finally Kassy Eskew’s tip caught the
Cyclone defense off-balance and Hartem was able to put a point on
the board, 23-11, now the Cyclones lead.
Kassy Eskew (7 in the center) sets the ball to Sami Perschall (14)
as Shyanne Conrady (4) and Lexi Barry (5) look on in Tuesday night’s
volleyball game with West Prairie.
Hayes slammed another kill on her opponent to earn a point for the
Stags, but West Prairie was too much and shut down the orange and
black, 25-13, the score in set one.
Set two saw Hartem dig themselves into a little hole early, as the
Cyclones took a 3-0 lead. Hayes with the kill finally put the Stags
in the scoring column and eventually the Stags would tie the
Cyclones at 6-6 as Lexi Barry did an outstanding job on the block
all by herself.
The Cyclones continued to get the upper hand over the Stags though
and stretched the lead to 16-8.
A couple more kills by Hayes kept the Stags in the set but they
still trailed the Cyclones 19-12. An ace by Barry would be the last
of the scoring for the Stags, with the Cyclones up 21-16 at this
West Prairie went on to run-off the next four consecutive points and
Hartem bowed out with the 25-16 loss in set two.
This was not quite the outcome the Stags had hoped for on Homecoming
Night, but with it being an emotional week for the Stags and several
players battling injuries, the team made the best out of the
According to Coach Hayes, “It’s been quite the season. We’ve had
three sprained ankles, one concussion and one hospitalization.” All
of that adds up to the coach admitting she has not ran the same
lineup yet this season for more than two days in a row.
Emily Craig is sporting her “Be Fearless” t-shirt in her first trip
back to the gym following her accident.
The emotional week for the Stags began back on September 11th when
Emily Craig was injured in an accident. Craig sustained a serious
leg injury and spent six days in the Peoria Children’s Hospital,
according to Coach Hayes. Teammate Lexi Barry received a concussion
in the accident also.
According to Craig’s mother, Jennifer Craig, Emily was in the trauma
room at the hospital saying, “I don’t want to miss volleyball.” It
was evident the team misses Emily, who was back in the gym Tuesday
night in a wheelchair for the first time since the accident. Family
and friends surrounded the freshman volleyball player all evening
long, causing her to have a big smile across her face the entire
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Coach Jennifer Hayes has the attention of her team in
the huddle before taking on West Prairie.
Coach Hayes was equally as happy to have Craig back in the gym. "It
was great to see Emily back here, I mean with all the stuff that
we’ve went through the last two weeks,” said Coach Hayes. "We are on
an emotional roller coaster and you can see it by watching us play.
We have some really good moments and then we have some not so good
moments. We are still trying to figure it out.”
Of Craig, the Hartem coach said, "She was my libero and she was
passing all the time. You can see that when our passing breaks down
that we are very unsure of what we are going to do. I’ve got people
passing that haven’t passed since they were in junior high.”
Coach Hayes continued, "So it’s just piecing it together. It’s about
staying positive, teamwork, talk and communicate, which is what you
saw there at the end. It’s just that we are not quite there yet. We
haven’t been in a real rotation more than two days in a row since
the beginning of the season with injuries. And until they get that
chemistry of playing together, it isn’t gonna get better. But I
never thought they really gave up. They always played hard, they
always went for it. For a young, inexperienced team that’s all I can
ask for in September. We’re running our offense and we’re trying to
work on some different hits. We gotta keep working.
"Our hitters are mainly sophomores, you know, we have a junior
middle, but we didn’t pass well enough to get her the ball.
"I’ve got a libero and an outside hitter that are seniors, but they
really haven’t done it at the varsity level. It’s just a lot of new.
"And I’ve got a setter running it at the varsity level for the first
time. It’s all brand new and everything is just kind of hit and miss
"We are just gonna have to build and get ready for the postseason,”
said Coach Hayes.
In the Junior Varsity contest West Prairie defeated Hartem in three
sets, 19-25, 25-23 and 15-10.
Harlem’s record rests at 5 wins and 7 losses going into Thursday
night’s matchup with Mount Pulaski. The game will be at Mount
Pulaski and will be the Hilltoppers Homecoming.
Mount Pulaski has a record of 4 wins and 7 losses. It looks to be a
good matchup with both teams boasting a lot of young talent and
veteran coaches who love competing against each other.
Anna Hayes 6 kills
Kassy Eskew 13 assists
Sami Perschall 1 kill
Shyanne Conrady 1 ace
Lexi Barry 1 ace
West Praire stats
Pema Zellmann 6 kills
Peyton Bowman 4 kills
Hannah Thompson 2 kills
Julie Shoemaker 2 kills