Saturday was a day of mixed emotions for the Knoxville Panther volleyball team on the court.
The Panthers played at the Pella High Invitational where they posted a mark of two wins and three losses.
The highlight of the day for Knoxville were wins over the Tigers from ADM (Adel-Desoto-Minburn) and Bondurant-Farrar.
Knoxville suffered a tough three set loss to the Pella High Lady Dutch and lost to Class 2A No. 2 ranked Mediapolis and to Iowa City Liberty 2-0.
Liberty holds down the No. 4 ranking in Class 5A. Liberty won the tournament Saturday to improve to 27-1 overall.
Starting with the loss to the Dutch, Pella won the match 16-21, 21-17, 15-11.
In the opening game the Dutch led 12-10 before the Panthers went on a run.
An ace serve by Knoxville’s Melanie Sullivan gave the Panthers some energy at 17-13.
Soon after an ace serve by Marley McKay put Knoxville on top 18-15 en route to the 21-16 win.
Game two was a different story. Pella raced to an early 7-2 advantage. The score closed to within 7-5 before the Dutch had a kill from Ella Corbin that made the score 9-5.
A block by freshman Jasmine Namminga put Pella in control at 13-7.
A kill by Knoxville’s Abby Wadle made the score interesting at 18-16 but the Dutch regrouped with setter Anna Vander Waal getting a kill for a 19-16 lead.
The final two points of game two were gained by Pella’s Bailey Van Voorst for the 21-17 win.
That set up a decisive game three that was played close to the vest. The score was deadlocked at 11-11 before Pella reeled off the final four points for the 15-11 upset.
It was strong Pella defense down the stretch along with hitters Van Voorst and Namminga taking control with the match on the line.
Van Voorst had 10 kills in the win, Namminga five, Corbin and Meridith Rowe each added four.
Panther leaders in the loss were Katie Keitges with 11 kills and Tara Uitermarkt with three.
Marley McKay had 14 assists. Double digit dig totals were collected by Melanie Sullivan with 12, Maggie Wilkins 11, Keitges had 10 and Amy Sullivan was close with eight.
Freshman Melanie Sullivan was the leader serving with two aces.
Knoxville opened the day with a thrilling 21-16, 18-21, 15-13 win over the Lady Jays.
Keitges had seven kills and Reilly Finarty posted five.
McKay was steady with 15 assists.
Wilkins led with 13 digs followed by Keitges with six and Finarty five.
Uitermarkt had three blocks. Keitges and Amy Sullivan each had two ace serves.
The Panthers also beat the ADM Tigers 21-19, 22-20.
Keitges had 14 kills followed by Amy Sullivan with two.
McKay had 14 assists, Wilkins 12 digs, Amy Sullivan nine and Keitges five.
Keitges and McKay each had two ace serves in the win.
Mediapolis improved to 35-1 overall with their first loss of the year coming at the Pella Invite to Iowa City Liberty.
The Bullettes beat the Panthers in the morning session 21-11, 21-12.
In game two the Panthers were within a point of Mediapolis at 10-9 before they went on a roll that proved unstoppable.
Mediapolis scored 11 of the next 14 points for the 21-12 win to seal the deal.
Keitges had eight kills and Finarty three.
Wilkins and Keitges each had six digs and McKay collected 13 assists.
Iowa City Liberty
The Lightning beat the Panthers 21-13, 21-13.
Points again were hard to come by against the Lightning. Keitges managed seven kills, but the next high total of kills was just one.
McKay had eight assists. Keitges finished with 18 digs and Wilkins was next with 15.
Odds and Ends
At the end of the day the Panthers stood at 22-4 entering the final league match of the regular season in Centerville.
Knoxville will face Winterset at home Oct. 17 at 7:15 p.m.
The Knoxville Panther Volleyball Tournament is set for Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m.