Battling for a 26-24 win in the second set against Washington, momentum seemed to be on the side of the Canton volleyball squad.

CANTON – Battling for a 26-24 win in the second set against Washington, momentum seemed to be on the side of the Canton volleyball squad.


Unfortunately for the Lady Giants, the visitors grabbed control in the final set and would not let go on the way to a 25-18, 24-26, 25-15 Mid-Illini Conference victory Thursday evening at the CHS South Gym.


Canton’s record slipped to 6-23 overall, 0-12 in Mid-Illini play. Washington improved to 11-16 overall, 4-8 in conference contests.


Thursday’s meeting was the third between the two teams this season.


CHS won the first meeting back on September 1 at the Limestone Tournament 25-14, 25-21. The teams then met September 18 at Washington with the Lady Panthers winning 25-12, 23-25, 25-9.


“This was one we were hoping to get a win on,” said Canton coach Felicia Appell. “We beat them in the Limestone Tournament earlier this season. And so, when we fell in three in Washington, this was one we were all really gunning for.”


Thursday’s third go-round saw just one tie in the third set at 1-1 as Washington never trailed. A key serving run by Sydney Greim allowed Washington to turn an 8-5 lead into a 13-6 advantage.


The Lady Giants got no closer than six points the rest of the way.


“It seems when we start in serve-receive, for some reason, that just mentally shakes us at the beginning,” said Appell. “We never really, I guess, have the confidence that we should have, even when we are starting with the serve.


“We had that energy, had that momentum especially in that second set to win,” she added. “But then that third set, we kind of seemed a little timid. We played a little scared and played a little bit more safe; played safe rather than playing to win.


“They definitely said that they had butterflies,” said Appell. “Sometimes, they don’t know how to handle that because we’re not in that situation, not knowing what the expectation is going to be if we do win. Like, what does that mean. It’s almost like they’re scared to win, so to speak.”


The opening set saw Canton lead 17-15 on a Cassidy Williams kill, but the Lady Giants would be outscored 10-1 the remainder of game.


The Lady Giants started the second set with a 6-1 lead that included three service points by Gillian DeFrain. Canton’s biggest lead would be 16-10, but Washington chipped away, eventually pulling even at 24-24.


The Lady Giants would take advantage of a hitting error followed by a Cassidy Locke block to secure the set and even the match, setting the stage for the deciding set.


Locke and Williams recorded nine kills each, along with having eight and seven blocks respectively for Canton. Madison Strantz finished with 13 set assists and Carmon Abbadusky 13 digs for the Lady Giants.


“We were playing every single touch. Nothing was hitting the floor,” said Appell. “That was our mentality. We wanted to hustle and we wanted to play scrappy. But it just didn’t quite work out for us.


“We’ve just got to learn physically and mentally to be able to play all 50 points, all 75 points, however many it is, w’ve got to follow through all the way to the end,” she added. “We just can’t quite seem to get there yet, but we’re definitely making progress.


“Overall, they played very well and I’m very proud of the team that was out there,” said Appell. “That was the team that I’ve been looking for all season.


“They’re looking to break this streak of not winning a conference game,” said Appell of the team. “... They still have a chance to make history and I think they really want that. If we play like (this match), I believe that it will happen.”


Elise Monroe had eight kills and four service aces for Washington. Greim recorded 15 set assists, Hillary Kulavic 12 digs and Georgia Duncan two blocks for the Lady Panthers.


The visiting Lady Panthers would record a 25-15, 25-8 win over Canton in the sophomore contest.


Halle Bair tallied five service aces and one kill for Canton (1-20, 0-12 Mid-Illini).


Amelia Painter added four digs and one set assist and Issi Neville three blocks for the Lady Giants.


The freshman match saw Washington beat Canton 25-17, 25-14.


Ella Dixon had four kills and four service points for Canton (13-12, 4-8 Mid-Illini).


Addi Postin chipped in four set assists, while Devlin Dennis added five digs, two service aces and one block.


The CHS freshmen are in tournament action today at Washington. The freshmen will then join the sophomores and varsity in returning to Mid-Illini play Tuesday at Dunlap. The Lady Giants will then host Metamora in their regular season final Thursday starting at 5 p.m. It will also be Senior Night.