The Hannibal Lady Pirates volleyball team advanced through the first round of the Class 4 District 7 play Monday night against the Liberty Wentzville Eagles.

The Hannibal Lady Pirates volleyball team advanced through the first round of the Class 4 District 7 play Monday night against the Liberty Wentzville Eagles.

The Hannibal spikers topped the Eagles in three games 22-25, 25-14, 25-22.

The Lady Eagles (3-13) were not going down without a fight.

Liberty took the first set of the match by scoring three straight points late.

“They came out very strong the first set,” said junior Abby Baumann. “They ended up just getting a few more points than us at the very end.”

The Lady Pirates (22-9-1) were facing elimination for the first time this season. Hannibal proved to be up for the challenge.

Hannibal took the next two games, 25-14 and 25-22 winning the match and advancing to the Class 4 District 7  semifinal match Tuesday against top-seeded Timberland.

“After we lost the first set we knew we had to come out strong,” said Baumann. “It ended up being a very close game.”

Kaylee Falconer led the way for the Pirates with 15 assists and 10 digs.

Peyton Utterback supplied the netters with nine kills. Baumann finished with seven while Kyler Rademan and Claire Thomas each added six.

Rademan led with 14 digs and added 12 set assists. Haley Ballinger, who Coach Kelsey Whitley said made a “fantastic” save in game three, added 13 digs. Maddie Janes, who Whitley said “continued to play wonderful defense,” added 12 digs, three kills and two aces. Payton Frick led with three aces.

“I felt like I could have played better the first set,” said Utterback. “I wanted to come out in the second set and play hard for my teammates.”

Frick made sure of the victory with two aces to close the match.  

“After the first ace I just took a deep breath,” said Frick, a senior. “Served the ball the best I could, and it went as planned.”

The top-seeded Timberland Lady Wolves ended the Pirates season a year ago with a sweep in the same scenario.

According to Utterback, Hannibal will have to play for each other in order to knock off the best.

“Communication and teamwork are going to be a huge part in whether we win or not,” said Utterback. “We have to want to win for each other, not ourselves.”