The Hannibal volleyball team remained undefeated in North Central Missouri Conference play Thursday night with a road sweep over Kirksville.

The Hannibal volleyball team remained undefeated in North Central Missouri Conference play Thursday night with a road sweep over Kirksville.

But the victory wasn't before the Lady Tigers gave the visiting Lady Pirates a run for their money.

Hannibal (7-3, 4-0 NCMC) surged to an early lead in the opening set but couldn't knock Kirksville out. The home team battled back to go point-for-point with the reigning conference champs through much of the game. The Lady Pirates pulled away at the end for a 25-20 win.

“Kirksville was the best team we've seen so far in the conference,” Hannibal coach Kelsey Whitley said. “They've got lots of height and they're an athletic bunch. They killed us at the net in Game 1. They gave us a run for our money, for sure. But we were able to sneak some kills in and we served pretty well and we came out on top by a few points.” 

The Lady Pirates then carried their momentum into a 25-13 victory in Game 2. When Hannibal got on a roll, Kirksville was unable to answer back. 

“We’re just as good as them, but we still struggle mentally,” Kirksville coach Justin Quigley said. “They have won conference championship after conference championship. The difference between a championship team and where we are is the mental aspect. Things get tight for us, we get tight. Things get tight for Hannibal, they shake it off because they know they’re going to perform. That’s the difference.” 

Junior Kyler Rademan and sophomore Kaylee Falconer each recorded 13 set assists for Hannibal, while outside hitter Maddie Janes led with eight kills and nine digs. Abby Baumann contributed seven digs and five kills.

Whitley credited reserve players Peyton Utterback and Emma Deien for stepping up to create a stronger front-row presence for the visiting Lady Pirates. 

“Peyton ended up with five kills on the night, and Emma did a good job going in and getting some good, quality touches on her blocks,” the coach said.

Hannibal JV earns road sweep

The Hannibal junior varsity team downed Kirksville in straight sets, 25-23, 25-11, on Thursday night.

Allie Hull and Dani Brown each recorded seven set assists for the Lady Pirates (7-4), while Utterback led with seven kills and four aces. Hannah Miller and Deien had four kills a piece. 

Matthew Asher contributed to this story.