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Panthers falter in volleyball quarterfinal

Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the Mehlville Senior High School girls' volleyball team has been on Cloud Nine.

The Panthers (31-2, 6-1 Suburban West) have broken numerous school records and were on the mission of being the first public school to win the state championship since Kirkwood won it all back in 1996.

That all came to a crashing end Saturday evening when the host Panthers lost to St. Joseph's Academy 25-20, 25-22 in the state quarterfinal in front of a loud and spirited home crowd.

"The girls have really worked hard all season and to get this far, it's a disappointing loss," Mehlville head coach Susan Hurt said "They (St. Joseph's) played better than we did. They were digging and their passes were on and ours were just off a little tonight. It all comes down to passing I think."

Despite the loss to St. Joseph's, the Panthers accomplished a rare feat in itself earlier in the week as they disposed of three-time defending state champion Cor Jesu in the district championship game 25-16, 22-25, 25-19.

When asked how long she had been waiting for the Panthers win over Cor Jesu in the postseason, Hurt was quick to reply.

"Forever," Hurt said with a huge smile. "We've got the rivalry going between us and Cor Jesu and for the most part have ended up on the losing side. To beat them twice in one season is just phenomenal."

Cor Jesu head coach Terri Mehghini was quick to give credit where it was due as her Chargers lost their first postseason game since 1999.

"I'm pretty proud of the girls," Mehghini said. "They played as tough and Mehlville is a better team than us. For us to come that close to beating them, I'm really proud of us."

Before their loss to St. Joseph's in the state quarterfinal, the Panthers defeated Farmington in the state sectional 25-16, 25-14.

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