VARNA - The DePue Lady Giants went into the Class 1A Midland Volleyball Regional with an 0-20 re-cord, so needless to say they weren't very optimistic.

"We knew coming into tonight's game that Roanoke-Benson would be tough," said DePue head coach Erin Duffy.

Truer words have never been spoken.

The No. 2-seeded Roanoke-Benson Rockets (13-12) wasted no time taking the No. 7-seeded DePue Lady Giants out of the regionals with a commanding 25-15, 25-11 decision in Varna.

The first game took a total of 15 minutes to be completed. DePue managed to get 15 points, most of them via the side-out.

"Our passing and serving was atrocious, especially the second game," said Duffy.

In the second game, the Lady Rockets jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Lady Giants forced a side-out and cut the lead to 2-1.

That would be the closest the Lady Giants would come to leading, and then Roanoke-Benson got four straight points to increase the lead to 6-1.

With the score 18-8m the Lady Rockets blew the game out of reach with five straight points, bringing the score to 23-9.

DePue never gave up and managed two points to try and start a comeback but the server served one to long and the game ended 25-11.

One of the major weapons for the Lady Rockets was senior Hannah Knepp, whose southpaw spikes were too dominating.

"Hannah is one of a kind," said Lady Rockets head coach Melinda Zeman of Knepp.

Knepp also kept the Lady Giant defense off balance.

"They had a tough time with Knepp," said Duffy.

Sophomore Paulina Villagomez led the Lady Giants with two kills and sophomore Marisela Puga manned the defense with six digs.

They could only muster one ace in the match, sophomore Mercedes Sandoval was the server. She had three total points.

"We have improved dramatically and we are young, so hopefully they will keep improving," Duffy said.

At Elgin

The Leland/Earlville volleyball team pulled out a victory in its first match Thursday night in the Class 1A Elgin Westminster Regional before falling in its second to end the Lady Panthers' season.

L/E beat Elgin Academy 25-14, 25-23 in Thursday's regional quarterfinals behind nine points, seven kills and 10 assists from Morgan Musich and seven kills and eight assists from Jessica Miller.

In the Lady Panthers' second match against Elgin Westminster in the semifinals, L/E fell 25-16, 25-20 to end the season.

Musich totaled five assists and three kills, while Miller added two kills and 10 digs. Kaitlyn Rabel totaled seven points after putting down five kills in L/E's first match.

Jeff Holman can be reached at 223-3200, ext 139, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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