PAYSON, Ill. -- Hannibal was one of only two teams last year to win a set from Payson Seymour, the eventual Class 1A volleyball champions.
So when the Pirates lost the first set of Tuesday night's match, they didn't panic. Hannibal turned back the hosts 22-25, 25-23, 25-20 to win its season opener.
The Pirates fell behind 4-0 in the third set, but strong serving from Payton Frick and Kyler Rademan helped Hannibal to a 21-14 lead. Payson Seymour (7-4) clawed back within 22-18 and staved off two match points, but an error on the final play ended it.
"It was a great crowd and a great game to watch," Indians coach Teresa Loos-Tedrow said. "It was very competitive volleyball."
Hannibal coach Kelsey Whitley said her team adjusted its defense after the first game and settled down after some early jitters.
"It makes a lot of difference when you can play defense and take away some of the things they do," Whitley said.
Neither team led by more than two points in the first set until Payson Seymour went ahead 21-18. The Indians' Riley Epperson then had two crucial kills to close it out.
It was more of the same in the second set until Hannibal pulled ahead 20-17. Payson Seymour got within 24-23 on another Epperson kill, but a hitting error by the Indians ended the set.
Abby Baumann, Claire Thomas and Peyton Utterback each had five kills for Hannibal, with Rademan and Kaylee Falconer each getting 11 assists. Rademan had nine digs and Falconer had 10.
Epperson finished with 16 kills and 28 digs for Payson Seymour. Tori Schieferdecker added 13 kills and 16 digs, Livia Perry had 10 service points, Lauryn Hinthorne added 23 digs and Cassie Eidson added 24 assists.