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2006 Class 7A Girls State Volleyball Tournament Gets Under Way Saturday

Unbeatens Thornton Wolcott (16-0), Hartsburg-Emden (23-0) and Royal Prairieview (19-0)) head a field of 16 teams into the 18th annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class 7A Girls State Volleyball Tournament beginning Saturday at Hartsburg-Emden High School. This is the 31st year of IESA girls volleyball.

The tournament gets under way Saturday with eight matches, beginning at 9:30 a.m. First round winners advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday (March 14) beginning at 3:30 p.m. The semifinals and finals will be played Wednesday (March 15) with the first semifinal match at 3:30 and the second set to begin at 4:45. The third place match is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and the championship match is slated to start at 7:15 p.m.

Four of the 16 finalists have at least 20 wins. The combined win-loss record of the 16 is 280-60, a winning percentage of .824. Perennial powerhouse Hartsburg-Emden and Chandlerville A-C Central have the most wins with 23 each, while Mt. Pulaski enters with 16 wins. Harstburg-Emden is 23-0 and A-C Central is 23-1. They are in the bottom half of the bracket and could meet in the semifinals. Joining them in the bottom half of the bracket is 21-2 St. Elmo. LaHarpe is 21-2 and the only 20-win team in the upper bracket.

Of the 17 previous 7A state titles, six have been won by Hartsburg-Emden and four by Mt. Pulaski. Mt. Pulaski (16-9) is making its 11th trip to the 7A State Tournament. The Honeybears are seeking their fifth state championship. They meet St. Elmo in the 4:15 first round match Saturday. Mt. Pulaski won 7A in 1993-94-98-2000. The all-time leader in 7A state championships is Hartsburg-Emden with six. The Stags won titles in 1995-96-99-2002-03-04. They meet Grayville (15-5) in the 3:00 p.m. first round match Saturday.

The largest school in this year.s field is Toluca Fieldcrest West with a 7-8 grade enrollment of 110. Enrollments for the remainder of the field (7-8 only are: Springfield St. Agnes 107, Princeville 105, Chandlerville A-C Central 90, Raymond Lincolnwood 83, Findlay Oakw Valley 81, La Harpe 81, Royal Prairieview 79, Hume Shiloh 71, Ottawa Wallace 68, St. Elmo 68, Thornton Wolcott 67, Mt. Pulaski 59, East Peoria Robein 49, Grayville 46 and Hartsburg-Emden 42. The average 7-8 grade enrollment of the 16 teams in the 2006 7A state final is 75.3 per school.

Four of the 16 teams in this year.s field are making their first appearance at the State Tournament. They are Ottawa Wallace, Springfield St. Agnes, Findlay Okaw Valley and Princeville. Only three of the teams are appearing for more than the fourth time. Harstburg-Emden leads the way and is making its 12th appearance in the 18-year history of Class 7A competition. Mt. Pulaski is appearing for the 11th time. Royal Prairieview is making its seventh appearance.

Of the 212 girls listed on the rosters for the 16 qualifiers, only 14 are 5-foot-7 or taller. Hartsburg-Emden can have 5-7 outside hitter Lacey Shelabarger and 5-9 middle hitter Kelsi Ubbenga on the floor at the same time. Mt. Pulaski can have 5-10 Samantha Nichols and 5-7 Bree Selenik in the lineup together. Royal Prairieview can put 5-10 Rachel Mullvain and 5-8 Katelyn Behrens on the floor together. First Round pairings for Saturday are:

Match 1   9:30 a.m.   Ottawa Wallace (17-1) vs. Springfield St. Agnes (18-6)
Match 2   10:45 a.m.   Thornton Wolcott (16-0) vs. Hume Shiloh (15-6)
Match 3   12:00 noon   La Harpe (21-2) vs. Findlay Okaw Valley (16-2)
Match 4   1:15 p.m.   East Peoria Robein (15-8) vs. Princeville (10-6)
Match 5   3:00 p.m.   Hartsburg-Emden (23-0) vs. Grayville (15-5)
Match 6   4:15 p.m.   Mt. Pulaski (16-9) vs. St. Elmo (21-2)
Match 7   5:30 p.m.   Raymond Lincolnwood (17-8) vs. Royal Prairieview (19-0)
Match 8   6:45 p.m.   Toluca Fieldcrest West (18-3) vs. Chandlerville A-C Central (23-1)

Visit www.iesa.org for additional information regarding this, and all other, IESA state final events. Click on the Volleyball link at the top of the Web Site front page.



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