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Eighth Grade Volleyball State Final Tournaments Begin Saturday

Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) history will be made when four champions are crowned in the Eighth Grade Girls State Volleyball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (March 17) and concludes Tuesday (March 20) at four sites.

Class 1A will be hosted by Hartsburg-Emden. Class 2A will be played at Bloomington (Central Catholic) High School with Bloomington Holy Trinity the host school. Stephen Decatur Middle School will be the site of Class 3A. Chatham Glenwood Middle School will host Class 4A at Chatham (Glenwood) High School.

The time schedule for all four tournaments will be the same. Quarterfinals will be played Saturday with the first of four games beginning at 10:00 a.m. The four quarterfinal winners will meet in semifinal matches Saturday evening with the first of two matches set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Third place and championship matches will be played Tuesday with the third place match set for 6:00 p.m. and the championship match scheduled for 7:30.

The price of admission Saturday is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for seniors (62 and over) and students (K-8), and is good for all matches Saturday. Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free. Fans attending the matches Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry into the facility throughout the day. The price of admission for the third place and championship match session Thursday will be $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for seniors and students (K-8). Children younger than kindergarten again are admitted free.

IESA girls volleyball began in 1976. There was one-class competition from 1976-84, and in 1985 the state series was divided into Class A and Class AA by school size. From 1989-2006, there were Class A and Class AA state series for both seventh grade and eighth grade. This year the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

The 2007 state tournament format and playing schedule is different than in previous years. Until this year, 16 Class A and Class AA teams in seventh grade and eighth grade advanced to two respective 16-team state finals, and competition was conducted in a three-day format.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Volleyball line in the orange box at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the four 2007 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Perennial power and tournament host Hartsburg-Emden is one of three teams with 20 or more wins playing in the Class 1A State Tournament. The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 145-23, a winning percentage of .863.

Hartsburg-Emden, Peoria Limestone Walters and West Salem also advanced their seventh grade teams to the Class 1A state final. Hartsburg-Emden beat West Salem 25-19, 25-16 for the seventh grade Class 1A title Tuesday (March 13).

In Saturday's Eighth Grade Class 1A quarterfinals, Hartsburg-Emden (23-2) meets Royal Prairieview Ogden (18-5) in the first match at 10:00 a.m. Divernon (14-2) battles Cornell (20-2) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. Then Peoria Limestone Walters (18-5) faces West Salem (18-3) at 12:30 p.m. In the final quarterfinal match at 1:45 p.m. Griggsville-Perry (13-3) plays Buckley St. John's (21-1).

Hartsburg-Emden went 27-0 last year to win the final Class 7A State Tournament. It was the fourth time Hartsburg-Emden was undefeated state champion. The Stags were 29-0 in 8A in 2004, 30-0 in 8A in 2003 and 27-0 in 7A in 1996.

Four of the players on this year's eighth grade team played Tuesday night for the seventh grade Class 1A state champions. They are 4-9 defensive specialist Alli Watts, 5-2 outside hitter Mary Rankin, 5-0 setter Erin Rankin and 4-9 setter Jessie Eeten. This year's eighth grade team has 5-10 middle hitter Kelsi Ubbenga and 5-9 outside hitter Lacey Shelabarger. The Stags also have 5-7 Allisa Hoerbert as an outside hitter.

Royal Prairieview Ogden has only ten players on the roster, but it includes 5-10 middle hitter Katlyn Behrens, 5-11 middle hitter Rachel Mullvain and 5-8 outside hitters Alissa Mennega, Megan Siuts and Hannah Ingrum. Setter for the Mustangs is 5-9 Kelsie Rademacher, while 5-9 Katie Trail is a defensive specialist.

Divernon has only three eighth graders on its roster of 12 players - 5-6 outside hitter Bryanna Stevens, 5-7 middle hitter Shelby Dowson and 5-4 setter Tiffany Bly. Cornell, meanwhile, has only eight players on its roster and two are seventh graders. The Cougars have 5-7 Taylor Cool in the middle and 5-6 setter Caroline Loudon. They are the only players on the team taller than 5-4.

Peoria Limestone Walters has a roster of 14 and seven of the players are eight graders. Veteran Coach Al Huber has 5-8 Sami Siebenthal as a middle hitter, with 5-6 Jennifer Jones, 5-7 sixth grader Kelly Arnett and 5-6 Bethany Velde hitting from the outside. Setters are 5-3 Megan Funke and Emily Karl.

West Salem has 5-8 Audrey Krajec at middle hitter, 5-9 Deidre Markman at outside hitter and 5-7 Taylor Kelsey at outside hitter. They are three of the five eighth graders on the team. The others are 5-5 outside hitter Adrianne Clodfelter and 5-4 middle hitter Kensie Boewe. Six of the players on this year's eighth grade team played Tuesday night for the seventh grade Class 1A state title.

Griggsville-Perry's middle hitters are 5-5 Rhea Hobson and 5-5 seventh grader Marlee Bradshaw. The Eagles also have 5-7 defensive specialist Taylor Crawford and 5-7 outside hitter Lexi Despain. Setters are 5-6 Lacey Emick and 5-5 Alex Moore. All of them were members of the Eagles' eighth grade girls basketball team that made it the Class 1A state final.

Buckley St. John's, with a 7-8 grade enrollment of 16, has a roster of 11 players - four in eighth grade, four in seventh and three in sixth. Middle hitter Allison Perkinson is 5-9, while 5-6 Dani Decker and 5-9 Amalia Jording are outside hitters. Also at middle hitter for the Eagles is 5-6 sixth grader Kayla Cowan. Setter is 5-6 Mallory Quinn.

Of the 98 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 21 are sixth graders, 26 are seventh graders and 51 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-1A is the smallest class. The combined enrollment of the eight finalists is 336. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Buckley St. John's 16, Cornell 32, West Salem 35, Divernon 41, Peoria Limestone Walters 42, Hartsburg-Emden 46, Griggsville-Perry 61 and Royal Prairieview Ogden 63.

Class 2A

Unbeaten Girard (18-0) heads the field for the Class 2A State Tournament and is seeking to become the 38th school to win a state title without a blemish on its record. The combined win-loss record of the eight finalists is 149-29, a winning percentage of .830.

La Harpe (22-4) meets Princeville (13-5) in the first match of the quarterfinals Saturday at 10:00 a.m. In Game 2, it's Seneca (12-8) versus Dieterich (16-6) at 11:15 a.m. Then at 12:30 p.m. Chandlerville A-C Central (23-1) battles Girard. In the last quarterfinal match, Normal Epiphany (21-2) faces Oakland Lake Crest at 1:45 p.m. (Oakland and Kansas are a co-op team and the team uses Tri-County as its name.)

La Harpe has only two players taller than 5-4 and will be significantly shorter than Princeville. Tallest of the Eagles is 5-10 outside hitter Carter Wear. Next is 5-5 outside hitter Bali Campbell. Seven of the players on La Harpe's volleyball team also played on its girls basketball team that lost only one game all year - a semifinal loss to unbeaten Normal Epiphany, which went on to take the Class 2A girls basketball title. Princeville has seven players taller than 5-5. Middle hitter Lauren Dye is 5-9. Middle hitter Caitlyn Godfrey is 5-8. Outside hitter Kate Morrissey is 5-8. Setters Taylor Speckhart and Shannon Murphy are both 5-7. Middle hitter Kayla Routh is 5-6.

Seneca has five players 5-7 or taller. Victoria Imes is a 5-9 middle hitter and 5-8 Amanda Coster is an outside hitter. At 5-7 are outside hitter Brittany Armstrong, middle hitter Vanessa Albarran and outside hitter Monica Breyne. Setter is 5-4 Alexis Magnant. Seneca's eighth grade girls basketball team made it to the Class 2A state final, losing to La Harpe in the quarterfinals.

Dieterich can put of a front row of 5-10 middle hitter Kylie Zumbahlen, 5-9 outside hitter Brandi Osborn and 5-8 Miranda Goodman. The Roadrunners also have 5-7 outside hitter Katelyn Hartke. Setters are 5-6 Brittney Niemerg and 5-7 Olivia Kuhl.

Jenny Lewis is the tallest player for Chandlerville A-C Central at 5-8 and she is a setter along with 5-4 Brittany Stribling. Carly Abbott is a 5-7 middle hitter. The Lady Knights have only two players taller than 5-5 on their 14-member roster. Tallest players for Girard are 5-6 defensive specialist Cassy Frederick, 5-6 setter Brooke Griffith and 5-6 outside hitter Shana Springman.

Four members of the Normal Epiphany Class 2A championship basketball team play on the volleyball team. They are 5-9 middle hitter Jess Reinhart, 5-7 outside hitter Amanda Hess, 5-8 middle hitter Mia Hartung and 5-7 outside hitter Emily Beoletto. The Knights also have 5-8 Katie Brelsfoard and 5-6 Catie Whalen for the front row.

Tri-County has 5-10 Liz Timmons in the middle along with 5-8 Lacie Dodge and 5-7 Kathleen White. The Titans have only four players taller than 5-5 on their 15-player roster. Setter Brittini Hoel is 5-6.

Of the 104 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, four are sixth graders, five are seventh graders and 95 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-2A is the second smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Chandlerville A-C Central 78, Dieterich 79, La Harpe 80, Normal Epiphany 96, Princeville 104, Girard 106, Oakland Lake Crest 107 and Seneca 136.

Class 3A

There are three unbeaten teams in the Class 3A State Tournament - Toledo Cumberland (22-0), Carlinville (25-0) and Macomb (18-0). Toledo Cumberland and Carlinville are in the upper bracket.

There have been 37 unbeaten state champions in the 31-year history of IESA girls volleyball. The last unbeaten champion was Hartsburg-Emden (27-0) in Class 7A in 2006.

Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS (16-6) plays Toledo Cumberland in the tournament's opening match Saturday at 10:00 a.m. In Match 2, Tremont (18-1) meets Carlinville at 11:15 a.m. Then Macomb plays St. Joseph (19-2) at 12:30 p.m. In the final quarterfinal match, Metamora GS (16-5) battles Wilmington Stevens (8-10).

The combined won-loss record of the eight Class 3A finalists is 142-24, a winning percentage of .855.

Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS can put 5-8 middle hitters Lindsay Elliott and Tamara Grindley at the net with 5-3 Hillary Foster, 5-3 Shawna Baker, 5-6 Marcie Crawford, 5-5 Amber Johnson or 5-6 Kalyn Reynolds as outside hitters. Setters for the Knights are 5-5 Hannah Bowen, 5-7 Danielle Thompson and 5-4 Jordan Ryan. Toledo Cumberland can counter with 5-8 Taylor Dalton, 5-6 Tayler McCollough and 5-7 Mercedes Sparks. The Raiders have five setters including 5-6 Kamisha Holsapple.

Tremont came back after losing the first game and being down 16-7 in the second game to win a three-game sectional match over Mackinaw Dee-Mack. Tremont has 5-10 Nichole Wagenbach in the middle along with 5-8 Bethany Szetela, 5-8 Haley Fleming, 5-7 Maranda Popejoy, and 5-7 Mackenzie Wagenbach. Setter for the Turks is 5-2 Ashley Kilgus. The Turks' only loss this year was to Stanford Olympia in a three-game match. Carlinville boasts a trio of 5-8 hitters. Katie Graham and Carlee Graham are middle hitters and Kelsey Card is an outside hitter.

Macomb lists 5-11 Chandler Horrell as a setter with 5-8 Emma Anderson and 5-6 Cassie Combs in the middle. The Mustangs' other setter is 5-2 Brooke Griswold. St. Joseph has nine hitters 5-5 or taller. Tallest for the Panthers is 5-8 outside hitter Hayley Peters. Their setters are 5-0 Katelin Dalton and 5-3 Haley Peters.

Metamora GS has four hitters at 5-8. They are middle hitters Courtney Callear and Kelsey Nafziger and outside hitters Ashley Huser and seventh grader Kristin Rauh. Wilmington Stevens can counter with five hitters 5-7 or taller. They are 5-7 outside hitter Lacey Wright with 5-7 Cheryl Wilson, 5-8 Sarah Coleman, 5-8 Emily Webb and 5-8 Lindsey Godsey as middle hitters.

Of the 104 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, two are sixth graders, seven are seventh graders and 95 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-3A is the second largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS 146, Tremont 153, St. Joseph 160, Toledo Cumberland 167, Metamora GS 175, Carlinville 208, Wilmington Stevens 226 and Macomb 258.

Class 4A

Winning the Class 4A State Tournament literally will be a tall order. Of the 114 players listed on the team rosters for the eight finalists, 30 are 5-8 or taller. And each of the teams has at least one player in that group.

Minooka (18-3) meets East St. Louis Clark (17-3) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then Champaign Jefferson (17-4) faces Lansing Memorial (16-5) at 11:15. In Match No. 3 it's Manteno (18-5) versus Normal Kingsley (17-2). The last quarterfinal has Shorewood Troy (22-1) against Quincy (20-5).

Minooka has the fewest players 5-8 or taller, just 5-8 middle hitter Caleigh Hill. Middle hitters Dariyan Hopper and April Wilke are both 5-7. Minooka's setters are 5-3 Kayla Ruettiger and 5-5 Lexie Mancini. East St. Louis Clark, on the other hand, has five players 5-8 or taller. Coach Betty Ward can use 6-0 middle hitters Davianna Holmes, a seventh grader, and Shanae Drummond, 5-10 outside hitter Chelsie Townsend, 5-8 outside hitter Rayquel McGee and 5-8 outside hitter Alesha McCaskill.

East St. Louis Clark took third place in the last Class 8AA state tournament last year. Six members of this year's team were on last year's trophy-winning squad. In addition to Rayquel McGee, the Cardinals return 5-7 outside hitter Brandi Wright, 5-2 setter Breisha Banks, 5-4 setter Amber Stanley, 5-5 outside hitter Kianna Berry and 5-7 middle hitter Kennaja Robinson.

Champaign Jefferson, Lansing Memorial and Quincy were in last year's Class 8AA state final, too. They had no seventh graders on their rosters last year.

Champaign Jefferson has a trio of tall players in 5-8 middle hitter Morgan Leach, 5-9 middle hitter Sydney Sims and 5-9 outside hitter Jasmine Small. Lansing Memorial, whose seventh grade team this year played for third place in the Class 4A state final, boasts 5-10 outside hitter Courtney Podgorski and 5-9 outside hitter Sophie Kessler. The Mustangs also have 5-7 setter Rhiannon Hanft.

Manteno, the smallest school in the Class 4A field, has four tall middle hitters. They are 5-10 Mary Dodge, 5-10 Phable Roter, 5-9 Lauren Ratliff and 5-8 Brittani McCorkle. The Panthers have 5-6 Keeley Mazurkiewicz, 5-5 Kristi Demonbreun and 5-3 Ana Burley as setters.

Normal Kingsley will counter with a huge lineup. The Cavaliers have 5-11 middle hitters Ellie Bliss and Lauren Berry, 5-10 middle hitter Blair Harris, 5-10 outside hitter Kory Goeken, 5-9 outside hitter Devon Lott, 5-9 middle hitter Aleigh Day and 5-8 seventh grade middle hitter Holly Pollock. Setters are 5-5 Natalie Liesman and 5-6 Ashtin Frank.

Shorewood Troy has four hitters 5-8 or taller, but also relies on two others. Middle hitters are 5-8 Morgan Graves and 5-9 Stephanie Furr. Outside hitters are 5-8 Jennifer Muth and 5-8 Emily Vanasek, plus 5-6 Jackie Wysocki and 5-3 Samantha Gewalt. Setters for the Trojans are 5-3 Sarah Wysock and 5-4 Marissa Graves. Shorewood Troy's only loss this year was to Frankfort Summit Hill in the conference tournament.

Quincy has 5-10 middle hitters Brittany Houghton and seventh grader Mariah Hoke and 5-8 Angela Shupe. Setters for the Comets are 5-4 Marissa Bartz and 5-4 Kayla Bartz.

The combined win-loss record of the quarterfinalists is 145-28, a winning percentage of .838.

Of the 114 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, seven are seventh graders and 106 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Manteno 316, East St. Louis Clark 359, Champaign Jefferson 474, Lansing Memorial 520, Minooka 590, Normal Kingsley 653, Shorewood Troy 793 and Quincy 1006.



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