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2008 Seventh Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For just the second time in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) history four champions will be crowned in the Seventh Grade Girls State Volleyball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (March 8) and concludes Tuesday (March 11) at four sites.

Class 1A will be hosted by Illiopolis Sangamon Valley. Class 2A will be played at Pawnee High School. Assumption Central A & M Junior High School will be the site of Class 3A. Bloomington Junior High School will host Class 4A.

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 afternoon with the first of two matches set to begin at 3:00 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. Beginning in 2007, the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

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 2008 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Defending champion Hartsburg-Emden and unbeaten Streator Woodland (20-0) top the field for the Class 1A State Tournament. Both are in the lower bracket.

The eight teams have a combined won-loss record of 117-33, a winning percentage of .780.

Grayville (8-4) meets Bowen Southeastern (12-5) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Kincaid South Fork (20-1) faces Buckley St. John's (7-13) in the second quarterfinal at 11:15 a.m. Then Streator Woodland squares off against Waverly (19-5) at 12:30 p.m. In the nightcap, Hartsburg-Emden (16-2) battles Marseilles Milton Pope (16-3) at 1:45 p.m.

Ten of the 15 players on the Grayville team are sixth grade students and eight players on the roster are shorter than 5-0. The Bison do have 5-6 Shelby McGarvey and 5-6 Whitney Beck, both sixth graders, among the middle hitters.

Tallest players for Bowen Southeastern are 5-5 middle hitter Kayla Twidell and 5-5 outside hitter Ashlan Taylor.

Kincaid South Fork is appearing in the state final for the second straight year. The Ponies lost to eventual champion Hartsburg-Emden in the quarterfinals last year. The only loss this season was to Greenview. Kincaid South Fork has a seven-player rotation. Seven of the 11 players on the volleyball roster played on the school's seventh grade girls basketball team that finished third in Class 2A last December.

Buckley St. John's has only two players on the roster taller than 5-3. They are 5-5 setter Kayla Cowan and 5-5 middle hitter Kennedy Witheft. The Eagles started the regional as the No. 2 seed and took a 3-13 record into it. They beat Rossville-Alvin 25-6, 25-6 in their first match, then Crescent City 25-16, 25-6 in the semifinals and finally No. 1 seed Gifford 25-16, 25-15 in the regional final. Buckley St. John's stopped Royal Prairie View 25-14, 25-8 in the sectional.

Streator Woodland can put a front line of 5-9 middle hitter Cheyenne Meredith, 5-8 middle hitter Alana Reihl and 5-6 middle hitter Addison Kirchner on the floor.

Waverly advanced from the sectional with a 25-18, 18-25, 26-24 win over East St. Louis Jackson. The Scotties can put a front row of 5-7 outside hitter Sydney Timmons, 5-6 middle hitter Christina Clark and/or Tori Barnard, Josie Mutch or Mariah Maher, all three 5-5, on the floor.

Hartsburg-Emden came from a one-game deficit to oust perennial powerhouse Peoria Limestone Walters, 23-25, 25-12, 25-14, in the sectional. Coach Jennifer Hayes returned both of her setters from last year's seventh grade title team. They are 5-5 Erin Rankin and 5-3 Jessie Eeten. The Stags can use 5-10 Sydni Rohlfs, 5-9 Samantha Swart, 5-9 Alicia Clark and/or 5-8 Faith Jones at the net. Eeten and Rankin served for 11 and 6 points, respectively, in the Hartsburg-Emden quarterfinal win over Kincaid South Fork last year. Rohlfs served for 13 points and Swart one in the same game.

Marseilles Milton Pope has only eight players on the roster, but the Pilots have height. Frontliners include 5-10 middle hitter Aspen Stuedemann, 5-8 middle hitter Nicole Pihl and 5-8 outside hitter Mady Toynton.

Of the 93 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, four are fifth graders, 22 are sixth graders and 67 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 1A is the smallest class. The combined enrollment of the eight Class 1A finalists is 426. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Buckley St. John's 25, Hartsburg-Emden 40, Marseilles Milton Pope 49, Grayville 47, Kincaid South Fork 59, Streator Woodland 65, Waverly 70 and Bowen Southeastern 71.

Class 2A

Mt. Pulaski and Lewistown Central have advanced to the state final for the second straight year and that experience might be the key factor in what appears to be a wide open race to the title. Mt. Pulaski finished third last year.

Oakland Lake Crest (17-7) meets Normal Epiphany (15-6) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Grant Park (13-10) faces Mt. Pulaski (14-8) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. Then Mendon Unity (18-3) plays Albion (14-5) at 12:30 p.m. In the 1:45 p.m. match, Raymond Lincolnwood (19-5) battles Lewistown Central (13-9).

The Tri-County coop team of Oakland Lake Crest and Kansas beat the odds in advancing to the state tournament. The Titans were fourth seeded in the regional and beat Homer Heritage 25-14, 25-8 in its first regional game. Then No. 1 seed Chrisman Scottland fell 25-14, 17-25, 25-14 in the semifinals. Finally, No. 2 seed Paris Crestwood was beaten 25-8, 25-11. In the sectional, the Titans beat Decatur Holy Family 25-7, 25-14. Seven of the 13 players on the roster are sixth graders. Tallest squad members are 5-6 outside hitter Kassidy Hunt and 5-6 middle hitter Kyla Skinner.

Normal Epiphany finished fourth in the rugged Sangamon Valley Conference and is peaking at the right time. The Knights are short—with only 5-7 middle hitter Megan O'Donnell taller than 5-5 on a 13-player squad. Normal Epiphany beat Roanoke-Benson 25-22, 25-21 for the regional title and then Champaign St. Matthew 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 in the sectional.

Grant Park has 11 players on its roster with 5-9 Melissa Crivokapich and 5-7 Raelynn Parmely at middle hitter.

Perennial power Mt. Pulaski, the all-time IESA girls volleyball leader in state tournament matches played (91) and state tournament wins (74), was third in last year's inaugural Class 3A State Final. Coach Donna Dulle has a squad of 15 including one fifth grader, seven sixth graders and seven seventh graders. Only 5-6 middle hitter Rachel Durchholz and 5-5 outside hitter Cady Lowery are taller than 5-4.

Mendon Unity has plenty of size in 5-8 outside hitter Katelyn Metzger, 5-7 outside hitter Shelby Hilgenbrink, 5-7 setter Brooklyn Moore, 5-6 setter Breanne Begeman, 5-6 outside hitter Deborah Blickhan and 5-6 outside hitter Megan Anderson. The Colts scrambled to get to the state tournament with all their state series matches going three games. They beat Liberty 12-25, 25-21, 25-11 and Kinderhook Western 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 in the regional before beating Colchester West Pike 25-27, 25-23, 25-21 in the sectional.

Albion was the No. 2 seed in the regional and after beating Effingham St. Anthony 25-17, 25-17 in the semifinals the Lions stopped Dieterich 25-22, 25-17. Albion beat Windsor in the weather-delayed sectional 25-22, 25-17 Wednesday night (March 5). Six of the 15 players on the Albion roster are 5-6 or taller. The Lions can use 5-6 outside hitter Sequoyah Henderson, 5-7 middle hitter Rebecca Winemiller, 5-6 outside hitter Maia Atteberry, 5-7 middle hitter Melissa Moody, 5-6 outside hitter Ashley Gillard or 5-7 middle hitter Dionna Dawson in combination at the net.

Raymond Lincolnwood battled back to beat Pawnee in the regional final 22-25, 25-17, 27-25 and then beat Greenfield Wednesday (March 5) 22-25, 25-11, 25-22 in the weather-delayed sectional. The Knights have size at the net with 5-8 middle hitter Gabby Johnson, 5-7 middle hitter Kayla Payne, 5-7 middle hitter Anne Weitekamp and 5-8 setter Marissa Greenwalt.

Lewistown Central has six players 5-5 or taller with 5-8 middle hitter Brianna Hobbs the tallest at 5-8. The Indians were top-seeded in the regional but beat Elmwood 23-25, 25-23, 25-15 in the regional semifinals before posting a 25-21, 25-21 win over Princeville in the regional title match. At the sectional, Lewistown beat Peoria Hollis 25-15, 25-27, 26-24.

The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 123-53, a winning percentage of .698.

Of the 108 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, one is a fifth grader, 34 are sixth graders and 73 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 2A is the second smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mt. Pulaski 75, Raymond Lincolnwood 80, Grant Park 90, Tri-County Coop 90, Mendon Unity 98, Normal Epiphany 98, Albion 100 and Lewistown Central 114.

Class 3A

Five of the eight finalists in Class 3A come into the state tournament with two or fewer losses, led by undefeated Chillicothe (25-0). Moreover, the first quarterfinal match pits last year's Class 3A champion Glasford Illini Bluffs (18-5) against last year's runner-up, Chillicothe.

Chillicothe plays Glasford Illini Bluffs at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. In quarterfinal match No. 2, Mackinaw Dee-Mack (24-1) meets Downs Tri-Valley (16-8) at 11:15 a.m. Staunton (19-2) battles Lockport Kelvin Grove (18-2) at 12:30 p.m. Shelbyville Moulton (15-2) squares off against Riverton (17-4) at 1:45 p.m.

The combined won-loss record of the eight is 152-24, a winning percentage of .864. Downs Tri-Valley is also in the state tournament for the second straight year. Downs Tri-Valley lost a three-game match to Beardstown GS in last year's quarterfinals.

Two years ago Chillicothe brought an unbeaten record into the final Class AA seventh grade state tournament and lost the title match to Mason City Illini Central 21-9, 21-6 to finish 28-1. Last year Chillicothe lost 25-21, 25-12 in the title match to Glasford Illini Bluffs. Chillicothe came back from a 25-17 first game loss to Eureka in the regional title match to win the last two games 25-22, 26-24. Chillicothe Coach Sara Kinney uses a 10-player rotation, and the Mustangs play a tough schedule against many Class 4A teams, and the perennial powers in the other classes. Chillicothe has height with five players on the roster 5-5 or taller. Tallest is outside hitter Laura Hedden at 5-8.

Glasford Illini Bluffs went unbeaten at 26-0 and won this year's Seventh Grade Class 2A girls basketball state championship last December. Ten members of that title team are on the volleyball team. Glasford Illini Bluffs beat Avon 25-16, 24-26, 25-19 for the regional title and came back with a 26-24, 23-25, 25-17 win over Havana in the sectional. Six of the 15 players on the volleyball team are 5-5 or taller. Outside hitter Taylor McClintock at 5-7 is the tallest.

Mackinaw Dee-Mack has lost only to Hartsburg-Emden this season. Of the 11 players on the Braves roster, only two – 5-7 middle hitter Nicole Welch and 5-6 middle hitter Jamie Grethey – are taller than 5-4. Mackinaw Dee-Mack makes up for its lack of height with quickness and defense.

Downs Tri-Valley was seeded third in its regional and overcame a first game loss to next door neighbor LeRoy in a three-game regional title match. Downs Tri-Valley won the match 19-25, 25-20, 25-20. The Vikings beat Watseka Glenn Raymond 25-18, 26-24 to win the sectional. Six of the 13 players on the roster are 5-5 or taller. Setter Stefanie Sanidas is the tallest member of the team at 5-8.

Staunton has 5-7 Kelly Best and 5-6 Sophie Fairman as outside hitters and no other on the 15-player roster taller than 5-5. The Terriers were another sectional champion winning a three-game match. Staunton beat perennial rival Gillespie 25-21, 12-25, 25-23 for the sectional title.

Only four of the 14 players on the Lockport Kelvin Grove roster are taller than 5-4. Tallest is middle hitter Lauren Rogalny at 5-7. The Hornets were taken to three games in their regional tournament debut, beating Lansing Heritage 25-8, 22-25, 25-6 in the semifinals. Since then they've not been challenged. Lockport Kelvin Grove beat Herscher Limestone 25-19, 25-11 in the sectional.

Shelbyville Moulton has the tallest team in the tournament. Seven of the 13 players on the roster are 5-6 or taller. The tallest Rams are 5-9 outside hitter Abbie Watton and 5-9 middle hitter Taylor Wilcox. Allisa Hudson and Grace Moll are 5-8 middle hitters. Shelbyville Moulton is another of the sectional winners that had to come from behind to advance to the state tournament, beating Casey-Westfield 11-25, 26-24, 25-18.

Riverton's tallest player is 5-6 sixth grade defensive specialist Carlie Cuffle. All the rest of the Hawks are 5-4 or shorter. Resurging Riverton had a tough road to the state tournament, beating Pleasant Plains 25-17, 23-25, 25-21 in the regional semifinals, beating Lincoln JHS 25-16, 25-22 in the regional final and beating Blue Mound Meridian 25-23, 25-22 in the sectional.

Of the 109 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, none are fifth graders, 15 are sixth graders and 94 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Seventh Grade Class 3A is the second largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Glasford Illini Bluffs 141, Mackinaw Dee-Mack 160, Downs Tri-Valley 167, Lockport Kelvin Grove 175, Shelbyville Moulton 187, Chillicothe 188, Staunton 192 and Riverton 223.

Class 4A

Undefeated Homer Glen Homer (21-0) heads a field of eight teams with a combined won-loss record of 143-34, a winning percentage of .808.

Three of the eight finalists are making their second appearance in the 4A state final. Lansing Memorial finished third last year while Homer Glen Homer and Chatham Glenwood were quarterfinalists.

Homer Glen Homer faces Chatham Glenwood (20-2) in the first quarterfinal match Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Then Edwardsville Lincoln (17-5) meets Minooka (19-5) at 11:15 a.m. Bloomington JHS (16-7) plays Frankfort Summit Hill (17-6) at 12:30 p.m. In the last quarterfinal, Lansing Memorial (15-7) battles Mattoon (18-2).

There are two 6-0 middle hitters among the eight finalists and Homer Glen Homer has Alyssa Maloney. Frankfort Summit Hill has Danielle Todd.

Frankfort Summit Hill and Bloomington JHS also played in the Class 4A state basketball tournament in December. Bloomington JHS took second place and Frankfort Summit Hill finished third. Middle hitter, Danielle Todd, outside hitter Taylor Schissler and outside hitter Kayla Manthei played on the Summit Hill basketball team. Four Bloomington JHS basketball players are on the volleyball team. They are 5-6 middle hitter Alexis Martinez, 5-6 defensive specialist Danielle Davis, 5-9 middle hitter Mary Lawrence and 5-9 middle hitter Molly Lawrence. All four were starters on the basketball team.

Two of the finalists battled through three games in the sectional to advance to the state final.

Lansing Memorial beat Calumet City Wentworth 25-7, 23-25, 25-22. Edwardsville Lincoln beat East St. Louis Clark 26-24, 18-25, 25-16 in the weather-delayed match played Wednesday (March 5).

Of the 115 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, all are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Seventh Grade Class 4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mattoon 489, Edwardsville Lincoln 524, Lansing Memorial 575, Chatham Glenwood 634, Minooka 714, Frankfort Summit Hill 808, Homer Glen Homer 818 and Bloomington JHS 836.



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