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Eighth Grade Volleyball State Final Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the second year, four champions will be crowned in the Illinois Elementary School association (IESA) 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 15) and concludes Tuesday (March 18) 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 in Decatur will be the site of Class 3A. Normal Kingsley 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. and the second at 4:15 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. Since 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 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Defending champion and tournament host Hartsburg-Emden and unbeaten Springfield Calvary (25-0) headline the field playing in the Class 1A State Tournament. The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 144-31, a winning percentage of .823.

Hartsburg-Emden, Royal Prairieview Ogden and West Salem are making their second consecutive appearances in the eighth grade Class 1A state final. Marseilles Milton Pope, Bowen Southeastern and Hartsburg-Emden also advanced their seventh grade teams to the 2008 Class 1A state final. Hartsburg-Emden beat Kincaid South Fork 25-4, 25-14 for the seventh grade Class 1A title Tuesday (March 11).

In Saturday's Eighth Grade Class 1A quarterfinals, Royal Prairieview Ogden (22-2) meets Springfield Calvary in the opener at 10:00 a.m. Then Marseilles Milton Pope (17-4) faces Bowen Southeastern (14-6) at 11:15 a.m. Hartsburg-Emden (16-7) plays Decatur Garfield Montessori (17-5) at 12:30 p.m. West Salem (16-3) and Pontiac St. Mary's (17-4) battle in the last quarterfinal match at 1:45 p.m.

Royal Prairieview Ogden has 10 players on the roster with 5-7 outside hitter Josey Fruhling and 5-7 middle hitter Taylor Ehmen the tallest.

Springfield Calvary won the eighth grade Class 1A girls state basketball title and seven members of that team are on the Saints' volleyball team. Alena McCallon, a 5-10 defensive specialist, is Springfield Calvary's tallest player. Among the outside hitters are 5-8 Danielle Rhodes, and 5-7 Cristen Seiders, 5-5 Zahna Medley and 5-5 Kristina Stroble, all starters on the basketball team. Lauren Tarpley, a 5-8 middle hitter, did not play on the basketball team.

Marseilles Milton Pope has only eight players on the roster and only 5-2 defensive specialist Olivia Bryant is shorter than 5-6. The Pilots list Alexis Rice and Jacqueline Witczak, both 5-8, as setters along with 5-8 Chelsea Humphreys at middle hitter.

Bowen Southeastern was the only state final qualifier needing three games in the sectional to advance to the state tournament. The Lady Suns beat Hardin St. Norbert 25-8, 21-25, 26-24 in the sectional. Tallest players are 5-8 middle hitters Alivia Nelson and Shianne Flesner.

Eight of the 12 players on the Hartsburg-Emden eighth grade roster were on the 2008 seventh grade team. The four eighth graders on the team are 5-2 Alli Watts and 5-4 Kortney Watts, both defensive specialists, 5-5 outside hitter Mark Rankin and 5-5 outside hitter Allie Shoultz.

Decatur Garfield Montessori has only three eighth graders on the roster. They are 5-8 middle hitter Sydnee Sturdivant, 5-2 defensive specialist Katie Malone and 5-6 outside hitter Sara Franks.

West Salem's tallest player is 5-8 eighth grader Sam Potter, an outside hitter.

Pontiac St. Mary's can put 5-8 eighth grade defensive specialists Brooke Mills and Laine Dohleman at the net together.

Of the 92 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 2 are fifth graders, 3 are sixth graders, 25 are seventh graders and 62 are eighth 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 finalists is 432. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Hartsburg-Emden 40, West Salem 40, Marseilles Milton Pope 49, Pontiac St. Mary's 50, Royal Prairieview Ogden 60, Springfield Calvary 60, Decatur Garfield Montessori 62 and Bowen Southeastern 71.

Class 2A

Unbeaten Decatur Holy Family (23-0) tops a rugged field in the Class 2A State Tournament where six of the eight finalists have won 18 or more matches.

While there are no repeaters from last year's state final in this year's tournament, three of the qualifiers Mt. Pulaski, Mendon Unity and Grant Park -- had their seventh grade teams make the 2008 Class 2A state final. Perennial power Mt. Pulaski's seventh graders beat Lewistown Central 25-9, 25-11 for the Class 2A title Tuesday (March 11).

Saturday's first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. matches Lexington (21-2) against Mt. Pulaski (18-6). Then Stewardson-Strasburg (13-9) meets Mendon Unity (18-6) at 11:15 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., Decatur Holy Family battles Bartonville Oak Grove West (15-8). Carrollton GS (19-1) plays Grant Park (22-3) in the last quarterfinal match at 1:45 p.m.

Lexington's eighth grade girls basketball team took fourth in the Class 2A state final. Eight players on that team are on this year's volleyball squad. Tallest players on the volleyball team are 5-8 outside hitter Taylor Leake and 5-8 middle hitter Bridgette Sims. Sydney Freed is a 5-6 standout defensive specialist.

There are only four eighth graders on the Mt. Pulaski team. They are 5-5 outside hitter Katey Bobell, 5-3 outside hitter Samantha Fanning, 5-5 outside hitter Taylor Schahl and 5-4 defensive specialist Marlea Elias. Two seventh graders, 5-6 middle hitter Lindsay Davis and 5-0 outside hitter Haley Maus, were not on the seventh grade team's tournament roster.

Kayla Mummel is the tallest player on the Stewardson-Strasburg roster. She is 5-9. Stewardson-Strasburg came back from losing the first game of the sectional to Albion to earn the trip to the state tournament with a 14-25, 25-23, 25-23 win.

Mendon Unity also had to go three games to win the sectional. The Colts beat Hamilton 25-21, 20-25, 25-17. Only two of the 15 players on the roster are 5-7 or taller. They are 5-8 middle hitter Rachel Rush and 5-7 setter Brooklyn Moore, a seventh grader who had seven service points for her team in the quarterfinal three-game loss to Albion in the seventh grade Class 2A state final last weekend.

Decatur Holy Family is the third qualifier to need three games to win the sectional. The Knights beat rugged Oakland Lake Crest 25-19, 23-25, 25-11 on Tri-County's home court. Decatur Holy Family has four players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-9 outside hitter Alexis Clemons, 5-8 middle hitter Claire Raycraft, 5-7 middle hitter Maggie Good and 5-7 defensive specialist Jordan Rodgers.

Bartonville Oak Grove West has only 11 players on the roster with the tallest being 5-8 middle hitter Morgan Schwindenhammer, a seventh grader.

Carrollton GS has nine players on the roster 5-6 or taller. Setters are 5-6 Kimberly Lake and 5-4 Jade Pfleger.

Grant Park has the tallest players in the tournament in 6-0 middle hitter Corryn Poby and 5-10 middle hitter Madison Gossett. The Dragons also have four 5-7 players on the roster including setters Katie McNally and Olivia McCormick.

The combined win-loss record of the eight finalists is 149-35, a winning percentage of .810.

Of the 103 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, three are sixth graders, 21 are seventh graders and 79 are eighth 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: Stewardson-Strasburg 73, Mt. Pulaski 75, Grant Park 90, Decatur Holy Family 97, Mendon Unity 98, Lexington 100, Carrollton GS 104 and Bartonville Oak Grove West 109.

Class 3A

Four of the eight teams competing in this year's tournament have won 21 or more matches including unbeaten Metamora GS (23-0). Two of the eight finalists played in last year's first Class 3A event Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS and Metamora GS, which placed fourth.

Four of the eight had their seventh grade teams in that Class 3A state final. They were Mackinaw Dee-Mack, Glasford Illini Bluffs, Staunton and Shelbyville Moulton. Mackinaw Dee-Mack's seventh graders beat Lockport Kelvin Grove 25-7, 25-20 for the Class 3A title Tuesday (March 11).

Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS was seeded second in the regional, but in three state series matches has given up more than 19 points in a game only once. The Knights have 5-11 middle hitter Jacquelyn O'Neal and 5-10 middle hitter Kaitlyn Zelhart.

Mackinaw Dee-Mack's only loss this year was to Metamora GS. The Braves have a strong presence at the net with 5-9 middle hitter Alyssa Lelm and 5-8 middle hitter Amber Schmidgall. Setter Kayla Schamberger also is a strong server. Only two members of the school's seventh grade team are on the eighth grade roster. They are setter Paige Hasty and middle hitter Nicole Welch.

Pleasant Plains has only three players taller than 5-5. They are 5-9 defensive specialist Paige Graham, 5-6 defensive specialist Madison Oschwald and 5-6 middle hitter Cody Stone. The Redbirds advanced to the state final by beating Mounds Meridian 23-25, 25-18, 25-23.

Manhattan can throw a huge front line at the net with 5-10 middle hitters Alyssa Leggero and Colleen Hansen along with 5-10 outside hitter Dee Dee Dowd. Seven other members of the team are 5-6 or taller, including 5-7 setter Amy Bernhard and 5-9 setter Kylie Bennett.

Glasford Illini Bluffs finished second in the Class 2A eighth grade girls basketball tournament and nine members of that team are on the eighth grade Class 3A volleyball team. The Tigers have size with 5-10 outside hitter Kenzie Wall and 5-10 setter Quincy Merritt the tallest. Outside hitters Hannah Wall and Abbie Tinnon are both 5-8. All but Tinnon were on the basketball team.

Metamora GS has 5-10 middle hitter Nicole Musselman with 5-9 Kristin Rauh at setter, 5-8 Katie White at middle hitter and 5-7 Lindsey Wille at middle hitter. The Redbirds advanced unbeaten to the state final with an epic 33-31, 21-25, 25-16 win over Morris Shabbona in the Wenona Fieldcrest Sectional.

Staunton had little trouble winning the regional, but had to fight off defending Class 3A champion Carlinville in the sectional, 25-18, 25-23. Tallets player on the team is 5-8 outside hitter Katie Yakos.

Ten of the 13 squad members for Shelbyville Moulton are 5-5 or taller. Amanda Finley is a 5-9 middle hitter and the tallest player on the team.

The combined won-loss record of the eight Class 3A finalists is 153-21, a winning percentage of .879.

Of the 99 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, six are seventh graders and 93 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 3A is the second largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS 135, Glasford Illini Bluffs 141, Mackinaw Dee-Mack 160, Metamora GS 172, Shelbyville Moulton 187, Staunton 192, Pleasant Plains 209 and Manhattan 259.

Class 4A

Three of the top four place finishing teams in last year's first eighth grade Class 4A state tournament return this year, with defending champion Normal Kingsley leading the way. Also back are third place finisher Shorewood Troy, fourth place finisher Lansing Memorial and quarterfinalist Champaign Jefferson.

Three of the teams also had their seventh grade teams qualify for the state final. They were Edwardsville Lincoln, Lansing Memorial and Chatham Glenwood. The Chatham Glenwood team lost to Bloomington JHS 25-22, 25-19 for the Class 4A state title Tuesday (March 11).

Winning the Class 4A State Tournament literally will be a tall order. Of the 102 players listed on the team rosters for the eight finalists, 16 are 5-8 or taller. And seven of the eight teams have at least one player that tall, including defending champion Normal Kingsley with four.

Channahon has one of the tall one in 5-8 middle hitter Megan Butler. Top seeded in the regional, the Indians needed three games to get past Minooka in the regional final and another three games to win the sectional over Coal City 24-26, 25-9, 25-15.

Edwardsville Lincoln can match Normal Kingsley's height at the net. At middle hitter are 5-10 Emily Shashack and 5-8 Erin Bell. Taylor Marshall is a 5-8 outside hitter and 5-8 Sarah Mislan is one of four setters on the team.

Shorewood Troy also qualified its Class 4A girls basketball team for the state final. Five members of that team are on this volleyball squad including 6-0 Ashley Clemmons.

Peotone is the shortest team in the field with only four of its 11 squad members taller than 5-6. Middle hitter Robin Osmolski and setter Kayce Nagel are the tallest players on the team at 5-7.

Normal Kingsley beat cross-town rival Normal Chiddix in three games to win the regional title, then rolled past Morton JHS 25-9, 25-12 to win the sectional. The Cavaliers went 20-2 last year to take the initial Class 4A crown. The Cavaliers can throw a trio of 5-9 hitters at their opponents in addition to 6-1 setter Maggie Dunbar. The 5-9 hitters are Brittany Bond, Holly Pollock and Tori Brown, a seventh grader.

Lansing Memorial has two players in 5-10, outside hitter Danijela Jerkan and 5-8 outside hitter Nicole Gill. After rolling through the regional the Mustangs needed three games to capture the sectional with a 25-11, 23-25, 25-5 win over Calumet City Wentworth.

Champaign Jefferson needed three games in the sectional to beat Urbana MS 25-16, 19-25, 25-15. Seeded No. 2 in the regional, the Jaguars had to go three games in the semifinals against Rantoul Eater before knocking off No. 1 seed Danville North Ridge 25-18, 25-23 in the regional final. Champaign Jefferson can cover the net with 5-10 middle hitter Jill Patterson, 5-9 middle hitter Megan McLennard and 5-10 outside hitter Jennifer Wise.

Chatham Glenwood has 5-8 outside hitter Maddie Hannah. Eleven players on the roster of 15 are 5-5 or taller.

The combined win-loss record of the quarterfinalists is 153-31, a winning percentage of .832.

Of the 102 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, three are seventh graders and 101 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Peotone 301, Channahon 340, Champaign Jefferson 464, Edwardsville Lincoln 524, Lansing Memorial 575, Chatham Glenwood 634, Normal Kingsley 666 and Shorewood Troy 846.



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