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2009 Seventh Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For just the third 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 14) and concludes Tuesday (March 17) 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 matches 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 2009 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Two-time defending champion Hartsburg-Emden comes into the state tournament with the scent of the underdog. The Stags are only two matches above .500 at 13-11 and the field includes unbeatens Grayville and Gifford and four teams with at least 20 wins this year. In fact, three of the eight teams in this Class 1A state volleyball tournament - Gifford, Peoria Limestone Walters and Marseilles Milton Pope -- played in the Class 1A girls state basketball tournament last December.

Perennial power Peoria Limestone Walters (22-2) plays Grayville (20-0) in the first quarterfinal match Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Then Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes (20-5) meets East St. Louis Jackson (15-2) at 11:15 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., Marseilles Milton Pope (17-5) plays Gifford (19-0). In the last quarterfinal game, Waverly (22-2) battles Hartsburg-Emden. The quarterfinal winners meet Saturday afternoon in matches scheduled for 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. The third place and title matchers will be played Tuesday (March 17) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Seven of the 10 players on the Peoria Limestone Walters volleyball roster played on the school's fourth place basketball team that finished the season with a 23-2 record. Coach Al Huber has 5-11 Delaney Grafelman at middle hitter with seventh grade outside hitters 5-5 Maddie Morse, 5-4 Rebekah Schultz, and 5-5 Laura Kemper. Sixth grader McKena O'Donnell also is an outside hitter. Marissa Boyer is the setter and 5-3 Jennifer Calicotte is a defensive specialist.

Grayville is returning to the state volleyball tournament with plenty of experience. Last year the Bison lost in the quarterfinals and ten of the 15 players on that roster were sixth graders. Seven of them return this year including 5-10 middle hitter Whitney Beck, 5-9 middle hitter Shelby McGarvey, 5-9 outside hitter Kassi Linnemann, 5-4 outside hitter Kyla Harms, 5-1 outside hitter Haley Cason, 5-0 defensive specialist Morgan Rhinehart, and 4-11 setter Taylor Knight. Also returning are sixth graders Kerri Mitchell and Kelsey Buckman.

Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes has 5-9 Marie Less and 5-9 Rosie Waite at outside hitter with 5-1 Caroline Forster at setter. The Lancers were seeded second in the regional and bounced top-seeded Decatur Holy Family in three games to win the regional.

East St. Louis Jackson can throw a front wall at their opponents. The Jets have 5-7 Shamara Applebee, 5-7 Zaria Wicks 5-8 Lakeria Jone and 5-9 sixth grader Sade Vauters. They also have 5-5 setter Deuaunna Thomas.

Marseilles Milton Pope dropped a one-point game to eventually champion Springfield Christian in the quarterfinals in the basketball tournament. Six members of that team are on the volleyball roster. They are 5-6 outside hitter Emily Watts, 5-6 middle hitter Alexa Myre, 5-2 outside hitter Hope Jackson, 5-2 setter Cassidy Rice, 4-10 defensive specialist Bri Beckman and 5-1 defensive specialist Alexis Trompeter, a sixth grader.

Gifford's seventh grade girls basketball team finished the year with a 23-3 record and all 10 of the players on that team are on the volley ball squad. The Eagles have size up front in 5-7 middle hitter Kenndy Magee, 5-6 middle hitter Hannah Cargo, 5-6 middle hitter Carlie Cargo, 5-5 middle hitter Lea Peck, 5-5 middle hitter Emily King and 5-5 outside hitter Kristyn Graybill. Katey Silver is a 5-5 setter and 5-6 Haley Clark is a defensive specialist. Morgan Zindars is the other setter.

Waverly was third in seventh grade girls volleyball last year The Scotties have only four players that reach 5-5 and the three seventh graders in that group are middle hitters Breann Burt and Claire Duewer and outside hitter Moriah Hodge. Setter is 5-4 Brianna Miner. Waverly survived 25-22, 25-27, 25-23 against Augusta Southeastern in the sectional.

Hartsburg-Emden has only one seventh grader and four fifth graders on the 11-player roster. The seventh grader is 5-6 outside hitter Michelle Eads. Alicia Clark, a 5-11 fifth grader is a middle hitter. Sixth grade outside hitters include 5-3 Arriana Hoebert, 5-6 Meg Meeker and 5-5 Paige O'Brien. The sixth grade setters are 5-3 Savannah Conrady and 5-4 Lindsey Strange. Seeded third in the regional, the Stags did not give up 20 or more points in the regional until the first game of the title match, which they won over top-seeded Lincoln west-Lincoln Broadwell 25-18, 25-21. Then they beat Springfield Blessed Sacrament in three games in the sectional.

Of the 97 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 8 are fifth graders, 25 are sixth graders and 64 are seventh graders.

The combined win-loss record of the eight finalists is 148-27, a winning percentage of .845.

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 418. Enrollments of the eight finalists in order are: East St. Louis Jackson 40, Grayville 42, Hartsburg-Emden 47, Gifford 51, Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes 52, Peoria Limestone Walters 57, Marseilles Milton Pope 62 and Waverly 67.

Class 2A

Three of the schools that finished in the top four last year return their teams this year. They are defending champion Mt. Pulaski, runner-up Lewistown Central and fourth place Oakland Tri-County.

Lewistown Central (16-4-2) plays Bloomington Holy Trinity (21-3) in the opening quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then La Harpe (20-4) meets Pawnee (18-7) at 11:15. The third match is between St. Anne (15-8) and Altamont (18-2). Mt. Pulaski (9-16) battles perennial power Oakland Tri-County (16-3) at 1:45 p.m. The winners play in the semifinal matches Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. Third place and championship matches are Tuesday (March 17) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 133-47-2, a winning percentage of .740.

Seeded third in the regional, Lewistown Central has allowed only one opponent to score at least 20 points in a state series match. That was in the first regional match in the first game against sixth-seeded Cuba in a 15-20, 25-11 win. The Indians won the regional title match against No. 1 seed Abingdon 25-10, 25-8, and took the sectional in two games giving up only 14 total points. Delaney Beaird is a 5-9 middle hitter and Angie Myers is 5-7. Ally Gilmore is a 5-6 defensive specialist.

Bloomington Holy Trinity can put a team that easily averages 5-5 on the floor. The Saints have setters Caroline Holt and Danielle Moore at 5-6 and Ashley Wegeng at 5-5, with 5-6 Kaitlyn Baughman, 5-5 Jill Barth and 5-5 Beth Koenen at outside hitter. Middle hitters include 5-7 Molly McGraw, 5-6 Laken Timke, and 5-6 Claudia Zitkus. Eight members of the volleyball team played on the Saints' second place Class 2A basketball team.

La Harpe is one of the tallest teams in the field. The Eagles have 5-9 Taylor Dorch at middle hitter with 5-9 Addy Adkisson, 5-8 Laura Wilhite, 5-6 Karisa Wilson and 5-7 Makenzee Herriman at outside hitter. The setters are 5-7 Elyce Trout and 5-2 Shelby Thompson. Second-seeded La Harpe lost the first game in the regional title match against Carthage and won 22-25, 25-15, 25-14. Then the Eagles outlasted Mendon Unity 25-22, 17-25, 26-24 in the sectional.

Pawnee has 5-8 Katarina Shelton and 5-8 Kelsie Roberts at middle hitter with 5-6Danielle Simpson, 5-5 Brittany Reynolds and 5-5 Mallory Anderson at outside hitter. Courtney Tarr is a 5-5 setter. Top-seeded in the regional, the Indian lost the first game of the regional title match to Girard and came back to take the title 14-25, 25-13, 25-17.

St. Anne is one of the shortest teams in the tournament. The only players taller than 5-4 are 5-8 middle hitter Mia Smith and 5-7 middle hitter Destiny Torres. Setter is 5-4 Cassidy Stalnecker. The Giants last two state series matches were three-game battles.

Altamont also gives up height. The Wildcats do have 5-10 Gabby Alwardt at middle hitter, but only two other players taller than 5-3 in 5-6 outside hitter Lauren White and 5-6 middle hitter Alex Teasley.

Mt. Pulaski has caught fire during the state series. Mt. Pulaski was 5-16 before the start of the regional, won three matches in two games each there before slipping past always tough Chandlerville A-C Central 22-25, 25-20, 25-23 in the sectional. The Bruins have 5-4 Madison Haley at setter with 5-5 Cady Lowery at outside hitter. The middle hitters include 5-7 Emma Stewart, 5-6 Hannah Boward and 5-6 Chelsey Siembida.

Waiting for Mt. Pulaski is perennial power Oakland Tri-County with nine players 5-5 or taller. The seventh graders in that group are 5-5 defensive specialists Felecia Luster and Caitlyn Balch, 5-5 setter Elizabeth Barnard, 5-6 outside hitter Megan Humphries with 5-8 middle hitter Abby Smith and 5-5 middle hitter Alex Edwards. Tri-County is a coop team of Oakland Lake Crest and Kansas. The Titans were seeded third in the regional and have won all four of their state series matches in two games.

Of the 105 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 11 are sixth graders and 94 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 in order are: Oakland Tri-County 82, Mt. Pulaski 92, Pawnee 97, St. Anne 100, Altamont 102, La Harpe 115, Lewistown Central 117 and Bloomington Holy Trinity 129.

Class 3A

Unbeaten perennial powerhouse Chillicothe (25-0), appearing in the Class 3A state tournament for the third straight year, heads a field of eight with a combined won-loss record of 146-40, a winning percentage of .785.

Three 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 and finished with a 28-1 record. In 2007, Chillicothe lost 25-21, 25-12 in the title match to Glasford Illini Bluffs, ending with a 19-6 record. Last year, Chillicothe was 26-0 before losing to eventual state champion Deer Creek-Mackinaw 25-21, 24-26, 12-25 in the semifinals. The Mustangs took third place and finished with a 27-1 record. Over the last 107 matches, Chillicothe is 99-8, a sizzling winning percentage of .925.

Three of the eight teams in this year's state final played in last year's. Chillicothe was third, Shelbyville Moulton finished fourth and Riverton lost in the quarterfinals.

Shelbyville Moulton (14-6) meets Mason City Illini Central (21-1) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Peru Washington (21-3) faces Morris Saratoga (14-8) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. Then Riverton (20-4) squares off with Chillicothe in quarterfinal match No. 3 at 12:30 p.m. Auburn JHS at Deveron (17-10) plays Bismarck-Henning (14-8) at 1:45 p.m. The winners play in the semifinal matches Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. Third place and championship matches are Tuesday (March 17) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Five of the 15 players on the Shelbyville Moulton roster are 5-6 or taller. The Rams have 5-9 Brandy Smith at middle hitter, 5-9 Morgan Voyles at setter, 5-7 Morgan Lawrence at middle hitter, 5-6 Brandy Smith at outside hitter and 5-6 Julie Bolinger at middle hitter. The Rams have won each of their state series matches in two games and are outscoring their opponents on the average of 25-14 in the state series.

Six of the 10 players on the Mason City Illini Central roster are 5-5 or taller. Middle hitters are 6-0 Taylor Yates and 5-5 Alison Stone. Outside hitters are 5-6 Dakota Nissen and 5-6 Julie Laugel. Mackenzie Sisk is a 5-5 defensive specialist and Madi Genseal is a 5-5 setter. Illini Central has outscored three state series opponents 150-102.

Peru Washington is one of the tallest teams in the field. The Raiders have 5-8 Jacqueline Davis and 5-8 Jordyn Ferrari as defensive specialists. Outside hitters are 5-7 Marisa Fraga, 5-7 Callie Schmidt and 5-6 Kathryn McManus. Setters are 5-3 Kaitlyn Olson and 5-3 Elizabeth Milaicki. Peru Washington has lived on the edge throughout the state series. Seeded No. 2 in the regional, the Raiders beat Pontiac JHS 25-23 in the regional semifinals, then El Paso-Gridley 25-20, 12-25, 25-23 in the regional finals before getting past Deer Creek-Mackinaw 25-22, 20-25, 25-23 in the sectional.

Morris Saratoga has only 5-5 middle hitter Robbi Hicks taller than 5-4. The Hawks have won all their state series matches in two games and have outscored their three opponents 150-91.

Riverton has only nine players on the roster and three are sixth graders. Among the seventh graders, middle hitters are 5-7 Heather Dyer and 5-6 Morgan Green; outside hitters are 5-5 Carlie Cuffle and 5-4 Alexis Crawford; Tori Bounds is a 5-2 setter; and Kirsten Mosley is a 5-2 defensive specialist. Carlie Cuffle and Tori Bounds return from last year's team. The Hawks were seeded No. 4 in the regional and won it by beating No. 1 Williamsville 25-14, 25-17 in the semifinals and No. 2 Maroa-Forsyth 25-8, 18-25, 25-20 in the finale. Then Riverton breezed to a 25-17, 25-17 win over Mansfield Blue Ridge JHS in the sectional.

Chillicothe has outscored three state series opponents by a 150-59 margin, giving up an average of 9.9 points per game. Three members of last year's team return. They are 5-8 server Erika Koch, 5-5 outside hitter Jessica Childers and 5-9 setter Brooke Ratcliff. The Mustangs are one of the taller teams in the field. Among the outside hitters are 5-6 Kelsey Gaskins, 5-7 Jamie Mann, 5-6 Sarah Daum, 5-8 Delaney Coats and 5-8 Hannah Scherer, a sixth grader.

Auburn JHS at Divernon was the No. 4 seed in the regional and knocked off No. 1 Carlinville 25-17, 25-22 in the semifinals and No. 3 Gillespie 25-10, 25-17 in the finals. Then the Trojans stopped Staunton 25-18, 25-17 in the sectional. Auburn JHS at Divernon is another tall team. Middle hitters Bianca Kuenstler and Rachel Wiseman are 5-7. Setter Rachel Cochran is 5-6 and setter Tracie Lancaster is 5-2. Outside hitters Carlee Bushnell and Taylor Jenkins are 5-5. Listed as defensive specialists are 5-6 Hailee Hamilton, 5-6 Tiffany Dambacher, 5-7 Shandon McGuire and 5-7 Lydia Tomasko.

Bismarck-Henning has only 12 players on the roster and only four are taller than 5-4. Middle hitters Addie Voyles, Masyn Clow and Shelbi Haga are 5-6. Outside hitter Mary Bass is 5-7.

Of the 102 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 5 are sixth graders and 97 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 in order are: Mason City Illini Central 131, Morris Saratoga 144, Bismarck-Henning 172, Chillicothe 174, Shelbyville Moulton 184, Washington Peru 218, Riverton 225 and Auburn JHS at Deveron 246.

Class 4A

Five of the eight finalists return from last year's field and five of the eight finalists have won at least 20 matches. Heading the list of returnees is Minooka, fourth place finisher a year ago. The others - Edwardsville Lincoln, Frankfort Summit Hill, Lansing Memorial and Homer Glen Homer - played in the quarterfinals.

The field of eight teams has a combined won-loss record of 155-25, a winning percentage of .861.

Minooka (21-2) plays Edwardsville Lincoln (24-1) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then Frankfort Summit Hill (14-7-2) battles Lansing Memorial (15-6) at 11:15 a.m. Jacksonville Turner (21-2) meets Homer Glen Homer (22-3) at 12:30 p.m. Normal Parkside (20-1) and Charleston (18-3) square off at 1:45 p.m. The winners play in the semifinal matches Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. Third place and championship matches are Tuesday (March 17) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Minooka's tallest player is 5-8 middle hitter Geri Westerhoff but all 14 players on the roster are 5-4 or taller. The Indians has won all three of their state series matches in two games.

Edwardsville Lincoln has a towering team this year. The Wildcats have 14 players on the roster and 11 of them are 5-6 or taller. Middle hitters Lauren Corby and Deborrah Blackburn are 5-9 and are the tallest on the team.

Frankfort Summit Hill can put an imposing front line on the court from among 6-0 middle hitter Casey Zimmerman, 5-11 middle hitter Amy Vos, 5-10 middle hitter Brittany Pappas, 5-8 outside hitter Shannon Murphy and 5-8 outside hitter Elly Waleski. Setters are 5-7 Courtney Suggs and 5-2 Natalie Paolella.

Lansing Memorial is playing in the Class 4A state tournament for the third straight year. Tallest player on the team is 5-9 outside hitter Leah Lagestee. Outside hitter Deja Williams is 5-8 and defensive specialist Timia Williams in 5-8. Lansing Memorial was seeded third in the regional and has not allowed any state series opponent to score 20 or more points in a game, winning all four state series matches in two games.

Perennial contender Jacksonville Turner plowed through a trio of tough foes to advance the state tournament. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, the Titans beat Quincy 25-15, 25-15 and arch rival Chatham Glenwood 25-23, 25-7. Then they stopped Rochester 25-18, 25-21 in the sectional. Middle hitter Jaelyn Keene is 6-0 and middle hitter Jacey Pate is 5-8. Outside hitters include 5-9 Kristin McGee, 5-7 Sami Suttles and 5-7 Brisco Esquivel. Setter Maddy Albers is 5-8.

Homer Glen Homer is making its third straight trip to the state tournament. The Mustangs can throw a front line of 5-9 Jenna Jablonski, 5-9 Erica Cebulski, 5-9 Haley Lahey or 5-7 Mackenzie Wasowicz at opponents. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Homer Glen Homer has won all of its state series matches in two games.

Normal Parkside has eighth sixth graders on its 15-player roster. The Pythons have only three players taller than 5-7, but 11 of the 15 are 5-5 or taller. Sixth grader Alexis Lee is the tallest player at 5-9. Another sixth grader, Natalie Freeman is 5-8, as is seventh grader Kayla Bullock. Seventh grade setter Sara Coakley is 5-6. Normal Parkside lost the first game of the regional final to tournament savvy Forrest Prairie Central before taking the title with an 18-15, 25-17, 25-20 win.

Charleston may be the shortest team in the tournament. The Little Trojans have only two players on the 14-player roster taller than 5-5. They are 5-6 middle hitters Shelby Pearcy and Olivia Coffey. Setters are 5-3 McClain Miller and 5-4 Natalie Stewart. Charleston was seeded third in the regional. The Little Trojans lost the first game of the regional semifinal and came back to beat Effingham JHS 11-25, 25-14, 25-22. They lost the first game in the sectional to Clinton and came back to win the match 20-25, 25-10, 25-18.

Of the 113 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 8 are sixth graders and 105 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 in order are: Charleston 411, Edwardsville Lincoln 481, Jacksonville Turner 561, Lansing memorial 635, Normal Parkside 652, Minooka 752, Homer Glen Homer 811 and Frankfort Summit Hill 834.



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