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2009 Eighth Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the third 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 21) and concludes Tuesday (March 24) at four sites.

Class 1A will be hosted by Hartsburg-Emden. Class 2A will be played at Mt. Pulaski High School and hosted by Mt. Pulaski JHS. Riverton High School 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 2009 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Two-time defending champion Hartsburg-Emden is the only one of the eight finalists in Class 1A to come into the state tournament with less than 20 wins. The combined won-loss record of the field is 167-20, a sizzling winning percentage of .893.

Streator Woodland (23-0) faces Buckley St. John's (22-0) in the first quarterfinal match Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Then Hartsburg-Emden (17-7) meets Jacksonville Our Saviour (21-3) at 11:15 a.m. Decatur Garfield Montessori (20-3) battles perennial contender Peoria Limestone Walters (20-4) at 12:30 p.m. Kincaid South Fork (22-1) and Grayville (22-1) play at 1:45 p.m. The winners of the quarterfinal matches meet in the semifinals Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. The third place and championship matches will be played Tuesday (March 24) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Streator Woodland has 5-9 Cheyenne Meredith at middle hitter along with 5-7 Alana Reihl, 5-6 Addison Kirchner and 5-4 Josie Walker. Setter for the Warriors is 5-3 Megan Buetke.

Buckley St. John's has only six eighth graders on the team. The Eagles have not allowed any of their state series opponents to score more than 15 points in a game and all three wins were in two games. The eighth graders are 5-2 outside hitter Alex Tofari, 5-4 setter Kandace Hofer, 5-2 defensive specialist Hannah Teske, 5-4 outside hitter Kortnie Schroeder, 5-4 outside hitter Rachel Kizer and 5-6 setter Kayla Cowan.

Hartsburg Emden can be a dominating force at the net. The Stags have only six eighth graders on the roster, and three of them are some of the tallest players in the tournament. At outside hitter Hartsburg-Emden has 5-9 Faith Jones, 5-9 Samantha Swart and 5-11 Sydni Rohlfs, who holds four of the all-time rally scoring serving individual records. The other eighth graders are 5-4 outside hitter Erin Rankin, 5-2 setter Jessie Eeten and 5-3 defensive specialist Lyndsay Lucas. Seeded No. 2 in the regional the Stags stopped top-seeded Greenview 25-19, 25-15 in the regional final and then blitzed Springfield Calvary 25-2, 25-5 in the sectional.

Jacksonville Our Saviour, a perennial basketball power and this year's eighth grade girls Class 1A state champion, is making its first appearance at the state tournament in volleyball. Eleven of the 14 players on the volleyball roster were on the basketball title team. Tallest players are 5-8 middle hitter Brittany Birdsell and 5-7 middle hitter Joanna Gross. Setters are 5-4 Katie Tonry and 5-3 Ally West.

Decatur Garfield Montessori has three players taller than 5-6. They are 5-8 middle hitter Briana Anderson, 5-7 outside hitter Janisha Pealer and 5-7 middle hitter Benie Kalala. The Greyhounds were seeded No. 2 in the regional and stopped No. 1 seed Decatur Holy Family 25-17, 25-14 in the regional finale. Decatur Garfield Montessori lost in the quarterfinals in last year's state tournament.

Seven of the players on the roster of Peoria Limestone Walters played on the seventh grade team, including 5-11 middle hitter Delaney Grafelman. Among the eighth graders, the Rockets have 5-8 middle hitter Kendra Cranford, 5-8 outside hitter Brittany Morris, 5-7 middle hitter Taylor Floyd and 5-7 middle hitter Kelly Arnett. Coach Al Huber's setters are 5-3 eighth grader Sarah Funke and 4-11 seventh grader Marissa Boyer.

All nine of the players on the Kincaid South Fork volleyball roster played on the team last year, and seven of them were on the fourth place team in this year's eighth grade Class 2A state basketball tournament. Those who are seeing double duty are 5-1 outside hitter Lauren Merano, 5-7 setter Devinn Moss, 5-7 setter Tristan Payne, 5-8 middle hitter Madison Merano, 5-1 outside hitter Ashley Broccardo, 5-7 outside hitter Lexiy Crowder and 5-7 middle hitter Carley Prince.

Grayville is on a volleyball roll this year. The Bison won the seventh grade Class 1A title to finish with a 23-0 record. Eight of those players join six eighth graders in this tournament, including 5-10 middle hitter Whitney Beck, 5-9 middle hitter Kassi Linnemann and 5-9 middle hitter Shelby McGarvey.

Of the 101 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 5 are sixth graders, 22 are seventh graders and 74 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 420. Enrollments of the eight finalists in order are: Buckley St. John's 13, Grayville 42, Hartsburg-Emden 47, Kincaid South Fork 57, Peoria Limestone Walters 57, Decatur Garfield Montessori 65, Streator Woodland 66 and Jacksonville Our Saviour 73.

Class 2A

Unbeaten Mt. Pulaski (25-0) appears to be the team to beat in the Class 2A state tournament. All seven of the other teams in the field have at least 5 losses on their won-loss record. The combined record of the eight is 137-48, a winning percentage of .741.

Normal Epiphany (19-5) plays Herscher JHS (17-7) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Lewistown Central (17-5) faces La Harpe (18-6) at 11:15. Oakland Tri-County (13-5) battles Albion (16-8) at 12:30 p.m. Virden (12-12) and Mt. Pulaski play at 1:45 p.m. The winners of the quarterfinal matches meet in the semifinals Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. The third place and championship matches will be played Tuesday (March 24) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Six players who accounted for 34 service points in Normal Epiphany's three-game loss to Oakland Tri-County in last year's quarterfinals return for the Knights. Serving for 8 points each last year were 5-5 outside hitter Nichole Sheehan, 5-4 setter Rachel Neill and 5-4 setter Paige Flannelly. Emily Brelsfoard, a 5-4 setter, had three points, 5-7 middle hitter Megan O'Donnell had 5 and 5-7 outside hitter Taylor Tow had 2.

Herscher JHS has no player taller than 5-6, and the four players who are 5-6 are all middle hitters. They are Sami Dumontelle, Annie Zerebny, Madison Smith and Mystye Suprenant. Setters are 5-4 Molly Hertz and 5-4 Adrianna Denault. Although seeded first in the regional, the Dragons have gone to three games to win all three of their state series matches, including the 23-25, 25-14, 25-16 win over Grant Park in the sectional.

Lewistown Central was seeded third in the regional and beat No. 2 Elmwood 25-8, 25-4 in the semifinals and then No. 1 seed Princeville 25-23, 25-10 in the final before taking a 25-22, 25-23 win over Bartonville Oak Grove West in the sectional. In the middle for the Indians are 5-11 Molly Jugovic and 5-10 Brianna Hobbs.

La Harpe can put out a front line of 5-9 Abbey Douglas, 5-9 Taylor Dorch and 5-9 Leah Pence, who is listed as a setter. The other setter is 5-7 seventh grader Elyce Trout, who served for 21 points in Tuesday's seventh grade Class 2A title match. The Eagles also have 5-7 outside hitter Jessica Beach, 5-7 outside hitter Holly McDowell, 5-7 defensive specialist Megan Lord and 5-7 outside hitter Lauren Genck. La Harpe's seventh grade team beat Oakland Tri-County Tuesday (March 17) for the 2009 Class 2A title in an epic three-game battle. La Harpe won the match 25-27, 29-27, 27-25. The combined 160 points is the all-time IESA record for points by two teams and the 81 points by La Harpe is the all-time record for points in a match by a single team.

Oakland Tri-County has only five eighth graders on the roster. The are 5-2 setter Whitney Bennett, 5-2 setter Autumn Meyer, 4-11 middle hitter Ami Meyer, 5-7 outside hitter Kyla Skinner and 5-6 middle hitter Amber Meyer. The rest of the team is composed of seventh graders who played on the school's Class 2A runner-up team that lost to La Harpe for the 2009 title Tuesday (March 17).

Albion is the tallest team in the tournament with 10 of the 12 players on the roster 5-6 or taller. At 5-8 are middle hitters Becca Winemiller and Dionna Dawson, outside hitter Ashley Gillard and setter Melissa Moody. At 5-7 are outside hitters Rachel Wissel and Sequoyah Henderson, and middle hitters Riley Messman and Maia Atteberry. The 5-6 players are outside hitter Chelsea Pride and setter Amy Bunting. Albion bounced back in the sectional to beat Windsor 18-25, 25-16, 25-13 in the sectional.

Virden was seeded second in the regional and beat No. 1 seed Girard 25-14, 19-25, 25-16 in the regional final. The Bullpups have only four players taller than 5-5. They are 5-6 outside hitter Cortney O'Neil, 5-7 middle hitter Megan Culp, 5-7 middle hitter Rebecca Pitchford and 5-6 defensive specialist Kim Heinisch. Setter is 5-5 seventh grader Julia Hannah.

Mt. Pulaski returns 13 members of last year's seventh grade Class 2A state championship team. The Honeybears have a pair of 5-9 middle hitters in Alexa Meister and Andrea Dickerson and another pair of middle hitters at 5-7 in Erika Leever and Rachel Durchholz. Setter Jessica Awe served for 23 points in the seventh grade tournament last year, including 17 ace serves. She also was the seventh grade Class A state champion in the 100 and 200-meter dashes in the state track and field meet last spring. Mt. Pulaski has rolled to a trio a state series wins giving up only 16 points in each match.

Of the 107 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, one is a sixth grader, 27 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 in order are: Normal Epiphany 78, Oakland Tri-County 82, Mt. Pulaski 92, Albion 94, La Harpe 115, Herscher JHS 116, Lewistown Central 117 and Virden 130.

Class 3A

Six of the eight teams competing in this year's tournament have won 20 or more matches including unbeaten Toledo Cumberland (21-0). The combined won-loss record of the finalists is 165-20, a blistering .892 winning percentage.

Dwight (19-4) meets Chillicothe (22-3) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then Havana (16-4) faces Mackinaw Dee-Mack (22-2) at 11:15 a.m. Herscher Limestone (24-1) battles Toledo Cumberland (21-0) at 12:30 p.m. Staunton (20-4) and Downs Tri-Valley (21-2) play at 1:45 p.m. The winners of the quarterfinal matches meet in the semifinals Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. The third place and championship matches will be played Tuesday (March 24) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Dwight will be at a big height disadvantage in its quarterfinal match against Chillicothe. Dwight's tallest player is 5-7 outside hitter Skylar Krople. The Redbirds 5-6 players are outside hitter Lizzy McKinsey, setter Chloe Cockerham and outside hitter Hayley Sparrow. Dwight was seeded No. 1 in the regional and had to go to three games in both the semifinal (a 25-14, 24-26, 25-10 win over Wilmington Stevens) and final (a 14-25, 27-25, 25-21 win over Morris Saratoga). In the sectional Dwight blitzed Dolton Roosevelt 25-7, 25-0.

Chillicothe has eight players 5-7 or taller and the school has been one of IESA's best in volleyball the past several years. The seventh grade team won the Class 3A title Tuesday (March 17) to finish with a 28-0 record. Two members of that team play on the eighth grade team - 5-8 middle hitter Erika Koch and 5-9 middle hitter Brooke Ratcliff. The eighth grade “bigs” are 5-7 outside hitter Emily Bartlett, 5-7 middle hitter Danielle Morgan, 5-7 middle hitter Lindi Fletcher, 5-8 middle hitter Gabrielle Wade, 5-8 middle hitter Hannah Buckley and 5-9 outside hitter Laura Hedden.

Havana can put a front line of the floor of 5-7 Cheyenne Towery, 5-7 Kim Moore and 5-9 Hannah Huber. Setters are 5-5 Sarah Bonnett and 5-5 Morgan Martindale. The Ducks have been living on the edge the past two state series matches. Seeded No. 2 in the regional, Havana beat Athens 25-18, 25-21 in the regional semifinal, then came back to beat No. 1 seed Pleasant Plains 14-25, 25-19, 25-16 in the title match before coming back to eke out a 23-25, 25-23, 27-25 win over Beardstown in the sectional.

Another team that scrambled to get to the state tournament is Mackinaw Dee-Mack. In the regional title match against Eureka Dee-Mack won 20-25, 25-16, 25-16. Then in the sectional Dee-Mack beat Peru Washington 23-25, 25-21, 27-25. The Braves are one of the shortest teams in the finals with only four players taller than 5-5. They are 5-6 setter Cayley Meiners, 5-6 middle hitter Jamie Grethey, 5-7 middle hitter Nicole Welch and 5-6 middle hitter Samantha Doble. Last year Mackinaw Dee-Mack won the state championship in seventh grade Class 3A with a 26-1 record and the majority of that team is back in eighth grade this year.

Herscher Limestone has 5-8 Brooke Weber in the middle and no other player taller than 5-5. In fact, nine of the 12 players on the roster are 5-4 or shorter. The two at 5-5 are middle hitter Loryn Bruer and setter Alaina Elliot. The Lightning have not been challenged in the state series winning all three matches by an average score of 50-27.

Toledo Cumberland is one of the tallest teams in the field with four players 5-8 or taller. They are 5-9 middle hitter Taylor Flood, 5-9 middle hitter Kassidy Hunt, 5-8 setter Kamisha Holsapple and 5-9 setter Melissa Myers.

After breezing through the regional, Staunton came from behind to beat Pana JHS 14-25, 25-16, 25-21 in the sectional. The Terriers are a short team with only four of their 13 players taller than 5-4. Outside hitter Kelly Best and middle hitter Sophie Fairman are both 5-8. Middle hitters Jericca Atwood and Jordan Atwood are 5-5. Setter is 5-4 Kim Machuga.

Downs Tri-Valley had little trouble taking the regional and then stopped rugged Riverton 27-25, 24-26, 25-13 in the sectional. The Vikings have eight players on the roster 5-6 or taller, including 5-6 setter Cassie Norman. The others are 5-6 defensive specialist Kelsey Spelde, 5-7 outside hitter Kate Riley, 5-7 middle hitter Jasmine McDowell, 5-9 middle hitter Stefanie Sanidas, 5-7 defensive specialist Hannah Sorensen and 5-7 outside hitter Makayla Maciejewski.

Of the 108 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 1 is a sixth grader, 7 are seventh graders and 100 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 in order are: Toledo Cumberland 141, Mackinaw Dee-Mack 143, Dwight 149, Downs Tri-Valley 157, Chillicothe 174, Havana 195, Staunton 201 and Herscher Limestone 221.

Class 4A

Six of the eight teams in the Class 4A field come into the state tournament with at least 20 wins led by unbeaten Frankfort Summit Hill (22-0). The combined won-loss record of the eight teams is 160-27 for a winning percentage of .856. Two of the teams - Lansing Memorial and Chatham Glenwood - were in the 2008 field.

Lansing Memorial (12-8) plays Champaign Jefferson (22-3) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Bloomington JHS (24-1) faces Chatham Glenwood (21-4) at 11:15 a.m. Frankfort Summit Hill (22-0) meets Edwardsville Liberty (17-5) at 12:30 p.m. Homer Glen Homer (21-4) and Mendota Northbrook (21-2) battle in the 1:45 p.m. game. The winners of the quarterfinal matches meet in the semifinals Saturday at 3:00 and 4:15 p.m. The third place and championship matches will be played Tuesday (March 24) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Winning the Class 4A State Tournament literally will be a tall order. Of the 112 players listed on the team rosters for the eight finalists, 36 are 5-8 or taller. And every one of the eight teams has at least one player that tall, including Edwardsville Liberty with seven. Last year there were 16 players 5-8 or taller in the tournament.

Lansing Memorial has 5-11 Ashley Grafenauer at outside hitter Seeded No. 2 in the regional, the Mustangs dropped No. 1 seed Chicago Hts. Washington 25-16, 25-19 in the regional final before stopping Calumet City Wentworth 25-17, 25-20 in the sectional.

Champaign Jefferson has six players 5-8 or taller including 6-0 middle hitter Lauren Cloyd. The others are 5-8 outside hitters Kara Johnson, Lindsay Rogan and Libby Cocagne, 5-8 middle hitter Rachel Jones and 5-11 middle hitter Allie Shannon. Setters for the Jaguars are 5-3 Kelley Bowden and 5-6 Madison Weldon.

The match between Bloomington JHS and Chatham Glenwood brings together the two teams that battled last year for the seventh grade Class 4A title. In that match, Bloomington JHS took a 25-22, 25-19 win.

Ten of the 15 players on the Bloomington JHS team are 5-7 or taller. At middle hitter, Bloomington JHS has 5-11 Molly Lawrence and 5-10 Mary Lawrence along with 5-8 Madison Bobrytzke. The “bigs” at outside hitter are 5-8 Kady Thompson, and 5-8 Danielle Davis. Setters are 5-7 Sydney Hendricks, 5-1 Christina Devine and 5-7 Maddy Waugh. The Knights have beaten three state series opponents each in two games, allowing more than 18 points in a game only once when they beat Normal Parkside 25-23 in the second game of their regional semifinal match.

Chatham Glenwood has six players 5-8 or taller. At middle hitter are 5-8 Taylor Copp and 5-9 Alaina Bisch. Outside hitters are 5-8 Anna Schertz, 5-8 Amber Ground and 5-9 Racheal Crowley. Setter Morgan Tudor is 5-8. The other setter is 5-3 Brianna Edgar. The Titans got by perennial contender Jacksonville Turner 27-25, 25-20 in the regional final and then stopped rugged Rochester 25-18, 25-21 in the sectional.

Frankfort Summit Hill breezed through the regional and then got by Manteno 19-25, 25-14, 25-18 in the sectional. The Spartans have 5-9 Danielle Todd and 5-9 Sydney Geary at middle hitter with 5-8 Unique Manns at outside hitter. Setters are 5-1 Bridget Stroh, 5-4 Leigh Larocco and 5-7 Emilee Gerk.

Homer Glen Homer has 12 players on the roster and half of them are 5-7 or taller. In the middle the Mustangs have 5-11 Alyssa Maloney and 5-9 Austyn Krueger. Outside hitters are 5-8 Amanda MacNab, 5-7 Taylor Smith and 5-7 Frannie Vargas. Jenna Witek is a 5-9 defensive specialist. Setters are 5-3 Katie Dugan and 5-4 Genie Kulak.

Mendota Northbrook is the smallest school in the field by 161 students fewer than the next smallest school (Champaign Jefferson at 449) and 546 students fewer than the largest school in the field (Frankfort Summit Hill at 834). The Spartans will go to battle with 14 players including five 5-7 or taller. They are 5-7 middle hitter Sarah Doughty, 5-8 middle hitter Rachel Barr, 5-8 middle hitter Nicole Prusator, 5-9 middle hitter Kristen Fagerman and 5-9 outside hitter Alex Tavias. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, the Spartans came from behind in the title match to beat Channahon 17-25, 25-22, 25-7 before knocking off perennial contender Minooka 25-14, 25-14 in the sectional.

Of the 112 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, there are no seventh graders and 112 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 in order are: Mendota Northbrook 288, Champaign Jefferson 449, Chatham Glenwood 604, Edwardsville Liberty 609, Lansing memorial 635, Bloomington JHS 803, Homer Glen Homer 811 and Frankfort Summit Hill 834.



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