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2010 Seventh Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For just the fourth 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 13) and concludes Tuesday (March 16) at four sites.

Class 1A will be hosted by Auburn JHS at Divernon. Class 2A will be played at Heyworth Jr./Sr. 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. Upper bracket quarterfinals and semifinals will be played in the morning. Lower bracket quarterfinals and semifinals will be played beginning Saturday afternoon. The upper bracket quarterfinals are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The winners meet in the semifinal at 1:00 p.m. The lower bracket quarterfinals are scheduled for 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The winners meet in the semifinal at 5:15 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.

Any changes in the playing status of each of the four tournaments will be posted on the IESA Web Site at www.iesa.org as each tournament progresses.

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 games Saturday. Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free. Fans attending the games Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry into that respective state final site only throughout the day. It will not be honored at any other 7th grade state final site. The price of admission for the third place and championship game 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 2010 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Unbeaten Mazon-Verona-Kinsman and once-beaten Ottawa St. Columba along with defending champion Grayville headline a Class 1A field that may produce one surprising result after another.

Washington St. Patrick (17-6) meets Lovejoy (12-6) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Grayville (20-1), making its third straight trip to the state tournament, faces Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln (21-3) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. The winners of these matches meet in the first semifinal match at 1:00 p.m. Oakland Tri-County (13-6) battles Mazon-Verona-Kinsman (23-0) in the third quarterfinal match at 2:15 p.m. Ottawa St. Columba (20-1) plays Augusta Southeastern (18-5-1) at 3:30 p.m. The winners of these matches meet in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m. The third place and title matches will be played Tuesday (March 16) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Top-seeded in the regional, Washington St. Patrick outscored two opponents by a combined 100-46 before stopping East Peoria Robein 25-16, 25-23 in the sectional. The Irish are one of the smaller teams in the Class 1A field with only three of the 11 players on the roster taller than 5-4. They are 5-7 middle hitter Allie Faivre, 5-6 outside hitter Nikki Redden and 5-8 middle hitter Nia Tracy.

Lovejoy was seeded No. 3 in the regional and stopped No. 2 seed Pocahontas 17-25, 25-18, 25-19 then No. 1 seed East St. Louis Jackson 25-14, 27-25 before stopping Hardin Calhoun 25-20, 25-18 in the sectional. Only three of the 10 players on the Lovejoy roster are seventh graders with 5 in sixth grade and 2 in fifth grade. The seventh graders are 5-2 middle hitter Arriel Paulette, 5-4 defensive specialist Rolanda Cameron and 5-3 defensive specialist Ebony White.

Grayville's only loss in the past two years was a three-game defeat at the hands of 2010 Class 2A qualifier Albion (20-2), and the third game score was 25-22. The Bison went 23-0 last year to win Class 1A after losing in the 2008 quarterfinals and finishing 8-5. Middle hitter Kelsey Buckman and setter Kerri Mitchell made big contributions to last year's title run. Buckman served for 27 points with 5 ace serves in the three matches and Mitchell served 31 points with 11 ace serves in the three matches. Other starters this year are 5-1 Kodi Knight, 5-1 Charli Sullivan, 5-4 Jade Bunting and 5-7 Taylor Woodward.

Seeded No. 2 in the regional, Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln rolled past its first two opponents and then knocked off perennial power Hartsburg-Emden 26-24, 25-22 in the regional final. The Panthers beat Decatur Garfield Montessori 25-7, 25-23 in the sectional. Only one player on the roster is taller than 5-5 and that is 5-10 middle hitter Megan Jackson.

Oakland Tri-County (a co-op between Oakland Lake Crest and Kansas) finished second in the 2009 Class 2A state tournament and dropped to Class 1A this year, being the largest school in the state final field with a seventh-eighth grade enrollment of 66. Setter Alex Hudson served for five points, including 3 ace serves, in the Titans' three matches last year. Coach Sara Porter has no players taller than 5-5 on the roster, but 5 of the 12 on it are listed at 5-5. They are Taylor Harvey, Kylie Staggs, Kayla McKinney, Heidi Dague and Tessa Temples. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Tri-County survived an upset bid by Danville Holy Family in the semifinals winning the third game of the match 26-24.

Mazon-Verona-Kinsman rolled through the regional and then had to fight off Crescent City 26-24, 25-23 in the sectional. The Mavericks recorded wins over 2010 Class 3A state qualifier Morris Saratoga and Class 4A state qualifier Coal City during the regular season. Probable starters for Coach Pam Siedentop include 4-10 Kaitlyn Harty, 5-1 Madison Wyss, 5-6 Neeka Garcia, 5-2 Jessica Club, 5-8 Lexi Wilkinson and 5-4 Alex Hardie.

Ottawa St. Columba outscored two regional opponents 100-48 before stopping Pontiac St. Mary's 25-20, 25-20 in the sectional. The Spartans lost only to Oglesby Holy Family in a tournament during the regular season. The probable starters for Coach Vicki Stalker are 4-11 Alyssa Steege, 4-11 Jamie Nikisher, 5-2 Bailey McGrogan, 5-6 Syndee Stalker, 5-6 Kendall Kaufmann and 5-6 Claribel Atrega.

Augusta Southeastern has 15 players on the roster and only three taller than 5-3. They are 5-5 outside hitter Catie Adcock, 5-6 middle hitter Megan Dobbins and 5-5 outside hitter Bailey Vanfleet. The Suns have outscored three state series foes by a combined 150-60.

Of the 83 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 2 are fifth graders, 10 are sixth graders and 71 are seventh graders.

The combined win-loss record of the eight finalists is 144-28-1, a winning percentage of .838.

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 413. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Ottawa St. Columba 36, Lovejoy 37, Washington St. Patrick 44, Grayville 47, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman 57, Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln 58 and Oakland Tri-County 66 and Augusta Southeastern 68.

Class 2A

Only one of the eight teams in the Class 2A field has won 20 matches this year, Albion (20-2), but the battle for the state title is wide open.

Carrollton GS (19-2) plays Lewistown Central (19-3-1) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Pawnee (18-5) battles Herscher JHS (11-6) at 11:15 a.m. The winners of these matches meet in the first semifinal match at 1:00 p.m. Champaign St. Matthew (19-6) meets Lexington (17-5) in the third quarterfinal match at 2:15 p.m. Albion squares off against Bartonville Monroe (9-7) at 3:30 p.m. The winners of these two matches meet in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m. The third place and title matches will be played Tuesday (March 16) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

It has been a struggle for Carrollton GS to get to the state tournament. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, the Hawks had to beat No. 3 seed Bunker Hill Wolf Ridge in three games in the regional final and then had to beat Girard 25-11, 17-25, 25-16 in the sectional. Coach Patty Steinacher has height in 5-8 middle hitter Rachel Williams, 5-7 middle hitter Madison Struble, 5-8 outside hitter Alexa Hillis, 5-7 outside hitter Macy Pohlman and 5-8 outside hitter Katie Taylor.

Lewistown Central finished third last year and setter Darian Baldwin served for 27 points, including 8 ace serves, in the three games in 2009. Payton Reed is a defensive specialist and is the tallest player on the team at 5-9, and 5-7 Mallory Battefeld is a middle hitter for the Indians. After losing the first game in the sectional 25-12 to Liberty, Lewistown Central won the last two games 25-14, 25-20 to advance to the state tournament.

Pawnee also played in the 2009 Class 2A state tournament, losing in the quarterfinals. The Indians survived the rugged Springfield regional with 2-game wins over Springfield Blessed Sacrament and Springfield Christ The King and then knocked off perennial power Mt. Pulaski 25-15, 25-19 in the sectional. Six of the 11 players on Coach Cindy Rabideau's roster are 5-6 or taller. They are 5-6 Lizzie Fjelstul, 5-6 Cessija Whyte, 5-7 Olivia Dyers, 5-6 Gabby Fontana, 5-8 Alexis Desart and 5-7 Sydney Landrey.

Herscher JHS won all three of its state series matches prior to the state tournament in 2 games. The Dragons have 5-7 Tess Peters at middle hitter and 5-6 Emily Guimond at middle hitter and 10 other players on the roster 5-5 or shorter.

Champaign St. Matthew was seeded No. 2 in the regional and beat top-seeded Champaign Holy Cross 25-23, 25-13 in the regional title game before winning an epic sectional game against Arcola 25-16, 25-27, 29-27. The Raiders finished third in the seventh grade Class 2A girls state basketball tournament in December and eight members of that team are on the volleyball roster. Among them are middle hitters Lexi Wallen (5-8) and Mary Kate Mulcahey (5-9) and setter Nikki Bilger (5-6).

Lexington is the smallest team in the state tournament. Of the 10 players on the roster only 5-6 middle hitter Melissa Swartz is taller than 5-3. The Minutemen were seeded No. 3 in the regional and won three matches each in 2 games, including a 25-14, 25-13 win over No. 2 seed Bloomington Holy Trinity in the semifinals. With a 2-game win over Gardner in the sectional Lexington has outscored four state series foes 200-101. Only Roanoke-Benson in the second game of the regional title match (25-20) has scored 20 points in a state series games against Lexington.

Albion has 5-10 Nichole Alcorn at middle hitter, 5-7 Kaeli James at outside hitter and 5-7 sixth grader Maddie Gillard at middle hitter. The Lions advanced to the state tournament with 2-game wins over Effingham St. Anthony, Oblong and St. Elmo, all strong volleyball schools.

Bartonville Monroe has only three seventh graders on its 12-player roster. They are 5-1 outside hitter Liv Owen, 5-6 setter Haley Leuallen and 5-5 setter Heather Robinson. The Flyers came into the state series under the radar, were seeded No. 4 in the regional, and have allowed more than 19 points in a game only once in four state series matches.

The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 132-36-1, a winning percentage of .786.

Of the 102 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 2 are fifth graders, 10 are sixth graders and 90 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: Bartonville Monroe 77, Lexington 78, Champaign St. Matthew 89, Pawnee 89, Albion 92, Carrollton GS 105, Herscher JHS 115, Lewistown Central 118.

Class 3A

The free-for-all for the Class 3A championship features seven of the eight teams with 17 or more wins coming into the state tournament.

El Paso-Gridley (22-2) meets Tolono Unity (9-14) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then Morris Saratoga (18-3) battles Pleasant Plains (20-2) at 11:15 a.m. The winners of these two matches play in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m. Casey-Westfield (19-1) plays Staunton (22-3) in quarterfinal No. 3 at 2:15 p.m. The match between Warrensburg-Latham (17-5) and Mackinaw Dee-Mack (22-1) follows at 3:30 p.m. The winners of these two matches play in the second semifinal at 5:15 p.m. The third place and title matches will be played Tuesday (March 16) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Only three of the 15 players on the El Paso-Gridley roster are taller than 5-4 and the Titans' trip to the state tournament has been bumpy at least. Top-seeded in the rugged Germantown Hills Regional, El Paso-Gridley topped Washington MS 25-15, 20-25, 25-16 in the semifinals, stopped host Germantown Hills 25-21, 23-25, 25-14 in the finals and Wenona Fieldcrest 25-15, 28-26 in the sectional. The "bigs" for Coach Emily Jenkins are 5-7 middle hitter Samantha Johnson, 5-6 middle hitter Michelle Bigger and 5-5 middle hitter Shannon Roark. El Paso-Gridley finished 4th in the seventh grade Class 3A girls state basketball tournament and six members of that team are on the volleyball squad. Joining Bigger and Roark are Megan Hollenbeck, Mackenzie Baker, Megan Garrels and Gillian Clark.

Tolono Unity went into the regional as the No. 5 seed with a won-loss record of 5-14. Four state series victories later the Rockets have proven they "came to play". In the regional Tolono Unity beat No. 4 seed Westville JHS 17-25, 25-22, 25-11, then No. 1 seed St. Joseph 25-18, 26-24 in the semifinal, then No. 2 Tuscola East Prairie 25-17, 25-23 in the final and Watseka Glenn Raymond 25-14, 25-23 in the sectional. Coach Allison Rhodes has a roster of 14 player and half of them are 5-6 or taller. At 5-8 is middle hitter Avery Tolliver. At 5-7 are middle hitters Lexi Bussart and Kelsey Montgomery. At 5-6 are middle hitter Carsen Bolstad and outside hitters Rebecca Maxwell and Hannah Stone.

Morris Saratoga's tallest players are 5-5 middle hitter Morgan Spencer, 5-5 setter Taya Torkelson and 5-5 outside hitter Jocelyn Carroll. Coach Holly Waldron's Hawks were seeded No. 1 in the regional and came back in the regional final to beat Herscher Limestone 23-25, 25-16, 25-15.

This has been "a very good year" for the Pleasant Plains seventh grade girls. The Redbirds finished second in the recent Class 3A state basketball tournament and 9 members of that team are on the volleyball roster. Among them are 5-9 middle hitter Summer Sabo, 5-8 outside hitter Rachel Smith and 5-7 middle hitter Kailey Peterson. Setter Erin Bergschneider (5-7) did not play on the basketball team. Coach Denise Dufour's team was seeded No. 1 in the regional and beat two foes by a combined 100-37. Pleasant Plains then beat rival Riverton 25-23, 25-10 in the sectional at Riverton.

Even though Casey-Westfield has lost only once this season, it was no joy ride for the Braves to the state tournament. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Casey-Westfield squeaked past rival Marshall JHS, the No. 4 seed, 22-25, 25-17, 26-24 in the semifinal before stopping No. 2 Robinson Nuttall 25-12, 25-13 in the final. Then the Braves beat Vandalia 25-14, 25-23 in the sectional. The only regular season loss was to Oblong JHS 20-25, 25-23, 25-27. Coach Katie Honselman's probable starting lineup will include 5-0 defensive specialist Paige Lowry, 5-6 setter Katelyn Schultz, 5-7 middle hitter Joslyn Keys, 5-5 outside hitter Tiarra Black, 5-7 outside hitter Malea Bauguss and 5-5 setter Bailey Lorton.

Almost half of the Staunton roster is sixth graders. The Terriers went on the road and beat Auburn in the sectional 19-25, 25-16, 25-20. In the regional final, Staunton stopped Greenville 24-26, 25-15, 25-16. The seventh graders on Coach Liz Franzen's team are 5-1 Callie Luketich, 5-4 Mikayah Steelman, 5-7 Dianne Jarden, 5-7 Karissa Pesavento, 5-2 Devin Barrett, 5-7 Kaitlyn Schmollinger, 5-3 Emma Valchalek and 5-7 Shelby Augustine.

Once Warrensburg-Latham "warms to the occasion" its state series opponents have been chilled out in each of the four matches. The Cardinals were the No. 3 seed in the regional, played three matches, and won all three in three games. In every one of those matches, Warrensburg-Latham lost the first game. In the sectional, The Cardinals struggled to a 25-22, 25-14 win over Lincoln JHS. Coach Bekki Cheatham has a pair of tall seventh grade players in 5-9 outside hitter Bailey Mason and 5-8 middle hitter Olivia Spence. Six of the 15 players on the roster are sixth graders.

Perennial power Mackinaw Dee-Mack packs some punch with 5-8 middle hitter Lauren Anderson, 5-9 setter Taylor Carnahan, 5-9 middle hitter Macey Peterson and 5-9 middle hitter Abby Robertson. The Braves' only loss was to rival Normal Chiddix 17-25, 21-25 halfway through the season. Coach Teri Childers has fielded another strong passing and serving team, similar to her 2008 state champions. Dee-Mack beat previously unbeaten and long-time state series rival Chillicothe 25-12, 25-20 in the sectional.

The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 149-31-0, a winning percentage of .828.

Of the 108 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 13 are sixth graders and 95 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: Mackinaw Dee-Mack 152, Casey-Westfield 164, Warrensburg-Latham 167, Morris Saratoga 174, El Paso-Gridley 192, Staunton 209, Tolono Unity 243 and Pleasant Plains 244.

Class 4A

Four of the eight Class 4A finalists return from last year and three of them are in the lower bracket including unbeaten Normal Parkside (21-0). Seven of the eight finalists have won 18 or more of their matches. This year's state tournament championship is wide open and may be the most talented in the four-year history of the four-class system.

Frankfort Summit Hill (18-5) meets Edwardsville Liberty (22-2) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Rochester (19-5) plays Lockport Oak Prairie (20-2) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. The winners of these two games play the first semifinal match at 1:00 p.m. Charleston (22-2) battles Normal Parkside in quarterfinal match No. 3 at 2:15 p.m. Then Coal City (18-4) and Lansing Memorial (11-14) square off at 3:30 p.m. The winners of these two matches play in the second semifinal at 5:15 p.m. The third place and title matches will be played Tuesday (March 16) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.

Frankfort Summit Hill waltzed through the regional, outscoring two foes 100-60, and then held on to get by Manteno 21-25, 25-22, 25-23 in the sectional. The Spartans finished 4th in Class 4A last year, losing 24-26, 21-25 to Normal Parkside in the third place match. This year Coach Keith McGrail can put one of the tallest teams in the field on the floor. The Spartans have 5-10 middle hitter Amanda Rockrohr, 5-9 middle hitter Dana Searle, 5-9 middle hitter Kylie Snyder and 5-8 outside hitter Morgan Giusto.

Edwardsville Liberty was seeded No. 2 in the regional and stopped top-seeded East St. Louis Clark 17-25, 25-23, 25-19 in the regional final before beating Roxana 25-11, 25-17 in the sectional. The Panthers have 5-8 Cassie Allen at middle hitter, 5-7 Sydney Wright at middle hitter and 5-7 Melanie Russo at outside hitter.

Rochester has to be the "Little Engine That Could" in the Class 4A field. Only one of the 15 players on Coach Stephanie Zeidler's team is taller than 5-2 and that is 5-5 middle hitter Lucy Nuding. The Rockets chugged past two regional opponents by a combined 100-51 score and derailed Springfield Franklin 25-10, 25-16 in the sectional.

The Bulldogs of Lockport Oak Prairie were the top seed in the regional and they slipped past No. 2 seed Homer Glen Homer 18-25, 25-16, 25-16 in the title match. Then they handled Bolingbrook Jane Addams 25-18, 25-11 in the sectional. Middle hitter Haley Beaumont is the tallest player on the roster at 5-8. Middle hitter Serena Taveggia is 5-7 and middle hitter Lauren Hanouw is 5-6. Setters are 5-4 Amanda Witsaman and 5-5 Olivia Witsaman.

The third game has been the charm for Charleston in the state series. Seeded No. 2 in the regional the Little Trojans beat No. 3 Effingham JHS 20-25, 25-13, 25-11 in the semifinal and then No. 1 seed Mattoon 25-22, 10-25, 25-15 in the final. In the sectional, Charleston outlasted Champaign Jefferson 14-25, 26-24, 25-23. Allison Endsley is the setter for Charleston and the 5-2 seventh grader has tall targets in 5-11 middle hitter Brooke Price, 5-9 middle hitter Peyton Craft and 5-9 middle hitter Lauren Nadler.

One of Normal Parkside's regular season wins this season was over El Paso-Gridley (22-2 and in the Class 3A state final). The Pythons have had much success this year in seventh grade girls athletics. The basketball team finished second in Class 4A and four members of that team are on the volleyball squad. They are 5-0 Keely Theobald, 5-0 Abby Thompson, 5-2 Kiley Bronke and 5-9 middle hitter Natalie Freeman. Theobald and Freeman are two of four returnees from last year's volleyball team that produced points for Parkside. Theobald has 2 service points including one ace as did Freeman. Alexis Lee served for 17 points (5 for aces) and Tyler Brown served for 21 points (5 aces) in three state final matches in 2009. Lee, Brown and Theobald are starters for the Pythons. They are joined by 5-5 outside hitter Amy Nelson, 5-5 setter Jill Paska and 5-5 outside hitter Hannah Collins. No. 1 regional seed Parkside just got past cross-town rival Normal Chiddix 26-24, 23-25, 25-11 in the regional final, and then handled Morton JHS 25-11, 25-8 in the sectional.

Coal City was top-seeded in the regional and beat two opponents by a combined 100-48. In the sectional, Coal City went 25-18, 24-26, 25-15 to beat Minooka. Middle hitters for the Warriors are 5-8 Mady Bunton, 5-8 Nicole Borgetti and 5-6 Alicia Matusiak. Rebecca Cash is a 5-6 outside hitter.

Lansing Memorial is appearing in its fourth straight Class 4A state tournament. The Mustangs' best finish was third in 2007. Known for a strong defense, Lansing Memorial is the shortest team in the Class 4A field. The only player taller than 5-4 is 5-6 defensive specialist Hillary Chadare.

The field of eight teams has a combined won-loss record of 151-34-0, a winning percentage of .816.

Of the 111 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 4 are sixth graders and 107 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: Rochester 328, Coal City 346, Charleston 412, Lockport Oak Prairie 478, Lansing Memorial 592, Normal Parkside 602, Edwardsville Liberty 626, Frankfort Summit Hill 879.



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