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2013 Seventh Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the seventh 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, 2A, 3A and 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (March 9) and concludes Tuesday (March 12) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at Auburn Junior High in 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. East Peoria Central 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 5:30 p.m. and the championship match scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

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 two classes state series for both seventh grade and eighth grade. Beginning in 2007, the seventh and eighth grade series are divided into four classes.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Volleyball link at the top of the IESA Website Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the four 2013 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A @ Auburn JH @ Divernon

Hoping to make it an unprecedented three state championships in a row, Hartsburg-Emden highlights a loaded Class 1A field featuring several former state placers.

Getting things going early will be a battle of the Wild Cats pitting Cissna Park (23-1) against Lovejoy (16-3) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Both teams have had recent success at the state level with Lovejoy taking home third last year, while Cissna Park claimed third place in 2011. Game two of the morning bracket features a one loss Cornell squad (16-1) up against the Titans of Tri-County (17-2) taking place at 11:15 a.m. This will mark the first state appearance for the Titans in 2010, while the Cougars of Cornell, will be making their state debut in Class 1A. Following the morning contests, the two early winners will meet in the state semifinal which will take place at 1:00 p.m.

The 2:15 p.m. contest will see the back-to-back state champion Stags of Hartsburg-Emden (20-2) matched up against newcomer Crescent City (14-6). Hartsburg-Emden is searching for its 5th Class 1A state title in seven years as they kick off the afternoon action. Wrapping up the first round will be the unbeaten Falcons of Springfield Little Flower (24-0) as they'll duke it out against 2007's third place finisher in Peoria Limestone Walters (23-2). Both teams are coming off impressive sectional performances en route to punching their state ticket. The final contest of the first round will get started at 3:30 p.m., with the two afternoon victors meeting up later in that evening at 5:15 p.m.

Class 2A @ Heyworth Jr./Sr. High School

With a terrific mix of newcomers and seasoned veterans, the Class 2A field should be nothing but excitement and uncertainty come Saturday.

The first matchup of the day will see Class 2A first timer Colchester West Prairie (18-6) up against Bunker Hill Wolf Ridge (9-8) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. While the Patriots of Bunker Hill may not have reached double digit wins on the season, they have prior state tournament experience, qualifying back in 2011. Match number two of the morning will showcase a one loss Danville Schlarman (18-1) squad against the tournament savvy Honeybears of Mt. Pulaski (12-10) at 11:15 a.m. While this tournament marks the first ever Class 2A state appearance for the Hilltoppers, Mt. Pulaski has quite the tournament resume dating back to 2007. In 2007, the Honeybears took home third but two years later returned with a vengeance to finally capture that illustrious state championship. Following the early contests, the two morning winners will meet in the first semifinal matchup taking place at 1:00 p.m.

The afternoon matchups get going in a hurry as the Lions of Albion (17-6) meet Bloomington Holy Trinity (24-1) in the third quarterfinal match at 2:15 p.m. Neither team is a stranger to the state tournament, with Albion nabbing second place back in 2010 while the Saints took home third in 2011. Capping things off in the first round will be two time state qualifier Grant Park battling it out against perhaps the most experienced team in all of Class 2A in Lewistown Central. The Indians have been on quiet a roll since their initial state appearance back in 2007, competing in what will be their 8th straight Class 2A state tournament. That impressive run was highlighted by back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011, with Lewistown Central taking home third in last year's finals. The winners of the two afternoon matches are set to meet in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m. The third place and title matches will be played Tuesday (March 12) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively.

Class 3A @ Assumption Central A & M JHS

With four unbeaten squads headed to the big dance, the talent and competition on display in Class 3A shouldn't disappoint.

The first contest of the day at 10:00 a.m., will see two of those unbeaten teams go head to head, Chillicothe (25-0) against the reigning state champion Pleasant Plains Cardinals (16-0). Both teams have an abundance of state experience beginning first with the Mustangs of Chillicothe, who claimed the tournament's ultimate prize back in 2009. Chillicothe has managed to go an impressive 7-2 during their previous three state appearances, finishing in the top three each time. The Cardinals of Pleasant Plains are hoping to become the first ever Class 3A repeat champion in girls volleyball. Pleasant Plains has managed to reach the state title match each of the past three seasons, highlighted by last year's first ever 3A state championship. Up next is 7-3A newcomer Carlinville (16-0) as they battle Mackinaw Dee-Mack (20-5) at 11:15 a.m. The Braves of Mackinaw have become a tournament fixture, reaching the state tournament five of the last six years. That impressive run of appearances was highlighted by state championships in both 2008 and 2010. Carlinville won't be intimidated however, as the Warriors recently capped off their Sectional Championship in imposing fashion. The winners of these two matches play in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m.

The afternoon session begins with Beecher pitting its 20-2 record up against the Hornets of Tuscola East Prairie (19-4). Both teams will surely bring their best following a pair of nail-biting sectional finals. The final match of the first round may feature two newbies, but both teams warrant respect due to their impressive records. Robinson Nuttall (21-0) will battle the Trojans of Maroa-Forsyth (21-0) at 3:30 p.m., in what will surely be a state tournament classic. 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 12) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively.

Class 4A @ East Peoria Central JHS

With only one of the eight state finalists returning from a year ago combined with five schools sporting 20 wins or more, there's no shortage of storylines when diving into the Class 4A field.

Newcomer Pekin Edison and their undefeated mark of 22-0 are matched up against Mattoon (19-2) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. The Wildcats of Mattoon return to the state tournament following a four year hiatus after previously taking home third place back in 2008. The Panthers of Pekin Edison, meanwhile, are coming off a thrilling sectional championship. Match two of the morning will feature two undefeated teams, as the 26-0 Panthers of Edwardsville Liberty do battle against the Spartans of Frankfort Summit Hill beginning at 11:15. Forget the combined record of 47-0, as these two squads have plenty of state tournament experience to go around. The Spartans of Frankfort put together an impressive four year stretch of consecutive state appearance, stemming from 2008 until 2011. Edwardsville Liberty is still searching for their first Class 4A state championship after a second place finish back in 2010 followed by 4th place in 2011. The Panthers remain the lone returning team from a last year's state tournament. The winners of these two matches play the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m.

Pontiac JHS (15-7) battles the Falcons of Springfield Franklin (21-1) in quarterfinal match at 2:15 p.m. Both teams will be making their first ever Class 4A state tournament appearance, which will surely lead to an exciting first round matchup. Finally, undefeated Homewood Hart (15-0) and the Indians of Channahon (20-1) square off at 3:30 p.m. Channahon is back to the Class 4A state tournament for the first time since their second place finish back in 2007. The Panthers of Homewood Hart may not have state tournament experience on their side, but what they do have is an impressive Sectional Championship to their credit. 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 13) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively.

For more information, please contact IESA Assistant Executive Director and Volleyball Administrator Julie Cochran at julie@iesa.org.



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