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2014 Seventh Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the eighth 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 15) and concludes Tuesday (March 18) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at Pawnee JHS/HS. 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 2014 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A @ Pawnee JHS/HS

Getting things going early will be the Comets of Stewardson-Strasburg (17-5) against the Wildcats of Cissna Park (21-1). Back to the big dance for the third time in the past four seasons, Cissna Park is looking to build upon an impressive showing a season ago in which they finished as the Class 1A state runner-up. Standing in their way will be a Comet's squad making their first ever Class 1A state final appearance. Led by Head Coach Donna Rincker, Stewardson-Strasburg is fresh off their recent sectional championship win over Grayville. Game time for this highly anticipated matchup is 10:00 a.m.

The 11:15 a.m. contest will see the 18-3 Mustangs of Royal Prairieview Ogden pitted against the Wildcats of Lovejoy (18-1). The 2014 state finals mark the fourth straight Class 1A tournament appearance for the Wildcats, as this group is hoping to avenge the team's quick exit a season ago. On the flipside, the Mustangs are back to the state scene for the first time since 2007. Fueled by the leadership of Rylee Sjuts, Peyton Crowe, and Maclayne Taylor, the Lady Mustangs are hoping to make school history come Saturday. "What makes our team stand out from others is we have outstanding young ladies with great morals and values," said Head Coach Victor White. "They will give you 100% and play with wonderful sportsmanship."

Following the early contests, the two morning winners will meet in the first semifinal matchup taking place at 1:00 p.m.

On deck in match three will be 16-3 Lancers of Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes set to battle the Rockets of Peoria Limestone Walters (24-1). Returning to the Class 1A state tournament for the fourth time since 2007, the Rockets are hoping to build upon the experience obtained from previous trips. Led by Head Coach Al Huber, Peoria Limestone Walters is riding high following their sectional title win over Tornadoes of South Pekin. Meanwhile, the Lady Lancers are back to the big dance for the first time since capturing third place in 2009. Comprised of a team of seven, Decatur Our Lady of Lourdes stands out from the competition in more ways than one. "We also have an amazing middle hitter who was born with only one hand," said Head Coach Cara Peters. "You would never know by watching her play! Start time for game three is set to begin at 2:15 p.m.

Rounding out the field in Class 1A are the Saints of Pontiac St. Mary's (20-2) who will squared off against the Honeybears of Mt. Pulaski (14-11). Although they are making their first ever Class 1A state finals appearance, Mt. Pulaski has plenty of state tournament experience on their side. The Lady Honeybears have managed to reach the Class 2A state finals four times since 2007, as that impressive run is highlighted by a first place finish back in 2008. Hoping to derail the success of the Honeybears are the Saints of Pontiac St. Mary's, who will also be making their first ever Class 1A state final appearance. Led by Head Coach Betty Murphy, the Saints have momentum on their side following their heart stopping defeat over Streator St. Michael in Monday's sectional championship. The final first round matchup begins at 3:30 p.m.

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 18) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively

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

Kicking things off in the first matchup of the day will be the 20-1 Pages of Arthur-Lovington as they are set to take on the Knights of Mansfield Blue Ridge IJHS. Both schools will be making their Class 2A tournaments debuts come Saturday, with each hoping to advance onto round the state semifinals. The Knights punched their state ticket after defeating Catlin in Monday's state sectional championship, while Arthur needed three sets to knock off the feisty Lions of Albion. This first round matchup will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Game two of the morning will feature two tournament veterans. The Indians of Lewistown Central (21-1) are as decorated as any program competing this weekend, as the 2014 finals will mark their eighth straight state tournament. That run of glory is highlighted by back to back state titles in 2010 and 2011, while capturing third place the past two seasons (12, 13). The Pawnee Indians enter the Class 2A state tournament with a record of 12-5, and are hoping to capture their first top four finish since placing fourth back in 2010. The 2014 state finals will mark Pawnee's fourth tournament appearance since 2007. Game time is set for 11:15 a.m.

Following the early contests, the two morning winners will meet in the first semifinal matchup taking place at 1:00 p.m.

The 2:15 p.m. contest will see a battle of Class 2A tournament newcomers, as the Wildcats of Normal Metcalf at 16-8 will compete against 19-3 Raiders of Seneca. With school history already in the books, Raider Head Coach Jen Zelko has helped her team keep their success in perspective. "Just making it to state is a huge accomplishment, as these girls have spent over three months together on almost a nightly basis," said Zelko." I think the pressure becomes greater the longer you play into the post season, but the excitement of being there makes it all worth it." There is plenty of excitement to go around if you are a Normal Metcalf fan, as the Wildcats are riding high following Monday's sectional championship victory over Oglesby Washington.

The final first round matchup in Class 2A will highlight two more tournament newcomers, as the Braves of Payson Seymour (23-2) are set to take on the Cougars of Springfield Christ the King (17-2). Led by Head Coach Sandy Hamilton, Christ the King has made school history thanks to a group of 11 seventh graders. On the flipside, the Braves are coached by Teresa Loos-Tedrow and are ready to rock 'n roll following their three set victory over Carthage during Monday's sectional championship game. Game time for this contest is set to begin at 3:30 p.m.

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 18) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively

Class 3A @ Assumption Central A & M JHS

Game one of the day will feature the Hornets of Eureka sporting a perfect record of 24-0, as they are set to on the Hornets of Tuscola East Prairie (15-5). The Hornets of Tuscola are back to the state finals following their quick exit a year ago. The Eureka Hornets are, as described by their head coach, are a team comprised of girls willing to step up at any time. "If you look at our stats, you will find that on any given night there were several different girls that led the team in service points, aces, kills, defensive digs, etc." said Head Coach Andrea Hunt. "We really don't have an MVP on our team." This first round matchup will begin at 10:00 a.m.

The Trojans of Auburn JHS at Divernon (15-4) are back to the big dance as they will square off against the Panthers of St. Joseph (18-2). Newcomers to the Class 3A state tournament, the Panthers are rolling following their two set win over Watseka Glenn Raymond in Monday's sectional championship. The Trojans are back to the Class 2A state tournament for the third time since 2009, with two fourth place finishes to their credit. Hoping to make that next leap, Auburn JHS at Divernon will have to knock off a Panther squad will only a mere two losses on the season. Game two is set to begin at 11:15 a.m.

Following the early contests, the two morning winners will meet in the first semifinal matchup taking place at 1:00 p.m.

Moving on to the afternoon action, as the unbeaten Cardinals of Pleasant Plains (16-0) will take on the Crusaders of Quincy Blessed Sacrament (14-4). Making their first ever trip to the Class 3A state finals, the Crusaders are led by Head Coach Jennifer Damhorst and sport a tournament squad consisting of 14 seventh graders. Meanwhile, Pleasant Plains is vying for their third straight state title and second consecutive undefeated season. On top of that, the Cardinals are hoping to make it five straight state finals in which they've reached the championship game. Led by team MVPs McKenzie Smith, Jade Garrett, and Jade Tapscott, the Cardinals like their chances heading into Saturday. This anticipated matchup is set to begin at 2:15p.m.

Rounding out the quarterfinal contests will be a matchup between the unbeaten Hornets of Lockport Kelvin Grove (21-0) and the 21-1 Panthers of Pana JHS. The Panthers will be making their first appearance in the Class 3A state tournament, but are riding high following their impressive sectional victory over Maroa-Forsyth this past Monday. On top of that, Pana JHS has won 21 straight contests since losing their first game of the season against Rochester. The Hornets of Lockport Kelvin Grove return to the state scene following a runner-up finish back in 2008. The last first round contest of the day is set to begin at 3:30p.m.

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 18) at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m., respectively

Class 4A @ East Peoria Central JHS

Game one of the Class 4A first round contests will see the Wildcats of Edwardsville Lincoln (21-3) take on the 18-5 Spartans of Frankfort Summit Hill. With an impressive six tournament appearances since 2008, the Spartans are aiming for gold in 2014. That run of tournament success is highlighted by a 2009 fourth place finish. Frankfort Summit Hill is led by team standouts Sydney Nekola, Heidi DeVries, and Kasey Bowman. The Wildcats of Edwardsville Lincoln return to the big dance for the first time since an early exit back in 2009. Hoping to secure their first ever top four finish, Edwardsville Lincoln is riding the momentum of Monday's sectional championship win over Bethalto Trimpe. Game time is set for 10:00 a.m.

Taking place at 11:15 a.m. is game two of the day, which will feature the 24-1 Braves of Mt. Zion up against the Knights of Bloomington JHS (19-2). The Knights return for the first time since capturing third place back in 2011, and are hungry for more. Bloomington JHS is led key contributors Josie Schimdt, Grace Sanders, and Jessica Wimp. The Braves are making their Class 4A state tournament debut, and according to their head coach, are fueled by "the love of the game."  "I always joke that these girls are volleyball addicts, but that is the truth," said Head Coach Stephanie White. "These ladies would stay in the gym all night if I would continue tossing them balls…they would play every day of the week…all weekend long."

Following the early contests, the two morning winners will meet in the first semifinal matchup taking place at 1:00 p.m.

Game three of the day will see the undefeated Panthers of Manteo (24-0) square off against the 17-1 Mustangs of Homer Glen Homer. Although the Mustangs qualified for a remarkable five state tournaments since 2007, Homer Glen Homer has yet to advance past the first round of play. Hoping to break that streak is a Mustang squad that hasn't suffered a defeat since Channahon toppled them in three sets back in early February. A rematch against the Indians looms large if both teams are able to advance past round one. It will be a tall task for the Mustangs however, as they are pitted against a Panther's team aiming to duplicate the unbeaten championship season Edwardsville Liberty pulled off only a season ago. Manteo returns to the Class 4A state tournament since capturing fourth back in 2012. This matchup is set to begin at 2:15 p.m.

The first round finale in Class 4A will feature the unbeaten Indians of Channahon (23-0) set to take on the Mustangs of Effingham JHS (19-4). Making their first ever trip to the Class 4A state tournament, the Mustangs have been riding high since coming rallying late in their regional championship game against Mattoon. Couple that with a gritty sectional championship win over Champaign Edison and it appears the Mustangs have a recipe for success. Hoping to spoil that success are the undefeated Lady Indians of Channahon, who return to the state tournament following their runner-up finish of a year ago. With two second place finishes to their credit (07, 13), Channahon is hoping to go all the way in 2014. Game time is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

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 18) 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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