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2 Unbeaten Teams Top Class 7AA Girls State Volleyball Tournament Field

Unbeaten Manteno (24-0) and Bolingbrook Brooks (14-0) head the field of 16 teams qualifying for the 17th annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class 7AA Girls State Volleyball Tournament beginning Saturday at Riverton High School. This is the 30th year of IESA girls volleyball.

Joining the two unbeaten teams are perennial powers Homer Glen Homer (17-5) and Rantoul Eater (13-7), both making their seventh appearances in the State Tournament. In addition, there are five first-time qualifiers. Joining Bolingbrook Brooks are Jacksonville Turner (14-5), Easton Illini Central (18-4), Champaign Jefferson (17-5) and Metamora Germantown Hills (17-5).

The tournament gets under way Saturday with eight matches, beginning at 9:30 a.m. First round winners advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday (March 15) beginning at 3:30 p.m. The semifinals and finals will be played Wednesday (March 16) with the first semifinal match at 3:30 and the second set to begin at 4:45. Third place match is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and the championship match is slated to start at 7:15 p.m.

The combined win-loss record of the 16 finalists is 288-61, a winning percentage of .825. Five of the 16 have won 20 matches this season. Topping the field is Manteno (24-0). Chatham Glenwood is 23-3, Pana JHS is 21-3, Lansing memorial is 21-3 and Carlinville is 21-2. Carlinville is seeking to become the third school in 7AA history to win three state championships. Riverton leads with three titles earned in 1997-99-2003. Carlinville won in l992-98. Three other schools have won a pair of titles: Normal Chiddix, Bourbonnais UGC and Auburn.

Bolingbrook Brooks has the largest seventh-eighth grade enrollment among the 16 finalists at 829. The others are Homer Glen Homer at 755, Chatham Glenwood at 688, Jacksonville Turner at 586, Normal Parkside at 561, Mattoon at 544, Champaign Jefferson at 501, Lansing Memorial at 484, Rantoul Eater at 335, Manteno at 334, Carlinville at 259, Pana at 248, East Peoria Central at 201, Metamora Germantown Hills at 183, Dwight at 176 and Easton Illini Central at 144. IESA rules allow for students in grades 5-7 to play for the school.s seventh grade team.

Five of the 16 schools in the 7AA field can throw tall front lines at their opponents. Normal Parkside (18-4) has six players 5-foot-7 or taller, led by 6-2 middle blocker Melissa Turpin. At 5-9 are teammates Sara Motsinger, Erin McGinnis and Allison Stover. Pana Junior High (21-3) has 6 players on its roster at 5-6 or taller. Leading the way is 5-11 middle hitter Hali Carls. Joining her is 5-9 Katie Lees, 5-7 Hayle Gibson and three others at 5-6. Dwight (14-6) has a trio of 5-8 players in outside hitters Kate Tock and Veronica Skrzpiec and middle hitter Chaney Tambling. Easton Illini Central (18-4), the smallest school in the field from an enrollment standpoint, boasts a trio at 5-9 in middle hitters Haylie Stone and Stephanie Neikirk and setter Kelsey Laugel.

First round pairings for Saturday are:

Match 1 9:30 a.m. East Peoria Central (17-5) vs. Dwight (14-6)
Match 2 10:45 a.m. Homer Glen Homer (17-5) vs. Chatham Glenwood (23-3)
Match 3 12:00 noon Rantoul Eater (13-7) vs. Jacksonville Turner (14-5)
Match 4 1:15 p.m. Manteno (24-0) vs. Pana JHS (21-3)
Match 5 3:00 p.m. Easton Illini Central (18-4) vs. Mattoon (19-3)
Match 6 4:15 p.m. Lansing Memorial (21-3) vs. Champaign Jefferson (17-5)
Match 7 5:30 p.m. Carlinville (21-2) vs. Normal Parkside (18-4)
Match 8 6:45 p.m. Metamora Germantown Hills (17-5) vs. Bolingbrook Brooks (14-0)

Rosters for all of the 16 teams and the pairings chart for the State Volleyball Tournament can be found at

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