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Nine Teams With At Least 19 Wins in 2006 Class 7AA State Volleyball Tournament

Nine of the 16 teams qualifying for the 18th annual Illinois Elementary School (IESA) Class 7AA Girls State Volleyball Tournament beginning Saturday have won at least 19 matches this year. This is the 31st year of IESA girls volleyball and the last year of the two-class system. Next year there will be four classes in girls volleyball.

Competition gets under way Saturday (March 11) with first round matches at two sites. Four matches will be played at Bloomington Junior High School beginning at 10:00 a.m. Four matches will be played at Normal Chiddix Junior High School beginning at 10:00 a.m. The four winners at each site come back Saturday afternoon to play quarterfinal round matches at 3:00 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively. Semifinals will be played at Bloomington Junior High School Tuesday (March 14) at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. The third place and championship matches will be played Wednesday (March 15) at Bloomington Junior High School with the third place match set to begin at 6:00 p.m. and the championship match at 7:30 p.m.

Only Chillicothe (23-0) brings an unbeaten record into the state final, while three others top the 20-win mark. They are Stanford Olympia (20-2), Easton Illini Central (20-2) and Toledo Cumberland (20-1). Bringing 19 wins into the tournament are El Paso-Gridley (19-3), Jacksonville Turner (19-1), Staunton (19-4), Riverton (19-3) and St. Joseph (19-4). The combined won-loss record of the 16 finalists is 294-53, a winning percentage of .847.

Five of the 16 finalists are making their first appearance in the 7AA State Tournament. They are: El Paso-Gridley, Toledo Cumberland, Mokena, Shorewood Troy and Macomb. Riverton, the 7AA state champion in 1997, 1999 and 2003, is making its 11th appearance in the 18 years of the 7AA state final volleyball. Shelbyville Moulton is making its eighth appearance. No other school has qualified more than four times.

The largest school in the field is Shorewood Troy with a 7-8 grade enrollment of 796. The others are: Mokena 587, Jacksonville Turner 579, Lansing memorial 512, Stanford Olympia 339, Peotone 309, Macomb 270, Riverton 251, Shelbyville Moulton 200, El Paso-Gridley 183, Staunton 181, Maroa-Forsyth 178, Toledo Cumberland 175, Easton Illini Central 156, St. Joseph 156 and Chillicothe 154. IESA rules allow for students in grades 5-7 to play for the school.s seventh grade team. The average enrollment of the finalists is 314.

Three of the 16 teams in the 7AA field can throw tall front lines at their opponent. In fact, over 30 of the 224 players listed on the rosters are 5-foot-7 or taller. Jacksonville Turner, making only its second appearance in 7AA but a volleyball powerhouse over the years, boasts six players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-10 Molly DeGroot, 5-9 Jassamayn Criss, 5-8 Samantha Pinkerton, 5-8 Emily Schneider, 5-7 Jenny Jackson and 5-7 Chloe Werries. Stanford Olympia has five at 5-7 or taller. They are 5-9 Ashley Litwiller, 5-8 Jessica Nicholas, 5-7 Jacie Eichelberger, 5-7 Ellie Sloneker and 5-7 Alyssa Bennet 5-7. Staunton boasts four players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-8 setter Kristen McDowell, 5-7 Sam Senaldi, 5-7 Jody DeVries and 5-7 Katie Yakos.

Unbeaten Chillicothe, the smallest school in the 7AA state final, has a trio of players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-8 Emily Cox, 5-7 Shelby Sutherland and 5-7 setter Jodi Strumbaugh, a sixth grader. Pairings for Saturday (March 11) are:

At Bloomington Junior High School

Match 1   10:00 a.m.   Peotone (16-7) vs. El Paso-Gridley (19-3)
Match 2   11:15 a.m.   Jacksonville Turner (19-1) vs. Stanford Olympia (20-2)
Match 3   12:00 noon   Staunton (19-4) vs. Lansing Memorial (18-4)
Match 4   1:45 p.m.   Easton Illini Central (20-2) vs. Riverton (19-3)
Match 9   3:00 p.m.   Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 (quarterfinal)
Match 10   4:15 p.m.   Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 (quarterfinal)

At Normal Chiddix Junior High School

Match 5   10:00 a.m.   Toledo Cumberland (20-1) vs. Mokena (16-3)
Match 6   11:15 a.m.   Shelbyville Moulton (13-7) vs. Shorewood Troy (17-3)
Match 7   12:00 noon   Chillicothe (23-0) vs. Macomb (19-1)
Match 8   1:45 p.m.   Maroa-Forsyth (17-8) vs. St. Joseph (19-4)
Match 11   3:00 p.m.   Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6 (quarterfinal)
Match 12   4:15 p.m.   Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8 (quarterfinal)

Visit for additional information regarding this, and all other, IESA state final events. Complete pairings for the tournament are on the Web Site. Click on the Volleyball link at the top of the Web Site front page. Also click on the FanZone icon for information about all aspects of the state final event.

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