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Seventh Grade Volleyball State Final Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the first 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 10) and concludes Tuesday (March 13) at four sites.

Class 1A will be hosted by El Paso-Gridley Junior High School but the tournament is being held at the high school gym in El Paso. Class 2A will be played at Pawnee 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. Quarterfinals will be played Saturday with the first of four games beginning at 10:00 a.m. The four quarterfinal winners will meet in semifinal matches Saturday evening with the first of two matches set to begin at 5:30 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.

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 matches Saturday. Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free. Fans attending the matches Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry into the facility throughout the day. The price of admission for the third place and championship match 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. This year the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

The 2007 state tournament format and playing schedule is different than in previous years. Until this year, 16 Class A and Class AA teams in seventh grade and eighth grade advanced to two respective 16-team state finals, and competition was conducted in a three-day format.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at 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 2007 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Perennial powers Hartsburg-Emden and Peoria Limestone Walters are among the field for the Class 1A State Tournament, one in which six of the eight finalists have won 17 or more matches. The combined won-loss record for the field is 141-24, a winning percentage of .854.

Hartsburg-Emden (20-3) and Ottawa Wallace (20-2) bring the most wins into the state final. They are in opposite brackets.

In Saturday's quarterfinals, Hartsburg-Emden meets Kincaid South Fork (15-3) in Match No. 1 at 10:00 a.m. In Match No. 2, Peoria Limestone Walters (18-2) faces Royal Prairieview Ogden (18-3) at 11:15 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., it's Ottawa Wallace versus West Salem (17-3). In the nightcap at 1:45 p.m., Springfield Calvary (19-2) faces Mazon-Verona-Kinsman (14-6).

Ottawa Wallace, which qualified both its seventh and eighth grade girls basketball teams for the Class 1A state finals, has five players from the seventh grade basketball team on this volleyball team. They are 5-8 outside hitter Mikaela English, 5-1 outside hitter Madi Smith, 5-2 setter Jessica Jessen, 5-5 outside hitter Rosa Williams and 5-7 setter Alyssa Winchester.

Hartsburg-Emden has no player taller than 5-7. The Stags have 5-7 Samantha Swart, 5-6 Faith Jones, 5-6 Sydni Rohlfs and 5-2 Mary Rankin listed as their outside hitters. Kincaid South Fork can counter with 5-10 outside hitter Tori Aymer and 5-8 outside hitter Kiersten Ittenbach. Setters for the Ponies are 5-3 Tristian Payne and 5-3 Carley Prince.

Royal Prairieview Ogden is the tallest team in the state final. The Mustangs have 5-9 Taylor Ehmen and 5-8 Brooke Bohlen as middle hitters and 5-8 Logan Rupert and 5-8 Shelby Franzen as outside hitters. Peoria Limestone Walters is the smallest and youngest team in the tournament with only 5-7 outside hitter Kelly Arnett and 5-5 outside hitter Brittany Morris taller than 5-4. The Rockets list 13 players on their roster and only two are seventh graders — 5-4 Sheyanne Redmon and 5-4 Haley Garber. Four members of the team are fifth graders.

West Salem has 5-7 Jordan McWhirter, a sixth grader, at middle hitter and 5-5 Sam Potter at outside hitter. No other member of the team is taller than 5-4.

Springfield Calvary has 5-6 outside hitters Lauren Tarpley and Danielle Rhodes. Mazon-Verona-Kinsman can counter with 5-8 middle hitter Corley Baker and 5-8 setter Allison Coughlin.

Of the 94 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, nine are fifth graders, 31 are sixth graders and 54 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-1A is the smallest class. The combined enrollment of the eight Class 1A finalists is 443. Enrollments of the eight finalists in bracket order are: West Salem 35, Peoria Limestone Walters 42, Hartsburg-Emden 46, Springfield Calvary 49, Kincaid South Fork 61, Royal Prairieview Ogden 63, Ottawa Wallace 73 and Mazon-Verona-Kinsman 74.

Class 2A

Perennial powerhouse Mt. Pulaski (18-4) is joined by seven others in what appears to be on paper as a wide open Class 2A state final. The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 134-32, a winning percentage of .807.

Only one team has won 20 or more matches and that is Marseilles ES (22-4). The Panthers have 6-1 Cordy Murphy as an outside hitter. Marseilles ES has won more matches than its quarterfinal round opponent, Paris Crestwood (11-7) has played. They open the tournament in quarterfinal Match No., 1 at 10:00 a.m. Paris Crestwood has 5-8 Katy Spesard at outside hitter and 5-7 Nique Tyler at middle hitter.

Lewistown Central (18-4) meets La Harpe (18-6) in Match No. 2 of the quarterfinals at 11:15 a.m. then it's Mt. Pulaski versus host Pawnee (19-2) at 12:30 p.m. The final quarterfinal pits Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln (19-2) against Findlay Okaw Valley (18-3).

Lewistown has five players listed at 5-7 and the Indians have the most overall height. Middle hitters at 5-7 for the Indians are Brittany Beyers and Lauren Tippet. Outside hitter at 5-7 is Carrie Engle. Setters at 5-7 are Jessica Hadsall and Kristyn Legrande. La Harpe has no player taller than 5-4.

Mt. Pulaski has 5-7 Ashley Norris at outside hitter with 5-6 Madison Leinweber and 5-6 Rachel Durchholz, a sixth grader, as middle hitters. Pawnee can put 5-8 Ciara Woodcock, 5-7 Jennifer Stevens and 5-6 Sara Rothe at the net as a unit.

Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln has 5-6 Sara Buchanan and 5-6 Abby Neece as middle hitters, but no other player taller than 5-4. Findlay Okaw Valley is even shorter, but does have 5-6 Olivia Herzog and 5-6 Sarah Henderson as middle hitters.

Of the 111 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, one is a fifth grader, 19 are sixth graders and 91 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-2A is the second smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists in bracket order are: La Harpe 80, Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln 81, Mt. Pulaski 85, Findlay Okaw Valley 86, Pawnee 105, Paris Crestwood 117, Lewistown 126 and Marseilles ES 130.

Class 3A

Three of the eight finalists in the Class 3A state final come into the quarterfinal round with only one loss. The combined won-loss record of the eight is an impressive 147-27, a winning percentage of .845. Leading the way are Toledo Cumberland 21-1, Manhattan 20-1 and Glasford Illini Bluffs 20-1. Toledo Cumberland and Manhattan are in the upper bracket. Glasford Illini Bluffs is in the lower bracket.

Auburn (17-8) meets Toledo Cumberland in the opener at 10:00 a.m. Then Chillicothe (16-5) faces Manhattan at 11:15 a.m. Downs Tri-Valley (14-6) battles Beardstown MS (18-3) in Match No. 3 at 12:30 p.m. Glasford Illini Bluffs plays Dwight (21-2) in the last quarterfinal at 1:45 p.m.

Auburn has 5-6 middle hitters Erika Kuensiter, Amanda King and Lindsey Gaines. Setter for the Trojans is 5-2 Megan Jones. Toledo Cumberland will counter with six players 5-6 or taller.

Chillicothe's roster is made up of 6 seventh graders and 9 sixth graders. The Mustangs can throw the tallest front line at an opponent with 5-10 outside hitter Jameel Woods, 5-10 setter Jodi Stumbaugh and a trio of 5-5 outside hitters. Manhattan has only two players taller than 5-4 in 5-6 middle hitter Colleen Hansen and 5-6 outside hitter Alyssa Leggro.

Downs Tri-Valley has 5-8 middle hitter Molly Lessen, 5-7 outside hitter Emily Eytalis and 5-2 outside hitter Jen Wiltse, who got the winning kill in the sectional. Beardstown MS has 5-10 middle hitter Sarah Flowers and four players 5-6, including setter Jade Hoenes.

Glasford Illini Bluffs boasts the tallest team in the tournament. The Tigers have 5-9 Kenzie Wall, 5-8 Hannah Wall, 5-7 Chelsea Hartman and 5-7 Allie Rupp at outside hitters along with 5-8 setter Quincy Merritt and 5-7 setter Abbie Tinnon. Dwight's tallest player is 5-6 middle hitter Kiley Colebank. Only others on the roster taller than 5-4 are 5-5 setter Amy Froelich and 5-5 middle hitter Marcella Paige.

Of the 114 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, none are fifth graders, 15 are sixth graders and 96 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-3A is the second largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists in bracket order are: Glasford Illini Bluffs 150, Dwight 153, Toledo Cumberland 167, Chillicothe 178, Auburn 179, Downs Tri-Valley 181, Beardstown MS 244 and Manhattan 261.

Class 4A

Unbeaten Lansing Memorial (22-0) heads the list of an impressive field in the Class 4A State Tournament. In fact, the combined won-loss record of the eight teams is 127-22. Ten of those 22 losses are by Lansing Memorial's quarterfinal round opponent Forrest Prairie Central (13-10).

Take away the record of Forrest Prairie Central and the combined record of the remaining seven teams is a whopping 117-12, a winning percentage of .907.

Lansing Memorial meets Forrest Prairie Central in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. Then Chatham Glenwood (17-2) faces Stanford Olympia (16-4) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. Perennial power Jacksonville Turner (13-3) faces Danville North Ridge (17-2) at 12:30 p.m. in the third match. Channahon (13-5) battles Homer Glen Homer (16-1) in the last quarterfinal match at 1:45 p.m.

Lansing Memorial has 5-8 outside hitter Nicole Gill and Danijela Jerkan. The Mustangs have nine others at 5-5 or taller, including 5-5 setters Shelby Curtin, Erin Farrell and Jillian Rodriguez and 5-6 setter Courtney Whipple. Forrest Prairie Central has only three players 5-6 in setter Haley Haberkorn, middle hitter Macki Dameron and outside hitter Jordan Wheat.

Chatham Glenwood has 5-8 Britni Harper as a setter and a trio of players at 5-7. They are middle hitter Jill Stafford, middle hitter Bre Gardner and setter Madison Hannah. Stanford Olympia, on the other hand, has 5-5 Bailey Moore at middle hitter and the rest of the Spartans are 5-4 or shorter.

Chatham Glenwood is coached by veteran Larry Sample, who set the standard at Jacksonville Turner. Sample coached Jacksonville Turner to the all-time leading eight state Class 8AA titles. Turner won the IESA state championship under Sample in 1989, 91 and 93-98. He also coached Jacksonville High School to the IHSA Class AA state title in 1988 and to third place in 1998.

Jacksonville Turner is making the school's eleventh state final appearance, the most ever in IESA volleyball. Jacksonville Turner can throw 6-2 Abby Heise and 5-8 Bridgette Lonergan in the middle. Danville North Ridge can counter with 5-8 Shawneis Jones and 5-8 setter Barbara Jackson-Summers.

Channahon can put 5-7 middle hitter Michelle Landahl and 5-7 defensive specialist Megan Butler on the floor together. Homer Glen Homer can feature 5-10 middle hitter Allyssa Podwell and 5-8 setter Tasha Tripolitakis.

Of the 112 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, none are fifth graders, two are sixth graders and 110 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists in bracket order are: Stanford Olympia 30l, Channahon 353, Forrest Prairie Central 355, Jacksonville Turner 519, Lansing Memorial 520, Danville North Ridge 524, Chatham Glenwood 670 and Homer Glen Homer 818.

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