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2013 Eighth Grade Volleyball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the seventh time in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) history four champions will be crowned in the Eighth Grade Girls State Volleyball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (March 16) and concludes Tuesday (March 19) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at Hartsburg-Emden High School. Class 2A will be played at Lewistown High School. Tolono Unity Junior High School will be the site of Class 3A. Normal Kingsley 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 Website at 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 Click on the Volleyball link at the top of the IESA Website Home Page.

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

Class 1A @ Hartsburg-Emden High School

Buckley St. John's (21-1) meets Franklin (22-2) in the first quarterfinal match of the day beginning at 10:00 a.m. Both teams have seen prior tournament action, beginning first with the St. John's Eagles, who return following a one year hiatus in 2012. Buckley St. John's took home fourth place back in 2007 and 2009 followed by an early exit in 2011. Franklin Jr. High School made an appearance in 2010. Next up are the 16-1 Blackhawks of Hardin Calhoun pitted against Oakland Tri-County (17-2) at 11:15 a.m. A state tournament qualifier a year ago in Class 2A, the Blackhawks are set to make their first ever appearance in Class 1A. Meanwhile, the Titans return to state following their appearance a year ago in the 7-2A state tournament. The winners of these matches meet in the first semifinal match at 1:00 p.m.

Two more newcomers to Class 1A meet up in the third quarterfinal match, as Crescent City (13-5) goes head to head with Metamora St. Mary's (19-4) beginning at 2:15 p.m. The St. Mary's Falcons may be new to 8-1A, but have a strong state history back when there were only two classes. St. Mary's reached the eighth grade state tournament three times dating back to 2000 and are looking for their first state trophy. Wrapping up the quarterfinal action will be the one loss Falcons of Flanagan (23-1) up against the reigning 7-1A state champions of a year ago in Hartsburg-Emden (17-7). The Stags not only took home the state title as 7th graders, but the eighth grade team also took home first in 2012. In fact, in each of their prior four 8-2A appearances, Hartsburg-Emden has captured first including three in a row from 2007-2009. The current Hartsburg-Emden 7th graders are in action later tonight in the 7-1A state title contest. The winners of the afternoon matches meet in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m.

Class 2A @ Lewistown HS

Mt. Olive (20-2) takes on Gardner (21-1) in the first Class 2A quarterfinal match of the day, starting at 10:00 a.m. While both teams are new to 8-2A, each has recent state history stemming from only a season ago. Mt. Olive and Gardner both advanced to the 7-2A state tournament last year, with the Tigers nabbing fourth place while the Bombers of Mt. Olive suffered an early defeat. The 2012 7-2A third place winners return in Lewistown Central (19-5) as they battle the Albion Lions (13-12) at 11:15 a.m. Albion is back in the 8-2A state finals after nabbing third place back in 2011, while the Indians are still searching for their first win in this state tournament. In their three prior 8-2A state appearances, Lewistown Central placed third in 2011 but may have momentum on their side after their recent success as 7th graders. The winners of these matches meet in the first semifinal match at 1:00 p.m.

The lone undefeated squad of the tournament, Augusta Southeastern (23-0), meets tournament fixture Mt. Pulaski (19-5) in the third quarterfinal match at 2:15 p.m. The Honeybears are set to make their fourth 8-2A appearance, with the top tournament highlight coming in 2009 cumulating in a state title. The Suns of Augusta Southeastern know a thing or two about championships, as this group took home the 7-2A state title a season ago. Hoping to duplicate history, the Suns are making their first ever 8-2A state finals appearance after taking the leap from Class 1A. Bloomington Holy Trinity (24-1) against Champaign St. Matthew (17-7) serves as the quarterfinal finale when these two teams meet up at 3:30 p.m. This St. Matthew Raider crop is coming off a 7-2A state final appearance in 2012, hoping to carry over that momentum from last years' experience. The Saints of Holy Trinity took home third place in this 8-2A tournament a year ago. First however, the Raiders will watch closely as the 7th grade Saints duke it out in the class 7-2A finals tonight against Danville Schlarman. The winners of these two 8-2A matches meet in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m. Saturday night.

Class 3A @ Tolono Unity JHS

The Vikings of Downs Tri Valley (19-4) meet the Panthers of St. Joseph (19-3) in the first quarterfinal match of Class 3A at 10:00 a.m. St. Joseph returns to the state tournament after a brief appearance back in 2007, while the Vikings are back after taking home fourth in 2010. In 2009 Downs Tri-Valley captured the 8-3A state championship, as the Vikings hope to rekindle that '09 magic. Mackinaw Dee-Mack, unbeaten at 25-0, will see a familiar face come 11:15 a.m. Saturday morning. Pleasant Plains (22-2) is the defending 7-3A state champions and knocked off the Braves in the quarterfinals a year ago. This rematch of state tournament veterans will surely have the folks in attendance on the edge of their seats, as both squads will look to carry on strong 8-3A showings of the past. The Pleasant Plains eighth graders placed second a year ago, while Mackinaw Dee-Mack's girls did the same in 2011. Both schools' 7th grade teams are in action tonight, with Dee-Mack in the third place contest while Pleasant Plains will look to make it back-to-back 7-3A state titles.

Toledo Cumberland (15-8) plays the Hornets of Eureka (23-2) in quarterfinal number three at 2:15 p.m. This nest of Hornets returns following a 7-3A state appearance of a year ago ready to rumble their way to a state championship. Standing in their way will be a Toledo Cumberland squad with plenty of state history of their own. The Cumberland Raiders took home third place in 8-3A back in 2007 and later placed fourth in 2009. The match between Auburn JHS at Divernon (12-7) and the Bobcats of Beecher (19-6) follows at 3:30 p.m. Both teams will be making their first appearance in this tournament, however it's the Trojans of Auburn JHS who are coming off a fourth place finish in the 7-3A state tournament of a year ago. The winners of these two matches play in the second semifinal at 5:15 p.m.

Class 4A @ Normal Kingsley JHS

The Wildcats of Mattoon (18-4) meet Frankfort Summit Hill (19-2) in the first quarterfinal match at 10:00 a.m. The Summit Hill Spartans took home first place in this tournament a year ago and have qualified four out of the past five seasons. Meanwhile, the Wildcats of Mattoon have a strong state history of their own capturing third place back in 2011. Steger Columbia (17-1) plays the Comets of Quincy (20-2) in the second match at 11:15 a.m. Quincy took home third place in both the 7-4A and 8-4A tournaments of a year ago, but have their sights set on a bigger prize this time around. The Cardinals are newcomers to the 8-4A tournament. The winners of these two matches play the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m.

The 2012 7-4A third place winners, Manteno Panthers, return a year later unbeaten at 25-0. In their way will be the Wildcats of Edwardsville Lincoln (21-2-1) in quarterfinal match No. 3 at 2:15 p.m. Edwardsville Lincoln qualified for this tournament a year ago winning their quarterfinal contest and took home the fourth place trophy. Finally, the defending 2012 7-4A champions Normal Kingsley Cavaliers will take the floor looking to make it two straight titles. The Cavaliers faces off against the Indians of Channahon (18-2). The Indians return to the state tournament for the first time since 2008 but are ready to follow the lead set by their 7th grade squad who will battle Edwardsville Liberty in tonight's 7-4A state championship. The winners of the two eighth grade afternoon quarterfinal matches play in the second semifinal match at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, please contact IESA Assistant Executive Director and Volleyball Administrator Julie Cochran at

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