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The Marquette volleyball team celebrates after winning the first set of a match at the Roxana Tournament against the East Alton-Wood River Oilers.
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Oiler senior Chrissy Long soars high as she lines up a spike against the Marquette Explorers.
The Alton Redbirds girls' volleyball team set the tone early in the Roxana Tournament Tuesday.
Alton secured a decisive 2-0 win over Dupo, 25-18, 25-16 to kick off the tournament. Altamont was then the second team to fall to the Redbirds in quick fashion with a score of 25-15, 25-17, leaving the Redbirds with a solid lead and finishing first in Pool D.
Marquette Catholic began play in Pool B by taking a three-set win over Prairie State conference rival East Alton-Wood River, 25-20, 13-25, 15-13
It was the season opener for Sue Heinz of the Explorers and Patti Smith of the Oilers, both new coaches in 2014.
"I'm relieved that I have that first game under my belt now," said Heinz. "I think our teams were pretty equally matched. We had the height at the net, but the Oilers had the speed and were quick...I'm very happy with our performance in our first match."
The Explorers took the first game over the Oilers, but EA-WR answered quickly in the second game. Kari Westbrook of the Oilers started with the serve and were able to jump out to a 7-0 lead over the Explorers before turning the ball over. EA-WR went on to win Game 2.
Game 3 saw the Explorers charge out to a 9-2 lead before the Oilers rebounded to tie the game at 11-11 each. Marquette finished the match securing the win to advance up the ladder in Pool B.
"We started rough and didn't start with our regular six, which can throw off chemistry," Scott said. "Our second game against Marquette was the team I knew we had, but we came out with a win and approached the third game with our heads down, that's an area where I need to learn about them and we need to figure out how to avoid that in the future."
The Oilers faced the Jerseyville Panthers in the second round and lost 25-14, 25-15 to drop to 0-2 in Pool B.
"They (Jerseyville) have some serious talent," Scott said. "They have strong hitters that are up on the net and they played every minute like they wanted the win, I have to give kudos to them, they played strong all the way through."
Marquette faced Jerseyville in a battle for top honors in Pool B with the Explorers taking the win in three games over the Panthers, 27-25, 5-25, 15-11.
"Andria Pace had five serving aces and Taylor Rook had seven kills," Heinz said. "Taylor also contributed three blocks for us."
Pool play in the tournament continues today with Roxana playing Madison at 5:30 p.m., Madison vs. Bunker Hill at 6:30 p.m. and Bunker Hill and Roxana will square off at 7:30 p.m. in Pool A inside Milazzo Gym in Roxana. Pool C sees Gillespie and Mount Olive playing at 5:30 p.m., Mount Olive and Calhoun battling at 6:30 p.m. and Calhoun and Gillespie playing at 7:30 p.m. in the small gym.
The tournament will conclude on Saturday.
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