Photo by Bill Roseberry
The Alton Redbirds gather during a timeout at an Oct. 16 match with the Tigers in Edwardsville. The Alton, CM, Roxana, Marquette and EA-WR volleyball programs all delve into the postseason next week.
Area volleyball regionals unfold next week and there figures to be quality competition at Edwardsville (Class 4A), Civic Memorial (3A) and East Alton-Wood River (2A).
The goals are to reach the IHSA four-class finals on Nov. 14-15 at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena. Sectional and super-sectional competition will play out prior to the state finals.
Here’s a quick look at the local regionals:
Alton, which set a school record with 25 wins, is seeded third in the five-team Edwardsville Regional at Lucco-Jackson Gym. The Redbirds took a 25-6-1 record into their regular-season finale Thursday against Belleville West.
“It’s going to be a tough regional and a real battle for anybody to win,” AHS coach Stacey Ferguson said. “It’s not a given.”
Quincy is ranked first, followed by Springfield. Edwardsville, 16-11 and the defending regional champion, is seeded fourth. The Tigers meet Granite City in Monday’s play-in contest. Alton faces Springfield at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Quincy tangles with the Edwardsville-Granite City survivor at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We have to come out with a lot of drive and determination, and play aggressively,” Ferguson said. “We need to focus on making sure the other teams earn their points. We don’t want to give away points.”
Senior setter Jordan Nolan spurs the Redbirds. She gets overall assistance from Kailin Haug, Savannah Fisher, Jada Green, Megan Paulda, Rachel Bridges and Olivia Cauley.
“Jordan has done a good job setting up multiple hitters,” Ferguson said. “It’s pretty solid the way we are doing that.”
The Edwardsville Regional champ advances to the Normal Community Sectional and clashes with the Belleville East Regional winner.
It could be called Anybody’s Regional at CM. No. 1-ranked Greenville is favored, though second-seeded Jersey, third-rated Roxana and the host Eagles have high hopes. The Shells, 18-11 going into the start of the week, are the defending champs.
“There isn’t a team that’s a pushover, nor one that can’t be beaten,” Roxana coach Mike McKinney said. “Seriously, it’s wide open, even if the records don’t show it.”
That’s why second-year CM head coach Amanda Biggs likes her team’s chances at home. The Eagles split with the Shells during the season and lost to Jersey in three games twice prior to Thursday’s regular-season finale at home.
Host CM, the fourth seed, was 5-20 going into the week. The Eagles play Hillsboro in the regional opener at 6 p.m. Monday. They haven’t seen the Hiltoppers or Greenville this season.
“To me when it comes to the postseason any team can show up on any given night and it comes down to who is going to step up and who is going to want that win more,” Biggs said.
Saige Gehrs, Baleigh Gehrs, Kennedy Carnes, Sydney Marshall, Alaina Trosley, and Cara Melton are among the CM leaders. Saige Gehrs, a 5-foot-10 senior, leads the attack at the net.
The defense has been the foundation for the Eagles, but Biggs would like to see the offense step it up and that means having more confidence, something that has been lacking much of the season.
“We have to be an offensive threat and own our points and not be afraid to go on those runs,” Biggs said. “We get into a bad flow sometimes where we’re scared where we’re actually winning and we don’t know how to handle that momentum and that has definitely been a weakness for us.”
Seniors Bailey McGuire, Erica Sheets, Maddy Sheraka, Skye Mounce, Morgan Liley, Deb Bethel and Sam Hurst, along with junior Kara Meyer, spur the Shells.
“Liley has been great serving and Bailey is doing well. She has more than 900-plus kills in her career,” McKinney said. “Our goal is to own the net and keep the other teams on their heels.”
It’ll be Roxana taking on Jersey at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second semifinal match. Greenville gets the CM-Hillsboro winner at 5:30 p.m. The championship affair is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, with the winner going to the Jersey Sectional.
Regional winners from Highland, Taylorville and Jacksonville join the CM champ at the Jersey Sectional.
Staunton is the top seed in the six-team EA-WR Regional at Memorial Gym. The Bulldogs play the Marquette/EA-WR winner at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Explorers and fifth-rated Oilers debut at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Metro East Lutheran then plays Gillespie at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the first semifinal.
The Oilers are hot from a strong showing in the Jersey Tournament on Oct. 17-18. They won their pool and ended up runner-up, losing to the host Panthers in the finals. EA-WR’s Chrissy Long and Tori Covington were named to the All-Tournament team and look to pace the Oilers.
Marquette boasts a big front line with 6-foot middle blocker Taylor Rook and 6-foot-1 middle blockers Brittany Pace and Andria Pace. Alyssa Herzing paces the offense with 186 assists entering the week. Katie Geier and Kalie Buecker have been stout on defense.
Following Staunton’s match Tuesday, Southwestern gets the Metro East Lutheran/Gillespie winner at 6:30 p.m. The title test takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, with the winner advancing to the Sparta Sectional.
Regional winners from Litchfield, Trenton Wesclin and Pinckneyville also advance to Sparta.
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