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Roxana senior Bailey McGuire drills the ball over the net against the Bunker Hill Minutemaids in the Roxana Tournament on Wednesday.
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Maddy Sheraka goes in for the kill against Madison in the Roxana Tournament on Wednesday.
ROXANA — The Roxana Shells kicked off their season in fine fashion Wednesday at the Roxana Tournament inside Milazzo Gym, cementing themselves in Saturday's semifinals.
Roxana started Wednesday with a 25-14, 25-11 win over Madison. The Shells followed it up with a quick 25-15, 25-21 win over Bunker Hill to capture the title in Pool A and earn their spot in the semis at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Marquette Catholic.
"We have six really strong hitters at the net," Roxana head coach Mike McKinney said. "We have tremendous setters that can get the ball where our hitters need it to be. I have a lot of confidence in them."
Leading for the Shells was 5-foot-8 senior Maddy Sheraka who amazed the home crowd with her performance at the net with 20 kills against Madison. Deb Bethel put up 17 assists for the Shells.
"I didn't realize she (Sheraka) had that many kills, but it seemed every time she went to the net she was knocking one down," McKinney said. "Maddy is one of those great players who is probably sometimes overlooked...she's got a great work ethic and is a leader on and off the court."
The Shells faced off with Bunker Hill and made quick work of the Minutemaids with game leaders Niah Belavo with 11 assists and Bailey McGuire with five digs, 13 serves and six aces.
"I know that if our passing is there, our hitters can get the job done," McKinney said. "Every team has a weakness and right now we're focusing on serve reception, but as long as we can make the passes, we can put the ball down."
Madison fell to Bunker Hill in two games with scores of 25-7, 25-7. Bunker Hill's Cassidy Taylor led the charge with 12 assists and six aces and Anna Howard and Taylor Oxford shared five kills each over Madison.
In Pool C action Wednesday in the small gym, Mount Olive defeated Gillespie 25-15, 25-17 in the first match before falling to Calhoun 25-9, 24-26, 15-7. Calhoun then won Pool C with a 25-19, 25-15 victory over Gillespie.
Calhoun earned its place in the semifinals on Saturday, facing the Alton Redibirds at 12:30 p.m. in the small gym. The winner of that match will square off with the winner between the Explorers and the Shells at 1:30 p.m. in Milazzo Gym.
East Alton-Wood River will face Madison at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in consolation play. If the Oilers lose they will play again at 10:30 a.m. for 11th place. If they defeat Madison they battle for ninth place at 11:30 a.m. All of EA-WR's consolation matches will be in the small gym.
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