Photo by Diane Cox
The Roxana Shells pose with their second-place trophy from the Roxana Tournament on Saturday.
ROXANA — Twelve area volleyball programs gathered to compete last week in the sixth annual Roxana Tournament, which concluded Saturday with Roxana and Calhoun facing off for the tournament championship.
Calhoun swept past Roxana in two games to win the match and claim the title with a score of 25-15, 25-19.
Calhoun’s powerful duo of Grace and Emma Baalman controlled the net, putting up large individual numbers. Grace Baalman had 17 digs and 12 kills, while her sister Emma had 14 kills and 10 service points against the Shells.
“We’ve been in the small gym the whole tournament and we played at the same time, so we didn’t get a chance to see Roxana. We had to go off what we knew of them from last year,” Calhoun head coach Ann Gilman said. “Our girls came out and got the job done; they are such a great group of athletes and have the size and height that allows us to come out and do what we practice.”
As the host school for the tournament, Roxana has yet to win the title and keep the trophy at home but has come close several times. Putting up top numbers for the Shells were senior Maddy Sheraka, who racked up eight service points, three kills and two blocks; while senior Deb Bethel contributed 22 assists and Bailey McGuire had 10 kills, seven service points and two aces for the day. Sophomore Niah Bevolo led the Shells with nine service points.
“I have nothing negative to say about our team, they worked so hard and busted their butts out there, we just came up against a very strong team in the finals,” Roxana head coach Mike McKinney said. “They (Calhoun) have a couple of girls that are just so hard to stop, but I’m proud of what we did and what we accomplished. Yes, today the better team won, but we can walk away knowing we did the best that we could do and that’s all I can ask for.”
Competition for the Roxana tournament began on Tuesday, Aug. 26, for Pool B and Pool D and Wednesday, Aug. 27, for Pool A and Pool C to set the bracket for Saturday’s finals. The Gold Division included Roxana vs. Marquette Catholic and Alton vs. Calhoun.
In the semi-finals, Roxana made quick work of the Marquette Explorers in two sets with a score of 25-13, 25-19 in Milazzo Gym and sat in wonder of who they would face in the finals, while Alton and Calhoun faced off in the small gym. Alton and Calhoun battled through three sets with Calhoun coming away the victor by the score of 25-15, 22-25, 15-8.
Alton bested the Explorers 25-10, 25-10 in the third-place match.
Marquette’s Taylor Rook had a stellar day on Saturday, despite the pair of losses, picking up 11 blocks, seven solo and four assisted.
Schools participating in the Roxana Tournament were Marquette, East Alton-Wood River, Jersey, Dupo, Alton, Altamont, Roxana, Madison, Bunker Hill, Gillespie, Mount Olive and Calhoun.
The final standings for the tournament were: Calhoun in first, Roxana in second, Alton in third, Marquette in fourth, Jersey in fifth, Mount Olive in sixth, Bunker Hill in seventh, Altamont in eighth, EA-WR in ninth, Gillespie in 10th, Dupo in 11th and Madison finishing 12th.