RIVERTON — At a Sangamo Conference gymnasium, the two league reps each won to host a final volleyball meeting for the Class 2A Riverton Section Championship on Wednesday.
In Monday’s first semifinal, Williamsville beat St. Joseph-Ogden 25-19, 25-17 behind 15 kills from Britni Walters. In Game 2 at the Hawk Center, Pleasant Plains beat Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 25-12, 25-12 and got 13 kills from Peyton Bergschneider.
Wednesday’s game at 6 p.m. will be the fourth meeting between Williamsville (25-11) and Pleasant Plains (34-4). plains, runner-up in last year’s Class 2A State Tournament, is 2-1 against the Bullets this season. Plains won 25-23, 25-18 on September 24 in the Sangamon County Tournament, then again 25-18, 25-17 in the Saints Fall Classic at Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington.
Williamsville’s victory came in the Sangamo Conference game on September 27 at home 25-23, 14-25, 25-20.
“One more for a section championship,” said Pleasant Plains coach Denise Dufour. “I’m proud that it’s two Sangamo teams going for it: I think it’s a testament to our conference and the strength of our conference. It’s going to be a battle.”
The Sangamo is guaranteed to have a representative in Class 2A Maroa-Forsyth Supersectional on Friday at 6 p.m. The winner of Riverton will face Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central (34-3-1) or Minonk Fieldcrest (29-4).
Williamsville’s sophomore comes out swinging
Walters, a sophomore, helped set the tone for Williamsville after St. Joe-Ogden quickly took a 5-1 lead. After a timeout called by Williamsville coach Courtney Beard, Walters put in a kill to start a 7-1 rally as the Bullets took the lead 8-6 in the first set.
“I think we were ready to play and show up and once she spoke to us we were ready to play,” Walters said of the Bullets’ response after the timeout.
With the first set score tied 18-18, Walters finished the Spartans in the set with four kills and a service ace.
“We did really well on the front desk tonight and Britni Walters was on another level tonight which was amazing,” Beard said. “We haven’t had as much production from Brooklyn Holdener) as usual, so I thought it was great that Britni could take over that.”
Walters had 11 of his 15 kills in that opening set. The Bullets got a fuller effort on the front line in second.
“I think we spread the ball a lot in the second set,” Beard said. “We went to Britni when we needed to, when we needed to kill and she did what she had to do in the first set. I will definitely need it on Wednesday.”
Norah Boggs added six kills, while Holdener had three.
“We took advantage of where (St. Joe-Ogden was) to put his block,” Beard said. “Their coach (Abby McDonald) at one point didn’t really know where to put the block, so I think that worked to our advantage in that we have hitters who can move the ball around a lot.”
Williamsville is in the hunt for its first section title since 2015. Meanwhile, St. Joe-Ogden finished second in the state in 2017 and third in 2019.
The Bullets’ Hope Keenan had 12 recoveries while Addasyn Achas had six. Riley Holliday led Williamsville with 23 assists.
Pleasant Plains stands tall
Pleasant Plains has the luxury of length on its side. The Cardinals’ starting unit had 5-foot-8 Zoe Hiltabrand, 5-9 Sienna Hadley, Bergschneider, Sydney McAfee and Jaycee Smith — all 5-10 — and 6-1 Lauren Buxton.
“We have a bunch of big hitters,” Bergschneider said. “We’re always pretty reliable with each other and it definitely makes a difference to other teams’ defenses when they don’t know where the ball is going. When we have so many batting options, it makes it a lot harder for set up this block and get your defense set.”
It’s a daunting task to keep the front line of Cardinals from slamming him down.
“It’s often our game plan, it’s just to manage our lanes, to manage our games, to block here when we need to, but make sure we always go where we need to go to make sure that it’s responsible,” Dufour said. . “For us, we have so many options in so many areas where we can move the ball, what a blessing to have that.”
Besides Bergschneider’s 13 kills, Buxton had nine, Hadley finished with five and McAfee had three. Plains’ frontline defense was also tough. Buxton recorded three blocks while Bergschneider and Hadley each had two.
“I’m very proud of the way they played tonight,” said Dufour. “They played as a team and I’ve been preaching to them all season that we have to do this as a team. It’s not just one person. There might be someone shining here or there, but we have to keep going. to grow as a team. . When that happens, results like this, that’s what we see.”
Contact Ryan Mahan: 788-1546, [email protected], Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.
Roundup of the Sectional Semi-Finals
REGULAR U-HIGH 25-25, LINCOLN 23-16: In the first semifinal at the Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium, Lincoln got eight kills from Peyton Sasse and six from Kloe Froebe, but the Railsplitters ended their season. Still, it was the first regional title for Lincoln since 2014.
Jenna Bowman had both service aces for Lincoln (30-7) while Addy Qualters finished with 17 assists and seven digs. Libero Becca Heitzig led the Railers with 13 digs.
Lincoln was looking to win his first section title since 2002.
NORMAL WEST 25-25, ROCHESTER 12-20: In the second semifinal on Monday, Rochester got eight kills and one block from Emma Dixon.
Ella Teeter and Charlotte Beatty each had eight assists for the Rockets (25-11) while Kaylen Reed finished with seven digs. Zoey Tackett and Teeter each had six searches.
It was Rochester’s third straight playoff series with a cup appearance.
TAYLORVILLE 25-25, MARION 19-21: The Tornadoes improved to 28-9-1 with the straight-set win over Marion. Taylorville will face Mascoutah in the division title game Wednesday at 6 p.m.
2021 title race: Cousins Lead Lutheran Pleasant Plains to IHSA Volleyball Finals
IN THE WHITE ROOM
LUTHERAN 25-25, HARDIN CALHOUN 23-23: In the first semi-final, Makenna Cox led the Crusaders with six kills and added 10 digs and three aces to lead the Crusaders into the section title match against Mendon Unity.
Kaleigh Bergschneider posted a team-leading 13 digs for Lutheran, while teammate Anna Schleyhan finished with 12. Caleina Herman led the Crusaders (35-3) with 11 assists.
The Mustangs (33-4-1) made it to the Division Championship by defeating Raymond Lincolnwood 25-19, 25-19. The Lancers’ season ended with a 34-4 record.