Ultimately, one trip to state just wasn’t enough for the Lincolnwood Junior High volleyball program this year as the eighth grade Lady Knights followed in the footsteps of their seventh grade teammates and advanced to the IESA State Tournament with a 26-24, 25-20 victory over Carrollton in the Pawnee Sectional on March 11.
The Knights, who are now 17-2, will play Mt. Pulaski, who also made it to state in seventh grade and is 23-4 on the season. The two teams have played once before, early in the season, with Mt. Pulaski picking up a 25-17, 25-23 victory over Lincolnwood.
Round two of the match-up will take place on Friday, March 15, at 5:45 p.m. at Auburn High School, the host of this year’s IESA Class 2A State Tournament. The winner of that game moves on to the semifinal on Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m. against the winner of Friday’s 4:30 p.m. game between Lexington and Mendon Unity, who won the Class 2A seventh grade IESA state championship.
Two other seventh grade qualifiers are on the other side of the bracket as Effingham St. Anthony (who Lincolnwood beat at the seventh grade tournament) plays Peoria Heights St. Thomas at 7 p.m. on Friday, while Kewanee Wethersfield (who beat Lincolnwood in the seventh grade fourth place game) plays Gardner at 8:15 p.m.
The third place and championship games will also be on Saturday, with the third place contest at 2 p.m. and the championship at 3:15 p.m.
The Lady Knights aren’t the only area eighth graders headed to state. The Morrisonville Junior High Lady Tomahawks defeated Greenfield 25-22, 25-16 at the Greenfield Sectional on Monday, March 11, to advance to the IESA Class 1A State Tournament.
The Tomahawks are 20-2 on the season, with their only losses coming to Class 4A Taylorville and fellow Class 1A state qualifier Findlay Okaw Valley. Morrisonville won their regional with wins over Ramsey (25-16, 25-16) and Sorento (25-18, 25-14). This will be the school’s first IESA state appearance in any sport according to the IESA website.
The Tomahawks will open up the tournament against Peoria Limeston Walters (15-5) at 4:30 p.m. at Pana High School. The winner of that game plays the winner of the Findlay Okaw Valley/Pontiac St. Mary’s first rounder, which starts at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, in the semifinals at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16.
The other side of the ladder features Hartsburg-Emden versus Lincoln/West Lincoln Broadwell and Ottawa Marquette versus Royal Prairieview Ogden. The third place and championship games will also be on Saturday, with the third place contest at 2 p.m. and the championship at 3:15 p.m.