Litchfield and Hillsboro had two honorees each on this year’s South Central Conference all-conference volleyball teams, which were expanded from 18 to 21 for the 2021-22 season.
The Panthers’ honorees were Blair Johnson and Emma Walch, a pair of juniors who were key to Litchfield’s impressive turnaround this year. Johnson was one of seven first team honorees, while Walch joined six others on the third team.
Hillsboro’s selections were also underclassmen, with junior Layne Rupert making the second team and sophomore Kinley Richardson a third team recipient. Senior Kaci Papin made it back for just the last few games, not enough to earn a spot on this year’s list and ending a string of three straight selections for the Topper hitter.
Papin was one of six returning players from last year’s all-conference team, which featured four juniors, two sophomores and a whopping 12 graduating seniors.
Four of the other five returnees, Pana senior Jillian Hamilton, Staunton juniors Haris Legendre and Kennedy Legendre and Carlinville senior Jilly Stayton made the first team, while the fifth, Vandalia senior Lexi Wehrle, made the second team. This was the third time that Hamilton, Haris Legendre and Stayton had been honored and the second time Kennedy Legendre had received the nod.
Joining the returnees on the first team were Pana senior Lainey Hicks, Staunton senior Savannah Billings and Johnson, who was out all last year with an injury.
More seniors joined Wehrle on the second team, with Pana’s Rachel Holthaus, Carlinville’s Catie Sims and Vandalia’s Abby Guffey also being selected. The other three spots went to underclassmen, Rupert, Staunton sophomore Kylie Lucykow and Carlinville freshman Isabella Tiburzi, the only freshman on this year’s team.
Besides Walch and Richardson, who was the only other sophomore to get picked, the third team consisted of Pana senior Kiley Ladage, Greenville senior Alison Ridens and junior Lilly Funneman, Southwestern senior AmyDee Bachman and Gillespie senior Madison Niemeyer. Of the 21 overall selections, 12 were seniors, while six more were juniors.
Staunton and Pana would have the most picks with four each as they finished 1-2 in the conference for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs finished 8-0 in the SCC and 30-9 overall, while Pana was 27-10 with a 7-1 SCC mark.
Carlinville, who tied Litchfield and Greenville for fourth, had three selections, followed by the Purple Panthers, Comets and Toppers with two each. Southwestern and Gillespie, who Hillsboro didn’t play due to COVID, each had one honoree.
South Central Conference 2021 Volleyball Standings
Staunton 30-9 8-0
Pana 27-10 7-1
Vandalia 19-11 5-3
Carlinville 22-15 4-4
Litchfield 13-13 4-4
Greenville 13-22 4-4
Hillsboro 10-18 1-5
Southwestern 4-24 1-6
Gillespie 6-22 0-7
South Central Conference All-Conference Team 2021 Volleyball
First Team: Haris Legendre, Jr. - Staunton; Jillian Hamilton, Sr. - Pana; Kennedy Legendre, Jr. - Staunton; Blair Johnson, Jr. - Litchfield; Savannah Billings, Sr. - Staunton; Lainey Hicks, Sr. - Pana; Jill Stayton, Sr. - Carlinville.
Second Team: Lexi Wehrle, Sr. - Vandalia; Kylie Lucykow, So. - Staunton; Layne Rupert, Jr. - Hillsboro; Rachel Holthaus, Sr. - Pana; Catie Sims, Sr. - Carlinville; Abby Guffey, Sr. - Vandalia; Isabella Tiburzi, Fr. - Carlinville.
Third Team: Emma Walch, Jr. - Litchfield; Kiley Ladage, Sr. - Pana; Alison Ridens, Sr. - Greenville; AmyDee Bachman, Sr. - Southwestern; Lilly Funneman, Jr. - Greenville; Kinley Richardson, So. - Hillsboro; Madison Niemeyer, Sr. - Gillespie.
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