It’s been a miracle run for the eighth grade Lincolnwood Junior High volleyball players the past two years, one that came to a close on Thursday, March 18.
In 39 games, the Knights are 39-0, going 27-0 last year as seventh graders, followed by a 12-0 record in this year’s COVID-shortened season, which was capped off by a 25-19, 25-20 win over Mt. Pulaski in Thursday’s sectional.
The record, which includes victories over Central A&M and Springfield Christ the King in this year’s regional, is even more impressive when you look at it set by set. Seventy-eight times the Knights stared across the net at their opponents, and 78 times they emerged victorious.
The accomplishment is slightly bittersweet with the news that Morrisonville approved an all-sports co-op with Lincolnwood, which the Panhandle board approved in February. The co-op moves all junior high sports to Morrisonville, while Lincolnwood will host the varsity sports.
“From the first team in 1992 to make it to the state tournament to the last team in 2021, it’s been wonderful to be a Knight,” Coach Kimberly Denney said after Thursday’s game on Facebook. “Although we are sad that our days to add to the banners and hallways at Lincolnwood have come to an end, we are so excited to join two great volleyball programs together!”
As for the other Montgomery County eighth grade teams, Nokomis was in Lincolnwood’s regional and bowed out against second seeded Springfield Christ the King, 22-25, 25-12, 25-18, to end their season. Like Lincolnwood, the Nokomis seventh graders won their regional and drew Mt. Pulaski in the sectional, but weren’t able to get past the future Hilltoppers, falling 25-21, 25-13.
In Class 8-3A, Hillsboro made it to the regional championship with a 25-13, 25-13 victory over Gillespie, before falling to Staunton 25-9, 25-14 in the championship game. Litchfield also picked up a win in the same regional, upsetting Southwestern 14-25, 25-17, 25-23, before falling to Staunton 25-16, 25-15.