Area teams begin defense of titles

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bell City, Leopold, St. Vincent and Scott City will try to repeat as district champs.

Four area volleyball teams brought home district titles last season -- all in classes 1 or 2 -- and Bell City went on to place third in Class 1.

The same four squads enter district play today as top seeds, and again the Cubs lead the way into the postseason.

Bell City, the No. 1 seed to Class 1 District 2 at Advance, has a 30-1 record and has not lost since facing Class 3 Notre Dame at the season-opening Notre Dame Volleyballfest.

Leopold, St. Vincent and Scott City are the other three defending district champions.

Leopold carries a 24-3 record into Class 1 District 3.

St. Vincent, which won the Notre Dame Volleyballfest for the second straight year, sits at 26-6-2 heading into Class 2 District 3 at Clearwater.

Scott City (21-7-4) will host Class 2 District 2.

"I feel my team is playing fairly well," second-year Scott City coach Carl Ritter Jr. said. "The kids are really excited, but districts is a whole new season. You can't take anybody lightly, and we don't want to look ahead. We have to go out with confidence and execute, and if we do that we should do well. But we are the No. 1 seed and defending champions, so everyone will be out to beat us."

The Rams, district champions three of the last four years, have yet to win a sectional match in school history. Hoping to expand the program's achievements this year is setter Kacie Ritter and leading attackers Jenni Heisserer and Brooke Simpson.

Also losing in the Class 2 sectional last year was St. Vincent, which won its first district title since 1987. The Squaws have built off that performance with a better regular-season record this year.

"They just have to remain focused and get the job done or one loss and you're done," St. Vincent coach Mary Rosenquist said. "With this group of girls I think they can do that."

St. Vincent hit a bump with three late-season losses to Class 3 Festus, Leopold and Crystal City, the fourth-place finisher in Class 2 last year that looms as a potential sectional foe.

Bell City, the 2003 state champion, has been the nemesis for 2002 state champ Leopold in each of the last two seasons.

The Cubs are just as potent this year after having lost just one starter from last year's squad. Bell City won its first Stoddard County Activities Association tournament title this season in addition to capturing the 40-team B.A. Sports Volleyball Classic hosted by Southeast Missouri State.

Sophomore setter Codie Lancaster runs the show, while Rachel Spears, Jenny Lathum and Jessica Abner also have been leading players for Bell City.

Leopold would like the chance to avenge last year's quarterfinal loss to the Cubs. The Wildcats first will have to navigate the field at Saxony Lutheran.

Perryville and Notre Dame are the second and third seeds in the Class 3 District 1 tournament at Dexter.

In Class 4 District 1, Jackson is seeded fifth and Central sixth. Farmington, the district host, is the top seed.


Class 1 District 2

at Advance

* Teams: No. 1 Bell City, No. 2 Bernie, No. 3 Advance, No. 4 Richland, No. 5 Oran, No. 6 Risco

* Schedule: Monday, Richland vs. Oran, 5 p.m.; Advance vs. Risco, 6 p.m.; Bell City vs. Richland/Oran winner, 7 p.m.; Bernie vs. Advance/Risco winner, 8 p.m.; Tuesday, championship, 7 p.m.

* Notes: Bell City has won three straight district titles and has made the state final four in two of the past three years. The Cubs finished third in Class 1 last year.

Class 1 District 3

at Saxony Lutheran

* Teams: No. 1 Leopold, No. 2 Oak Ridge, No. 3 Meadow Heights, No. 4 Saxony Lutheran, No. 5 Zalma, No. 6 Marquand

* Schedule: Monday, Saxony Lutheran vs. Zalma, 6 p.m.; Meadow Heights vs. Marquand, 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Leopold vs. Saxony Lutheran/Zalma winner, 6 p.m.; Oak Ridge vs. Meadow Heights/Marquand winner, 7 p.m.; championship, 8 p.m.

* Notes: Leopold has won four straight district titles. The Wildcats own three state titles but have not advanced to the state final four since 2002.

Class 2 District 2

at Scott City

* Teams: No. 1 Scott City, No. 2 Twin Rivers, No. 3 Puxico, No. 4 Chaffee, No. 5 Bloomfield, No. 6 Charleston

* Schedule: Monday, Chaffee vs. Bloomfield, 5 p.m.; Puxico vs. Charleston, 6 p.m.; Scott City vs. Chaffee/Bloomfield winner, 7 p.m.; Twin Rivers vs. Puxico/Charleston winner, 8 p.m.; Tuesday, championship, 7 p.m.

* Notes: Scott City has won the past two district titles and three in four years. The Rams have never won a sectional game.

Class 2 District 3

at Clearwater

* Teams: No. 1 St. Vincent, No. 2 Woodland, No. 3 Arcadia Valley, No. 4 West County, No. 5 Clearwater, No. 6 Greenville

* Schedule: Monday, West County vs. Clearwater, 6 p.m.; Arcadia Valley vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, St. Vincent vs. West County/Clearwater winner, 5:30 p.m.; Woodland vs. Arcadia Valley/Greenville winner, 7 p.m.; championship, 8:30 p.m.

* Notes: St. Vincent is the defending district champion and enters with a 26-6-2 record. Woodland is enjoying one of its most successful seasons in recent years, but has not won a district title since 1999.

Class 3 District 1

at Dexter

* Teams: No. 1 Dexter, No. 2 Perryville, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 Kennett, No. 5 Doniphan, No. 6 New Madrid County Central

* Schedule: Monday, Kennett vs. Doniphan, 6 p.m.; Notre Dame vs. NMCC, 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Dexter vs. Kennett/Doniphan winner, 5 p.m.; Perryville vs. Notre Dame/NMCC winner, 6 p.m.; championship, 7:30 p.m.

* Notes: Kennett won its first volleyball district title last year but is seeded fourth this season. Perryville has put together one of its highest win totals in recent years and will bid for its first district title since 1997. Notre Dame had its streak of five straight district titles snapped last year and has struggled at times this season.

Class 4 District 1

at Farmington

* Teams: No. 1 Farmington, No. 2 Sikeston, No. 3 Poplar Bluff, No. 4 Hillsboro, No. 5 Jackson, No. 6 Central

* Schedule: Monday, Hillsboro vs. Jackson, 5 p.m.; Poplar Bluff vs. Central, 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Farmington vs. Hillsboro/Jackson winner, 5 p.m.; Sikeston vs. Poplar Bluff/Central winner, 6:30 p.m.; championship, 8:15 p.m.

* Notes: Farmington has won the past three district titles. Central brought home a rare winning record this season but still pulled the No. 6 seed. Jackson had a rare losing season and has not won a district since 2002.

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