Bell City, Leopold to meet in sectional

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Prep volleyball teams put their seasons on the line today.

Leopold volleyball coach Sandy Davis said she learned that her Wildcats still had to improve in many areas after they were swept by Bell City on Sept. 21.

And now, a little more than a month later with Leopold scheduled to meet the Cubs again -- this time with more at stake in a Class 1 sectional match today -- Davis said her team has filled its holes and is ready for battle.

"We worked on the things we needed to work on and they're playing better ball," Davis said. "Our confidence level is better, our passing is better, our hitting is doing good so I'm confident with them. They have really done a lot in the past two weeks.

"Our hitters are more confident and our block is more confident."

Still, Davis added that Bell City is always tough.

The Cubs enter with confidence and three seniors -- Rachel Spears, Jenny Lathum and Jessica Abner -- who earned a trip to the state tournament the past two years but have come up short of a title.

After Bell City's district victory over Bernie on Tuesday, Cubs coach Erin Hoffman said her squad will not settle for anything less than a Class 1 title.

"Rachel Spears and them, they're a good group and they're good ballplayers," Davis said. "But I think we're going to give them everything we've got. They're ready."

Leopold is led by senior Cassie Seiler, a 2006 second-team all-region setter who recorded 20 assists, seven digs and three aces in the Wildcats' Class 1 District 3 sweep Wednesday against Meadow Heights. The Wildcats are also led by 2006 second-team all-region player Casey Bucher and Maddy Hutchings, who won first-team all-district honors last year.

The winner of the Bell City-Leopold match, which starts at 3 p.m. at Bell City High School, will then play in the Class 1 quarterfinals at 6 p.m., also at Bell City.

Leopold lost to Bismarck last year in the first round of sectionals. When asked the key to victory for her team, Davis said her players know what they need to do and will come ready to play.

"They are pumped up," Davis said. "They've been in this situation before. They've just got to come out and play.

"This past week in practice they have just worked hard. It's a close-knit group. They're up and they are helping each other out. We just got to wait and see."

The battle between Bell City and Leopold, two small-school powerhouses, will not be the only sectional volleyball match for teams from the area.

Notre Dame plays in the Class 3 sectional today at De Soto. The state quarterfinal will be held at 6 p.m.

Scott City and St. Vincent will face off in a Class 2 sectional at Bloomfield High School. The winner will play in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Both schools had their 2006 playoff runs ended by Crystal City. St. Vincent lost to the Hornets in the sectional game and Scott City lost in the quarterfinals.

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