Area teams ready for district tourneys

Monday, October 22, 2001

Spikes, sets and serves will fill the air at local gyms as local high school volleyball teams begin the stretch run for a state title.

District competition, the first hurdle, starts today and wraps up Tuesday. District champions advance to four-team sectional meets, which will be held Saturday.

Class 4A, District 1 (at Jackson)

Farmington carries the No. 1 seed into the tournament as it has for a number of years. And has been customary, Jackson, the No. 2 seed and the tournament's host, will be the Knightettes' primary competition. Both teams have received first-round byes.

The two teams faced off for the district title last year with Farmington winning in three games. The squads met earlier this year in Jackson, with Farmington again claiming a three-game victory.

To get to the final, Jackson (19-10-1) will likely have to beat No. 3 Poplar Bluff (26-3-2) in the semifinals, a highly competitive team which it defeated last week in three games.

"We can't look to Farmington because Bluff is a good team," said Jackson coach Nancy Ellis. "If we play well we have as good a chance as anybody to win."

In first-round games today, Poplar Bluff will face No. 6 Cape Central at 6 p.m. and No. 4 Hillsboro and No. 5 Sikeston will square off at 7:30.

Semifinals are scheduled for 5:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship match to follow.

Class 3A, District 1 (at Dexter)

Perryville (9-14-1), the third seed, is not entering the tournament with the momentum it desires after dropping its last two matches of the regular season to Crystal City and crosstown rival St. Vincent.

Perryville coach Amy Birk is hoping the return of senior middle hitter Katie Kutz from a sprained ankle will give the Lady Pirates a lift.

Fredericktown, the No. 1 seed, and No. 2 Dexter earned first-round byes.

Perryville will face No. 6 Doniphan today at 6:30 p.m., while No. 4 New Madrid County Central and No. 5 Kennett play today's other first-round match at 5 p.m.

Semifinals are at 5 and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship match to follow.

Class 2A, District 2 (at Bloomfield)

Top-seed Notre Dame (23-8-1), trying to overcome injury problems and indifferent play at times, should emerge from this mediocre bracket.

However, No. 2 Scott City (14-11-1) could present problems. The Lady Rams took Notre Dame to three games during the regular season.

"If they show up, we'll have a good shot," said Scott City coach Barbara Ice, whose team has shown steady improvement over her four years at the helm.

There appear to be no other threats to the Lady Bulldogs, who have a first-round bye. Notre Dame won the district last year and advanced all the way to the sectional final before falling one victory short of its first final four berth.

Scott City and No. 7 Chaffee (1-14) get underway today at 5 p.m., with No. 3 Twin Rivers and No. 6 Malden tangling at 6:15. Bloomfield, the fourth seed, meets No. 5 Charleston at 7:30 p.m.

Semifinals are scheduled for 5 and 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship match to follow.

Class 2A, District 3 (at Clearwater)

Woodland (7-19) is the third seed in this five-team district.

The Lady Cardinals have faced three of the five squads with wins over No. 4 Puxico and No. 5 Greenville and a loss to No. 2 Clearwater.

"We have seven seniors, so now is the time to show their leadership," said Woodland coach Emily Johnson.

Arcadia Valley garnered the top seed.

Woodland takes on Clearwater Tuesday. Puxico and Greenville meet today in the only first-round game.

Class 1A, District 2 (at Bell City)

Young, surprising Bell City (21-5-1) enters as the No. 1 seed.

"We're playing as well as we've played all year," said Bell City coach Carl Ritter. "No matter what the outcome of the district is, they've had a great season."

The Lady Cubs have gotten consistent contributions from senior leader Katie Spears and freshman Katie Niemczyk, both team leaders in hitting statistics.

Sophomore setter Whitney Abner has been solid, setting up her frontline mates.

No. 2 Bernie, with its rich volleyball tradition, will present the most formidable challenge for Bell City, which drew a first-round bye.

No. 3 Richland and No. 4 Oran (18-9-1) are both capable teams and should the top seeds falter they will be there to pick up the pieces.

Rounding out the lineup are No. 5 Zalma (10-13), No. 6 Advance (10-16-2) and No. 7 Risco.

Today's schedule pits Oran and Zalma at 6 p.m.; Bernie and Risco at 7 p.m.; and Richland and Advance at 8 p.m.

Semifinals are scheduled for 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship match to follow.

Class 1A, District 4 (at Meadow Heights)

This one should be well worth the price of admission as it features two of the premier teams in the area -- Meadow Heights and Leopold.

Coached by former Southeast Missouri State University teammates Leanne Huffman (Leopold) and Erin Hoffman (Meadow Heights), these teams have built a healthy rivalry.

Meadow Heights (25-4), the No. 1 seed, and No. 2 Leopold (22-3-1) figure to face each other in the final. They met three times during the season, with Leopold holding a 2-1 edge.

The Lady Panthers, the 2000 district champion, won the first match in three games, then fell to the Lady Wildcats twice at home, the last loss also going three games.

Huffman hopes the Lady Panthers are ready to pull together and play their best.

"We seemed to play a little tight this season, maybe from pressure to live up to last year's standards," said Huffman, whose team went 32-3 in 2000.

Leading the way for senior-dominated Meadow Heights is a strong front row comprised of kill leader Holly Boyd, Ashley Brune and Hanna James, all seniors.

The Lady Panthers, who have a first-round bye, should receive a boost from the play of senior outside hitter Tessa Bollinger, who is finally reaching full strength after a knee injury hampered her earlier in the season.

Leopold, the Class 1A state champion in 1997, would relish a chance to return to the top. The young Lady Wildcats are led by senior Kyla Horrell; juniors Holly Jansen and Courtney Wesbecher; sophomore setter Wendy Vandeven; and freshman Lori Vandermierden.

No. 4 St. Vincent (10-18-1) and No. 5 Oak Ridge (5-14) get things rolling today at 5:30 p.m., followed by No. 3 Valle and No. 6 Caledonia Valley at 6:30 and No. 2 Leopold and No. 7 Marquand at 7:30.

Semifinals are scheduled for 5 and 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship match to follow.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: