Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 5, 2013

Comets, Bulldogs, Cougars set for sectionals

Alex McNamee
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Stew-Stras vs. Tri-County (6 p.m., Arcola Sectional)

Stew-Stras head coach Ronda Schlechte was impressed by Tri-County’s defense after losing to them during sectionals last season, but this year is different – now, the Comets’ defense is getting rave reviews.

Neoga assistant coach Julie Fritcher said last week that Stew-Stras has a great defense and described it in a similar way to how Schlechte describes Tri-County’s defense.

“They’re really quick and they pull everything up,” Schlechte said. “I’m always talking to the girls about how there are things we can improve on and defense is one of those things.”

The Comets enter Tuesday’s Arcola Sectional against Tri-County on a two-game winning streak against the team that ended its season last year, beating them this summer and during September’s Crossroads Classic, 25-22 and 25-21.

Schlechte said the summer victory against Tri-County was a big momentum boost for her squad, knowing it could play against Tri-County, which lost to the eventual state champion last year, Keith Country Day School in Rockford.

Stew-Stras will look to beat Tri-County for a third time on Tuesday, which Schlechte said is a difficult to task because the teams are so familiar with each other.

However, the Comets advanced to Tuesday’s sectional by beating Neoga for the regional championship last week, which was the Comets’ third time beating the Indians this season.

“I hope the girls just come into the game, knowing it’s going to be intense,” Schlechte said. “(Tri-County) can play some volleyball. They’re a good team.”

The Comets play at 6 p.m. in Arcola on Tuesday, looking to win and advance to the sectional championship on Thursday, which will be against either Heritage or Arthur-Lovington.

St. Anthony vs. Robinson (7 p.m., Newton Sectional)

St. Anthony hasn’t played Robinson, who won its program’s first regional championship last week, and head coach Kristie Bailey said she doesn’t know much about about the Maroons.

Robinson won the Newton Regional as the third seed, beating Lawrenceville, Casey-Westfield and Newton en route to Tuesday’s matchup against St. Anthony.

Bailey said she’s confident in her team moving forward, even though she doesn’t know a lot about Robinson, because of the way the Bulldogs played in regionals.

“It’s hard because we’ve never played them,” Bailey said. “We did really good things in practice and came out and played almost flawless.”

The Bulldogs beat Pana and Shelbyville to advance to tonight’s game. They made quick work of Shelbyville to win the regional championship, 25-18 and 25-10.

Bailey said her team is going to have to come out on top of its game Tuesday to keep its season alive. The Bulldogs and Maroon start at 7 p.m. in Newton. The other semifinal will be played at 6 p.m. between Edwardsville Metro East Lutheran and Carlinville.

South Central vs. Cisne (7 p.m., Lebanon Sectional)

South Central will see Cisne for the first time this season on Tuesday, but got their with its share of challenges in two regional games last week.

The Cougars beat Patoka in two sets, but by two points in each set, and won the regional championship against North Clay in three sets, winning the first and third sets.

South Central head coach Mary Brimberry said her team in playing with a lot of confidence, as the Cougars look for their second sectional championship in three years, winning it two years ago.

Even so, Brimberry said she doesn’t know much about the Cisne squad the Cougars will be up against, besides that they have a good record and a good middle block, headed up by Chynna Byars.

Tuesday’s game is at 7 p.m. in Lebanon and the winner will play in the sectional championship against either Woodlawn or Lebanon on Thursday.