Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

October 17, 2013

Three-way tie at top adds intrigue to NTC tourney

The better team will show itself in the National Trail Conference tournament today through Saturday, with the three top seeds entering as the favorites to take home the conference.

Top-seeded Stew-Stras, second-seeded St. Anthony and third-ranked Altamont lead three pools of teams to decide who will play in Saturday’s Gold Flight that will decide the champion in a round robin tournament. The three teams all beat each other, with Stew-Stras falling to Altamont and Altamont falling to St. Anthony.

Stew-Stras finished the season on a high note, beating previously unbeaten St. Anthony last week to force a three-way tie for first place. The Comets ended the regular season Wednesday by beating Ramsey.

“Everybody is going to be out for blood,” Stew-Stras head coach Ronda Schlechte said. “There are so many teams that are strong and you never know what’s going to happen. We know we have to work and we’re hoping we can just play our game.”

Still, other teams lie in wait. Neoga drew the fourth seed with a 5-3 record, with size and skill at the net with Courtney Croy, Jillian Deters and Olivia Ott. Fifth-seeded South Central has hung in with plenty of tough teams throughout the season, and sixth-seed St. Elmo/Brownstown is coming off a deep run in last year’s postseason as just St. Elmo. The Eagles nearly knocked off Altamont earlier this season, going to three sets and a final set score of 30-28 Altamont.

The one-loss Comets begin tournament play at 6 p.m. on Friday, playing Windsor, and will play two hours later against St. Elmo/Brownstown. Windsor and St. Elmo/Brownstown play each other at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Enlow Center.

Second-seeded St. Anthony (23-5, 7-1 NTC) wont play until Friday and its pool – in a group with South Central and Cowden-Herrick – will be the last one decided.

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