Area teams found varied success at the Crossroads Classic in Effingham over the weekend.
The Teutopolis Wooden Shoes had arguably one of the toughest groups on Friday, losing to Bloomington, who came in to the tournament 9-0 and ranked third in the state according to Max Preps, as well as a tough matchup against the eventual tournament champions Ozark from Missouri.
As a result, the Wooden Shoes were placed in the Bronze Flight for tournament play on Saturday. They got things started with a win over Champaign Centennial 25-20, 25-17, followed by a win over Breese Central in the semifinal 25-18, 25-17 to set up a championship game against Carbondale.
In the first set of that match, the Wooden Shoes jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead after a pair of kills from both Julia Frey and Kate Volk. They were able to stretch their lead as far as 12-5 until Carbondale started catching up, feeding their dominant outside hitter Maddie Misner, whose kills brought the Terriers all the way back to just a one-point deficit. After errors from both teams knotted the score up at 20-20, Misner was able to get three kills to get her team closer. Kills from Carly Michels and Frey got them back to just a one-point deficit, but a kill from Misner sealed the game for the Terriers.
In the second set, the Wooden Sheos were able to get out to a big lead once again behind kills from Michels and Frey to make the score 7-1. However, this time, the Wooden Shoes were able to put some space between their opponent, eventually winning the set by a comfortable 25-16 margin to force a third set.
In the Silver and Bronze Flights, overtime was the first to 15. The two teams started neck-and-neck, finding themselves tied at two, six, 10 and 11. But after an error from Carbondale gave Teutopolis a 12-11 lead and momentum, the Wooden Shoes ran with it, scoring on a kill from Frey and a block at the net from Volk set up the game-winning ace from Savannah Grimes.
"They've played a lot of volleyball together," said Teutopolis head coach Tim Mills. "They're used to playing from behind, they don't panic and they understand and do the things they're supposed to do. We got demolished Friday by some really good teams, but we played Ozark and competed with them at a high level. They know they have ability, but they just need to see the results so they know they can play with them. We got a little vindication this year. We lost to Champaign Centennial last year and beat them today, we lost to Breese Central last year and we beat them today as well."
"The girls stayed on task, they had a lot of energy and knew what they were supposed to do with the ball and for the most part, we did. I know it's a bronze, but this is the first championship Teutopolis has ever won at this tournament, so that's why they were pretty excited to get this one."
Also in the Bronze Flight was Effingham, who came up a win short against Carbondale from playing Teutopolis for first place.
Misner gave the Hearts problems as well, making the Hearts pay for any errors. The Hearts were able to take a lead in the first set off good performances from Jacy Boatman and Natalie Carie, but the Terriers got momentum back and was able to tie the set at 17. Carbondale was able to take a brief lead, but kills from Boatman and Carie tied the game at 20, but a serving error gave the ball back to the Terriers, who were able to finish out the set 25-21.
"We had a couple of lulls, a few more than we wanted," said Effingham coach Laurie Bohnhoff. "We won some really long volleys where we kept balls alive, but when we weren't scoring points, we were getting those volleys, but the other team was scoring the points. We had good hit attempts, but they had some better hit attempts.
"I wasn't too disappointed in out play. We've got to be a little more consistent, but I think we're getting a little bit better at hitting aggressively all of the time. We've just got to figure out our consistency, but we made them earn a lot of their points, they just had a little better of a swing."
In the second set, the Terriers carried momentum over, jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead and was able to stretch it to 10-3. But after an ace from Hayley Dively made the score 15-8, the Hearts started to come back, going through their hottest hitter at the time Kiyah Kuhlman, who coach Bohnhoff praised for her effort.
"I thought Kiyah's been playing as well as I've seen her play," Bohnhoff said. "She hit a lot out of the middle and hasn't gotten blocked a whole lot. She's been hitting and blocking real well out of the middle. I thought Natalie had a lot of big kills on the runs we went on. She really hit strong out there. They've been playing big for us.
"It's a fun tournament to be a part of. You get to see some really good hitters. During the season, sometimes you'll see a hitter on a team that's really good. But in this tournament, sometimes I'll watch a team and see six hitters that are really tough. Some of these teams might have two or three Division-I players on one team."
Kuhlman finished with a team-best 41 kills for the tournament while Natalie Carie had 22, Lexi Chrappa had 23 and Jacy Boatman had 13. Carsyn Fearday had 92 assists and Miranda Fox had 45 digs.
The Dieterich Movin' Maroons also participated in the tournament, taking the place of a team that had to drop out late notice. Gabi Hardiek had 17 kills for the tournament, while Jenny Robards had 12 and 17 assists. Allie Poe had 18 digs, while Emily Bloemer had 12.
After splitting their games on Friday night, the Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg Hatchets were placed in the Silver Flight and took seventh place after a competitive match against Bishop Chatard High School.
But the game didn't get off to typical Hatchets fashion, falling in the first set 25-15. But in the second set, the Hatchets got back to their old ways, taking a lead by great passes from Mackenzi Tabbert that Megan Schlechte was able to hit strong for points. Because the offense was flowing as usual, the Hatchets were able to take the second set 25-20 to force a third set. However, it took more than the 15 points to figure this one out, as Schlechte was able to get some big kills down the stretch and was put away by a kill from Mackinzee Reynolds.
"I'm very proud of the girls this weekend," said Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg head coach Ronda Schlechte. "Getting out of the Bronze bracket was a goal we can officially check off out list. We saw great competition and we beat or stayed with the 3A and 4A teams. We will have a lot of villeyball left and I'm excited to see how much we have improved by our next big tourney."
Schlechte finished the match with an astounding 19 kills, while Tabbert finished with 15 assists and Hannah Hayes finished with 12. Carson Cole finished with a team-best 14 digs.