By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Staunton High School volleyball team is continuing to strengthen its heavyweight reputation with an array of wins over conference foes and larger non-league opponents.
The Bulldogs, who are 23-6 overall and 7-0 in the South Central Conference heading into the final week of the regular season, kept the coals stoked post-Macoupin County Tournament and straight set Greenville Oct. 11 and North Mac Oct. 13.
Staunton had a nine-game winning streak busted by O’Fallon at the O’Fallon Autumn Classic, but fought back and won out the remainder of the weekend. The Bulldogs defeated Highland, Red Bud, Pekin and Rochester – teams representing schools that featured higher enrollments and were members of a larger Illinois High School Association postseason class. The Bulldogs placed third with an epic 21-25, 25-23, 15-12 come-from-behind victory over the Rockets (Rochester) after they overcame an 0-1 deficit against the Dragons (Pekin) an hour earlier.
Staunton extended its winning streak to five matches with a 25-7, 25-17 conference win over Litchfield Oct. 18.
Carlinville heats up
The tides are beginning to turn for Katie Hammann’s Carlinville Cavaliers.
This season had been challenging for CHS due to its varsity team’s youth, but Carlinville is picking the right time of the year to heat up.
Coming out of the Macoupin County Tournament, the Cavaliers were sitting at the bottom of SCC with an 0-5 league record. One week later, that mark is at 3-5 and CHS has moved from 10th to fifth in the standings.
Carlinville swept Gillespie (5-22; 0-6 SCC) Oct. 11 and Southwestern (7-20; 1-5 SCC) Oct. 13 and carried the momentum from those two wins over to the Bethalto Civic Memorial Tournament Oct. 15. In pool play, Carlinville defeated Jerseyville 25-18, 25-17 and Metro East Lutheran 25-19, 25-20, while losing to eventual champion Roxana 19-25, 22-25. In the third place match, the Cavaliers rallied and stunned the host CM Eagles 22-25, 25-21, 15-6. Isabella Tiburzi was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Cavaliers kept the ball rolling with a big home 25-20, 19-25, 25-15 victory over Pana at the Big House Oct. 18. Libero Makenah Dugan took that game over with a double-double of 12 service points and 11 digs while adding a trio of aces. Melanie Murphy and Kallie Kimbro each put down seven kills and Tiburzi contributed 17 assists. With that trimuph, Carlinville is officially at .500 and statistically a winning volleyball team for the first time all season. The Cavaliers, which started the season 0-7, are 16-16 and have reigned in 10 of their last 14 matches.
North Mac falls short at Vandalia
North Mac rebounded from an opening set loss but barely fell short in conference action at Vandalia, 17-25, 25-14, 24-26 Oct. 18.
Over the weekend, the Panthers went 1-2-2 at a tournament in Waverly, defeating Pittsfield, tying Winchester and South County, and losing to Augusta and PORTA.
North Mac is 17-12-2 overall.