Mt. Olive edges Bunker Hill
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Carlinville and Staunton high school volleyball teams continue to strengthen their championship-contention qualities as the 2023 regular season enters the homestretch.
Both programs recently added another 20-plus win season to their treasured histories and are looking to use success in the midst of tough schedules to tool for a deep playoff run.
Staunton battled five power programs at the O’Fallon Tournament last weekend and Carlinville placed third at the Civic Memorial Classic. The Bulldogs went 2-3 at O’Fallon, beating East St. Louis and Rochester while suffering straight set defeats against Columbia, O’Fallon and Breese Central.
The Cavaliers beat Metro East Lutheran, Jacksonville and Litchfield in Bethalto and nearly knocked off tournament champion Civic Memorial. The host Eagles needed three sets to put away a scrappy CHS bunch, 25-23, 23-25, 15-10.
On Oct. 16, Staunton overcame another high-powered foe as the Bulldogs survived a tough road test at 3A Taylorville. Staunton officially hit the 20-win mark for a sixth consecutive year by beating the 22-8 Tornadoes, 25-16, 22-25, 25-20 in a three-set barnburner.
Carlinville improved to 23-11 with a dominant 25-12, 25-6 home victory over Springfield Lutheran at the Big House on West Main that same evening.
Isabella Tiburzi, who was named to the Civic Memorial Classic All-Tournament team along with Chloe Pope over the weekend, posted a double-double of 11 kills and 11 assists while adding a pair of rejections.
Staunton, which recently defeated Carlinville in conference play and the Macoupin County Tournament final, will close the regular season against Pana and Gillespie. The Bulldogs, winners of 41 consecutive conference duals, currently lead the Cavaliers by one game in the SCC standings and are within striking distance of a fourth straight outright league crown. Carlinville travels to Pana and hosts Vandalia.
With the IHSA postseason now in total focus, the two rivals know that they could potentially meet in the championship of the Wood River regional.
Staunton is the top seed and will draw the winner of the Oct. 23 quarterfinal between No. 7 East Alton Wood River and No. 9 Gillespie. Carlinville, No. 4 overall, awaits either No. 5 Marquette or No. 12 Southwestern. Staunton takes the floor at 6 p.m., followed by Carlinville at 7:30 p.m. Tues., Oct. 24.
The regional championship is scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.
Mt. Olive edges Bunker Hill
Mt. Olive edged Bunker Hill in a three-set match at Hlafka Hall Oct. 16.
The Wildcats improved to 10-19 and sent the Minutemaids to 1-24.
Charlie Bono propelled the Wildcats with five service aces and eight assists. Ellie Borrowman and Bella Leutken contributed 10 digs apiece. Sami
Roeske rejected three Bunker Hill kill attempts at the net.
Mt. Olive, a No. 12 seed in the 1A Nokomis sub-sectional that will face No. 6 Centralia at Raymond Oct. 24, is 3-5 in the MSM Conference. Bunker Hill, paired with No. 6 Greenfield-Northwestern in the Carrollton bracket as a 14th seed, is 0-9.
In other action, Gillespie lost 12-15, 24-26 against Carrollton at home and Greenfield-Northwestern got outmuscled by Nokomis, 14-25, 13-25.
No. 10 North Mac, selected as a regional host for the Pleasant Plains sub-sectional, begins postseason play against No. 7 Pittsfield Mon., Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in Virden. The winner meets No. 2 Plains in semifinal play the next night – same time, same location.