January 20, 2020 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Bigger, Burnett play crucial roles as SJO volleyball pushes win streak to five

Balanced offense and strong serving. Both are critical aspects for successful volleyball teams.

The St. Joseph-Ogden High School team followed that formula to near perfection last week in picking up sweeps against Cissna Park on Sept. 3 and Teutopolis last Thursday.

The two nonconference wins extended the win streak for SJO (5-1) to five matches, while the Spartans haven’t dropped a set since losing to St. Teresa in three sets during their season opener on Aug. 27.

SJO will try to keep its current run going at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with a home nonconference match against Champaign Central.

Prior to Tuesday night, the Spartans rolled past Cissna Park 25-7, 25-9 at home and won 25-18, 25-13 at Teutopolis.

Sophomore Kenndi Burnett powered the Spartans’ offensive attack against Cissna Park with a team-high seven kills, while junior Payton Vallee (five kills), senior Katelyn Berry (four kills) and senior Lacey Kaiser (four kills) also got in on some key swings for SJO. The Spartans also fared well at the serving line, with Kaiser compiling five aces and Berry finishing with four aces. Senior Emily Bigger directed the offense to the tune of 21 assists and Burnett had a team-high five digs.

Two nights later, the Spartans traveled to Teutopolis and left with a two-set win against the Wooden Shoes. Burnett, Bigger, Berry and senior Jenna Albrecht all delivered six kills apiece to keep the Wooden Shoes on their toes, with Bigger handing out 25 assists. Burnett (seven digs, two aces) and Kaiser (seven digs, two blocks) also chipped in with other contributions for the Spartans in their most recent win.

After Tuesday night’s match against Champaign Central, the Spartans are slated to host Oakwood at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in another nonconference match before SJO takes part in its first tournament of the season on Saturday at Mahomet-Seymour’s 16-team Bulldog Invitational.

The Spartans are set to face Urbana at 8:30 a.m., Springfield Southeast at 10:30 a.m. and Peotone at 12:30 p.m. in pool-play action before bracket play commences in the afternoon, with the championship match slated for 5:30 p.m. Other teams in the field at M-S are the host Bulldogs, M-S’ JV team, Lexington, Mattoon, Pleasant Plains, Pleasant Plains’ JV team, Rantoul, St. Anthony, Tri-Valley and Williamsville.

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