October 24, 2019 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Burnett, Bigger spark SJO volleyball on recent win streak

A big hitter. And a superb setter.

Every quality volleyball team needs that combination, and the St. Joseph-Ogden High School team certainly does.

The Spartans ran their win streak to four matches with Monday’s thrilling 28-30, 31-29, 26-24 nonconference win at Tri-Valley.


That victory happened after SJO had an easier time last Wednesday night with a 25-11, 25-12 home win against Bloomington Central Catholic in Illini Prairie Conference play.

The Spartans (19-4, 2-1 Illini Prairie) will look to keep those good vibes rolling — and hit the 20-win mark on the season — entering Tuesday night’s showdown at league rival Unity (22-1, 3-0). The two teams will square off at the Rocket Center in Tolono at 7 p.m.

Burnett compiled two double-doubles in the two most recent wins by SJO. The sophomore led the way with 20 kills and 14 digs, to go along with two aces, during Monday night’s win at Tri-Valley. Bigger distributed the ball to the tune of 38 assists while serving four aces to complement Burnett’s big night. Senior Rylee Stahl (13 digs) and junior Payton Vallee (eight kills) also contributed significantly to lift SJO to the marquee nonconference win.

Burnett and Bigger both had stellar performances against Bloomington Central Catholic, but they weren’t the only Spartans to shine. Burnett finished with 10 kills and 10 digs, while Bigger handed out 28 assists, served six aces, made three digs and dropped in two kills. But senior Katelyn Berry (eight kills, four digs), Vallee (five kills), senior Jenna Albrecht (three kills, three digs), senior Lacey Kaiser (three kills, five digs), senior Rylee Stahl (five digs) and senior Kenly Taylor (five digs) also chipped in.

After Tuesday’s match at Unity, SJO will be home the rest of the week, hosting Pontiac at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Chillicothe IVC at noon on Saturday in two Illini Prairie matches.

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