October has treated the St. Joseph-Ogden High School volleyball team well.
And the Spartans still have plenty of time to add to their successful 2019 before the postseason arrives at the end of the month.
SJO carries a seven-match win streak into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. Illini Prairie Conference match at Prairie Central.
The Spartans (22-4, 5-1 Illini Prairie) celebrated three wins last week, defeating Chillicothe IVC 25-13, 12-25, 26-24 this past Saturday at home, knocking off Pontiac 25-12, 25-16 at home last Thursday night and outlasting host Unity 26-28, 25-20, 25-13 on Oct. 8.
The Spartans received at least four kills from six different athletes during its win against Chillicothe IVC. Sophomore Kennedi Burnett finished with a team-high 15 kills, while junior Payton Vallee and senior Katelyn Berry added seven kills each. Seniors Jenna Albrecht (six kills), Lacey Kaiser (six kills) and Emily Bigger (four kills) also got in on the offensive fun.
Bigger directed the offense to the tune of 37 assists and also made 11 digs to secure a double-double. Burnett also achieved a double-double with 11 digs and chipped in from the serving line with two aces.
Senior Rylee Stahl led the defensive effort with 12 digs, while Kaiser (nine digs) and senior Kenly Taylor (seven digs) also contributed.
In the sweep against Pontiac, Berry paced SJO with nine kills and added five digs, while Burnett (seven kills, six digs), Albrecht (four kills) and Kaiser (three kills) all hit well at the net. Bigger posted another double-double with 25 assists and 11 digs to go along with two aces, while Kaiser had a team-high three aces. Stahl also helped out with five digs.
Burnett (13 kills) and Berry (10 kills) supplied the offensive punch the Spartans needed to knock off Unity, while Bigger handed out 30 assists and Stahl made 10 digs.
After Tuesday night’s match at Prairie Central, SJO is set to return home for a 7 p.m. nonconference match against Fisher on Wednesday. That’s the last match until next week for the Spartans, whose final week of the regular season features the final home match of the season against Olympia (7 p.m., Oct. 22) before a road match against Monticello (7 p.m., Oct. 24) and the Topper Tournament at Mt. Pulaski (Oct. 26).
All of that is a precursor to the postseason, which begins on Oct. 29 for SJO. The Spartans received a top seed in their sub-sectional, and start the Class 2A playoffs at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in Fithian against either No. 8 Oakwood or No. 10 Westville in a regional semifinal match. Oakwood and Westville meet at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 in a regional quarterfinal match. The other regional quarterfinal match in Fithian is set for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 between No. 7 Tuscola and No. 11 Georgetown-Ridge Farm.
The winner of that match will play No. 4 Monticello at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the other regional semifinal match, with the regional championship match slated for 6 p.m. on Oct. 31.
The winner of the Oakwood Regional moves on to the Watseka Sectional on Nov. 4, with a semifinal match at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Peotone Regional.