December 6, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Vallee, Burnett lead SJO volleyball to superb spring

Playing a flurry of matches in a short amount of time hasn’t hindered the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball program.


The Spartans have already reached 12 wins in a truncated spring season.


SJO (10-2) has swept nine of its opponents this season, including a 25-18, 25-19 win at Unity on Tuesday night in Illini Prairie Conference play.


Senior Payton Vallee led the way against Unity, with the senior. compiling a double-double of 10 digs and 10 kills. Junior Kennedi Burnett was also effective with eight kills, 10 digs and three aces. Fellow juniors Rebecca Steinbach (20 assists) and Hannah Fox (eight digs) also chipped in.


Here is a roundup of the rest of SJO’s matches this season:

SJO 2, Pontiac 0. (April 8)
Kennedi Burnett, Shayne Immke and Payton Vallee each had seven kills for the host Spartans (12-2), who handled their IPC foe 25-22, 25-11. SJO, which has won its last five matches, received 24 assists from Rebecca Steinbach, eight digs from Burnett and seven digs from Vallee.

SJO 2, Rantoul 0 (April 7)

SJO swept Illini Prairie Conference foe Rantoul, 25-11, 25-21.

Payton Vallee put down nine kills to lead the host Spartans (11-2), who also received seven digs, six kills and two aces from Kennedi Burnett. Rebecca Steinbach supplied 21 assists to set a well-balanced attack.

Hannah Fox (nine digs), Emily Fisher (six digs) and Ashley Eldridge (three blocks) also chipped in for SJ-O in the win against the Eagles (0-6).


SJO 2, Urbana 0 (April 5)
The Spartans won this home nonconference match 25-16, 25-20 against the Tigers. Vallee produced nine kills and seven digs, with Burnett having a solid all-around performance with seven kills, 12 digs and four aces. Steinbach ran the offense and handed out 22 assists.

SJO 2, Bloomington Central Catholic 0 (March 29)
The Spartans faced little resistance with this Illini Prairie home win, finishing off the Saints 25-6, 25-13. Burnett paced SJO with seven kills, six digs and four aces, while Vallee contributed five
kills and six digs. Steinbach (14 assists, five digs), Fox (six digs) and junior Ashley Eldridge (two blocks) also chipped in.

St. Thomas More 2, SJO 0 (March 25)
In this matchup of Illini Prairie heavyweights, the host Sabers prevailed 25-10, 25-18 in Champaign. Vallee had seven kills and two aces for SJO, which played without Burnett. Eldridge and freshman
Addie Roesch each added two kills.

SJO 2, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 0 (March 24)
The Spartans received significant contributions from multiple individuals in a 25-14, 25-23 nonconference home win against the
Panthers. Vallee nearly produced a double-double with 11 kills and nine digs, while Roesch finished with eight kills and three digs. Sophomore Shayne Immke was also key with seven kills and two digs.
Steinbach (14 assists, six digs), Fox (17 digs) and freshman Rachel Divan (one kill, one dig) all pitched in as well.

SJO 2, Monticello 0 (March 23)
The Spartans swept the Sages 25-14, 25-17 in a home Illini Prairie match. Immke and Vallee each had five kills, while Burnett and Eldridge each had four kills in a balanced offensive effort. Steinbach handed out 16 assists and made eight digs for SJO, with Vallee (10 digs), Fox (seven digs), Burnett (five digs), Immke (three digs) and senior Emily Fisher (three digs) helping out defensively.

Champaign Central 2, SJO 0 (March 22)
The Spartans suffered their first loss of the season with a nonconference road defeat as the Maroons won 25-21, 25-15. Vallee finished with 11 kills and six digs to lead SJO, while Burnett (four
kills, seven digs), Immke (three kills), Steinbach (14 assists) and Fox (13 digs) also contributed.

SJO 2, St. Teresa 0 (March 20)
Playing St. Teresa in a nonconference match in Mahomet, SJO came out with a 25-19, 25-17 victory. Burnett powered her way to nine kills to
go along with three aces. Vallee (five kills, five digs), Steinbach (15 assists), Immke (two kills, five digs) and Eldridge (two kills, two blocks) were also instrumental in the win.

SJO 2, Mahomet-Seymour 1 (March 20)
The Spartans outlasted the host Bulldogs, pulling through in a 25-17, 20-25, 25-20 victory. Vallee, Burnett and Steinbach were big reasons
why as each finished with a double-double. Vallee delivered 14 kills and 10 digs, Burnett had 12 kills and 12 digs and Steinbach distributed 36 assists and 13 digs. Fox (16 digs) and Immke (two aces) also chipped in.

SJO 2, Olympia 0 (March 18)
The Spartans went on the road to Stanford and came home with a 25-10, 25-21 victory in Illini Prairie play. Vallee and Burnett each finished
with eight kills and nine digs, while Burnett served five aces. Steinbach contributed a double-double of 20 assists and 12 digs, while Fox made 13 digs.

SJO 2, Chillicothe IVC 0 (March 16)
In their Illini Prairie opener, SJO put forth a solid effort in picking up a 25-17, 31-29 road win against the Grey Ghosts. Vallee led the way with 14 kills, Burnett added seven kills and 10 digs, while Steinbach (27 assists) and Fisher (three aces) also played an important role.

SJO 2, Hoopeston Area 0 (March 15)
The Spartans opened their season with a resounding 25-15, 25-13 win against Hoopeston Area, SJO’s first match since placing third at the
Class 2A state tournament in November 2019. Burnett flourished with 11 kills, four digs and four aces, while Steinbach distributed 18 assists
and Vallee chipped in seven digs.

What’s ahead
The Spartants welcome STM for a 6 p.m. home match next Monday.

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