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

Red-hot SJO volleyball faces St. Teresa for regional championship

The St. Joseph-Ogden High School volleyball team concluded August with an impressive three-set win at St. Teresa.

If the Spartans want to keep their season going, they’ll need another impressive win against the Bulldogs to conclude October. And SJO has accumulated plenty of big wins this month.

The two small-school powerhouse programs meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday in a Class 2A regional championship match at SJO. The third-seeded Spartans (26-4) carry a 13-match win streak going into the match against the second-seeded Bulldogs (25-9).

The winner on Thursday night advances to play either Pleasant Plains or Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at 5:30 p.m. next Monday in a Monticello Sectional semifinal match.

SJO advanced to the regional final with a 25-14, 25-16 win against Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin on Tuesday night in a regional semifinal match. Kennedi Burnett contributed 11 kills, six digs and five aces to lead the Spartans, while Shayne Immke added five kills, six digs and three aces. Becca Steinbach guided the offense by handing out 21 assists to go along with four digs.

Prior to the start of the postseason, SJO ended the regular season by winning four matches to claim the championship at the Topper Tournament in Mt. Pulaski this past Saturday.

The tournament victory in Mt. Pulaski ended a busy final two-week stretch of the regular season for the Spartans.

The final Illini Prairie Conference match for SJO saw the Spartans win 25-18, 25-10 at Bloomington Central Catholic last Thursday night. Addie Roesch supplied seven kills, Burnett delivered six kills, nine digs and five aces, Steinbach handed out 20 assists and Rachel Divan added four kills and three blocks.

SJO also won 23-25, 25-21, 25-17 in a closely contested home Illini Prairie match against Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Oct. 19 with Immke and Burnett each finishing with eight kills. Burnett added five aces and 13 digs, with Immke contributing 11 digs. Steinbach compiled a double-double with 29 assists and 10 digs, while Hannah Fox chipped in 13 digs.

SJO made the long trip to Chillicothe IVC on Oct. 16 pay off with a 25-20, 28-26 sweep against the Grey Ghosts in Illini Prairie play. Burnett wound up with a double-double by producing 10 kills and 10 digs as Roesch (eight kills, six digs), Ashley Eldridge (six kills, three blocks) and Immke (four kills, seven digs) also contributing at the net. Steinbach distributed 26 assists to go along with six digs, while Divan managed three blocks.

The road also treated SJO kindly on Oct. 14 with a quick 25-8, 25-15 sweep at Illini Prairie foe Olympia. Burnett was steady once again with 10 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Immke (four kills, seven digs), Divan (three kills, three blocks), Steinbach (19 assists) and Fox (10 digs) also played significant roles in the win.

SJO stepped out of Illini Prairie play on Oct. 13 and responded with a 25-13, 25-9 home nonconference win against Fisher. Burnett (six kills, 10 digs), Steinbach (22 assists, five digs) and Fox (11 digs) led the way in the decisive two-set win against the Bunnies.

Before the win against Fisher, SJO cruised to another win, beating Prairie Central 25-15, 25-4 at home in Illini Prairie action on Oct. 12. Immke powered down seven kills, Burnett added four kills and 16 digs and Steinbach compiled 23 assists to go along with six digs.

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