Spikers pushing toward post season

By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s volleyball team took another step toward the post season upending a good Monticello squad in two games dropping the Lady Sages on Tuesday, Oct. 3 by 25-20 and 25-22. The Lady Warriors hope to carry their second half of the season momentum, 8-2 in their last ten matches, into what possibly could be one of the toughest draws in Class 2A.

Coach Lydia Miller’s team secured the sixth seed in the Hoopeston Sectional and are being sent to the Monticello Regional where they will square off with state runner up from a year ago St. Joe Ogden. If they win most likely waiting in the championship game will be top seeded and a very good team St. Thomas More.

Isabelle Shelmadine continued to sparkle in the big win over the Sages. Shelmadine, the Champaign News Gazette’s Athlete of the Week, came through with a match high 21 assists in the two game sweep. She found sophomore Karli Dean for five of her nine kills in the first set. Dean pounded home two of the kills during a 7-1 run that blew open a close game one allowing the Warriors to cruise to a 1-0 lead heading into the second set.

Allison Clark and Cassie Russo were also strong early. The duo, who posted a combined 11 kills, seven and four respectively, were big down the stretch in game two. Russo blocked a big ball late in the second skirmish, and Clark tallied a pair of kills helping the Warriors notch win number 11 on the year moving to 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the Central Illinois Conference.

Shelmadine was strong on defense also coming through with 12 saves in the contest, but it was defensive specialist Natalie Bates that led the way. The junior speedster found her way to 14 digs consistently passing the ball to Shelmadine kick starting the Warriors offensive attack. Also hustling in the back row was Lexie Russo donating seven saves to the cause. McKinlee Miller and Gemini Pettry found their way into the stat line as well combining for three digs, three assists and two kills in the match.

Three nights later on Thursday the 5th a road trip to St. Teresa wasn’t quite as enjoyable. Tuscola fell in two sets to a good Lady Bulldog squad 24-26, 17-25 falling to 11-6 overall.

The full story can be found in the Oct. 11, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.