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MAROA — By this point, it's hard to find a situation on the volleyball court that Carly Mason hasn't met.

On Tuesday, the Belmont-bound senior from Maroa-Forayth did just that, serving 18 straight points to open the first set in a 25-7, 25-16 Class 2A regional semifinal win over Argenta-Oreana.

It was her first time in such a situation.

"I was just ready to have a fun game and then came out and served 18 points in a row," Mason said. "It was fun."

But the serving was just the start of the run to open the match. The Trojans' (33-3) defense wasn't allowing the Bombers (14-16) to find any hardwood.

"That's kind of our staple," Maroa coach Sarah Mason said. "Annelise (Sparks) is just a stud in the back row. It doesn't matter who we're playing, she is pumped up and keeps our team fired up."

Sydney White led the Trojans with 15 digs and Sparks added 14. Together, the duo combined to thwart any Argenta rally before it could begin.

"We were playing aggressive and we were hitting the ball hard, but we just couldn't get anything to drop on their defense," Argenta coach Mindi Logue said. 

Then, Mason (22 assists) did the rest on offense, setting the ball to Reese Bobitt (10 kills), Kate Beckemeyer (6 kills), Jenessa Wenskunas (5 kills) and White (5 kills).

"That's really awesome, knowing that anyone can put it down at any given point," Carly Mason said. "It's really awesome knowing that anyone I give the ball to is going to get the job done."

It was another night of kills-by-committee for the Trojans, led by Bobitt.

"With Reese, if we can set her and get her in system, she's unstoppable," Sarah Mason said.

But in the second set, Argenta gave the Trojans everything it had in the tank.

The Bombers got out to an early three-point lead and exchanged lead changes with Maroa throughout.

Finally, trailing 11-10, the Trojans went on a 14-6 run to advance to Thursday's regional championship against St. Teresa.

"They knew that they were playing hard, but couldn't get anything to fall their way in the first set," Logue said of the second set. "We knew we had a chance to start over and they wanted to continue to fight and they didn't want to roll over."

Amaya Fox led Argenta with nine kills and Camilyn Newbanks had a team-high six kills and 10 digs.

Bulldogs advance to finals

MAROA — There were flashes of brilliance and flashes of inexperience on Tuesday for St. Teresa.

On the one hand, sophomore Abby Robinson and junior Daelin Switzer came up with big kills when they needed  to.

On the other hand, the Bulldogs (18-18) had upwards of eight errors in the second set to let Meridian hang around in the Class 2A Maroa Regional semifinal.

The Bulldogs, though, held off a second-set rally from Meridian on the way to a 25-10, 25-21 win to move to Thursday's final.

"I think they got a little cocky, and a little arrogant and they didn't have that drive," St. Teresa coach Rhonda Glidewell said. "The first set that they played, that's how I know they can play."

Robinson finished with 10 kills and Switzer added six.

Glidewell said she knows her team can overthink. On several occasions, the Bulldogs hit it too hard, sending the ball sailing out of the back of the court.

It's about reigning in the game.

"We don't have to play so hard and driven all the time," Glidewell said. "We have to play smart. If we play smart, we're unstoppable. If we get ahead of ourselves, we make crazy mistakes like that."

Robinson had six digs, Meredith Brinkoetter had four and freshman Caleigh Craft had four.

Sophomore Lexie Huck led St. Teresa with 14 assists and sophomore Cami Lobb had 10.

Emily Petersen led Meridian with eight kills and Jacey Hill dished out five assists.

The defense, anchored by Petersen's five digs, was strong, preventing St. Teresa from getting into rhythm.

"I was proud of the way the defense played tonight," Meridian coach Tony Holly said. "We've seen each other forever, we go to each other's games. They just gave us a little more than we could handle offensively.

"We just didn't have enough offensively to pull away from them."

The second set consisted of 11 ties and six lead changes before St. Teresa closed out with the win.

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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