LEBANON -- For Clay City, last year's run to the state championship as the smallest school in IHSA history made for a story.
The sustained success the Timberwolves are having may be even more impressive.
Clay City won its second straight sectional on Thursday, downing Woodlawn 25-22, 25-22, the third time this season the Wolves have beat Woodlawn.
"Wow. What a game. What a night," Clay City coach Jamie Harvel said. "These girls definitely know when to turn it on.
"This was the third meeting with Woodlawn this season. We kept hearing from Woodlawn parents and fans that 3 times a charm. Well, we used that against them and the 3rd time was a charm."
Clay City followed its tested formula as Tori Matanich led a balanced offense to a win. That team mentality shined through throughout the match and Harvel said she saw teammates picking each other up.
"If we made an error, we made sure we executed the next play. The girls did make some silly mistakes tonight, but they made up for it on the next play. That's been our motto the entire year."
Once again, Clay City is on the brink of the state tournament. For the super-sectional, the Wolves take on Norris City-Omaha-Enfield on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rend Lake College.
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Norris City (27-6) beat Valmeyer 25-20, 25-19 and is a historically solid program but fighting for their first trip to state.
Taylorville def. Jacksonville 25-15, 28-26
MOUNT ZION -- The Tornadoes continued ripping through the postseason.
On Thursday, it earned them a program first -- a sectional title.
Peyton Jackson led this young Taylorville team with 12 kills, while Elizabeth Curtin had eight and Payton Tucker added seven.
Courtney Coy dished it out with 31 assists.
The Tornadoes are now one win away from a state berth, and they've been on a mission this postseason. They avenged two regular-season losses to Mount Zion on Tuesday by winning the sectional sectional semifinal on the Braves' home floor. They got there by beating Greenville, then Rochester in regionals.
Taylorville will now play Mascoutah (27-8) at 6 p.m. Saturday in the 3A Effingham Super-Sectional. Mascoutah beat Columbia, 25-20, 25-22, on Thursday, handing Columbia its only loss of the season.