RIVERTON -- Maroa-Forsyth's volleyball team can depend on their seniors.
Middle hitter Reese Bobitt and libero Annelise Sparks helped the Trojans overcome a slow start to beat New Berlin 25-15, 25-17 Monday to advance to the Class 2A Riverton Sectional championship.
"Reese had a great game with seven kills and five blocks for us. Annelise had 16 digs. She’s just covering the back court very well," Maroa-Forsyth coach Mallory White said. "We started off playing slow tonight and stuck on our heels. I think the jitters of a new gym were getting to us a little bit. Once we got going, things took off."
Lydia Hubbard added seven kills and Kate Aupperle had six for the Trojans. Senior setter Maggie Huffman had 17 assists.
The 2-0 victory wasn't perfect, however.
"Our pin hitters struggled a little bit tonight. That’s something we want to get back into the gym and work on tomorrow," White said. "We are really looking forward to Wednesday’s match up against Pleasant Plains. It is going to be a Sangamo battle.”
The Trojans will face Pleasant Plains in the sectional championship Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Riverton. The Cardinals (30-6) won the Sangamo Conference title with a 9-0 record in conference and gave Maroa its only conference loss 2-1 on Oct. 8.
St. Teresa def. Altamont 25-11, 25-14
EFFINGHAM -- St. Teresa quickly put Altamont on its heels in their Class 1A Effingham St. Anthony Sectional semifinal match.
“We played a very clean volleyball match. We executed and put a lot of pressure on them," St. Teresa coach Brad Dalton said. "They weren’t used to seeing our speed. They play a different kind of defense, and we were able to exploit it with the kind of offense we run. It went well."
The Bulldogs were balanced offensively with Lexie Huck, Abby Robinson and DaeLin Switzer each recording seven kills. Huck added 15 assists and Robinson and Grace Buxton each had seven digs.
The Bulldogs (26-10) will face Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg (32-6) Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Effingham St. Anthony. The Hatchets are looking to make their third consecutive trip to the 1A state tournament after finishing second in 2017 and third in 2016.
"Moving on, Stew-Stras is really good. We're going to try to slow them down. Hopefully we can run enough offense at them to make them feel a little uncomfortable. It should be a really good match," Dalton said.
Mount Pulaski def. Mendon Unity 25-11, 26-24
JACKSONVILLE -- Led by Skylar Hayes' 13 kills, Mount Pulaski got the best of Mendon Unity 2-0 and advanced to the Class 1A Jacksonville Routt Catholic Sectional championship.
The Hilltoppers controlled the first set but let the Mustangs rally in the second set.
“We played really strong the first game and kind of let up the second game. Mendon played a little tougher the second game," Mount Pulaski coach Donna Dulle said. "I thought we passed well. Morgan May played excellent defense for us tonight. That was good for us.”
May recorded 12 digs and Abigail Fitzpatrick had 10 for the Hilltoppers. Isabella Wade had 16 assists.
Mount Pulaski (27-11) will face Jacksonville Routt Catholic Wednesday at 6 p.m in the sectional championship.
Mount Zion def. Effingham 25-23, 25-17
SPRINGFIELD -- After a tight first set, Mount Zion picked up its play in the second to defeat Effingham and move on to the Class 3A Springfield Sacred-Heart-Griffin Sectional final.
“It was a little sloppy the first game. Effingham runs their offense so far off the net and they were playing as aggressive as they could. We were getting a lot of touches and they were going out of bounds," Mount Zion coach Jay McAtee said.
As the playoffs have continued, the Braves has shown a tendency to finish their matches forcefully.
"The girls have been doing what they’ve been doing lately, and they finished strong and got into the flow of the second game and played pretty solid," McAtee said. "We’re just going to keep a nice, balanced offense, solid defense, and good block at the net."
Karlee McAtee led the Braves offense with nine kills and Dayna Kennedy had seven. Ali Vaughn recorded 23 assists and both Reiley Drake and Caitlyn Maley had 14 digs.
Mount Zion (28-10) will play Taylorville (30-8) in the sectional championship on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.
The Tornadoes have defeated the Braves twice this season, 2-1 on Sept. 18 and 2-1 on Oct. 11.
Taylorville def. Highland 25-15, 25-13
SPRINGFIELD -- Entering Monday's sectional semifinal against Taylorville, Highland had only lost to two opponents -- Class 3A No. 2-ranked Althoff Catholic and Class 4A's Collinsville.
Add the Tornadoes to that list as Taylorville defeated the Bulldogs 2-0 to advance to the 3A Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin Sectional championship against Mount Zion.
"We were ready for a tough matchup and I think we controlled the ball. Our passers did a really nice job on their receive. We stayed in-system and our middles were able to dominate. Highland was out of system most of the time," Taylorville coach Kim Peabody said.
Senior middle hitter Natalie Snyder had a standout game.
"Natalie had a really nice match. She had a lot of service points for us. She had a lot of good touches off the block," Peabody said. "We’re going to work on defense because Mount Zion is a powerful hitting team, so we’re going to work a lot on that tomorrow.”