New Athens wins elusive volleyball regional

News-DemocratOctober 31, 2013 

Before Thursday, New Athens was a town without a girls volleyball regional championship.

But all that changed after the Yellow Jackets defeated Cahokia Conference rival Steeleville for the fourth time this season with a 25-17, 25-5 victory in the championship match of the Class 1A Steeleville Regional.

"It was just an amazing experience for this town," said New Athens coach Kyle Patton, whose team has been in five regional title games in her nine-year tenure. "Right now we're dancing in the gym, we're eating pizza and we got to ride into town on the fire trucks."

New Athens' top players include senior Jessica Crabtree; junior Anisa Al-bori, junior Denae White, junior setter Jaycie Wahlig, Aleen Dutkanych and sophomores Abby Marlow and Alina Lance.

Patton said she believes the regional title was the first one won by a New Athens girls sports team since the 1990 softball regional.

New Athens (25-9) will take on either Norris City or Galatia at the 1A Crab Orchard Sectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Norris City and Galatia's match was postponed Thursday and will be played Friday.

New Athens had beaten Steeleville twice in conference play and another time at the Herrin Tournament without losing a set.

The Lebanon Greyhounds won their third straight regional title by beating Bunker Hill 25-21, 25-17 Thursday in the championship match of the Mount Olive Regional.

The Greyhounds will be playing on their home court in the sectional. They'll go against Woodlawn at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinal round.

In Class 2A, the Gibault Hawks outlasted the Nashvile Hornettes 21-25, 25-20, 25-22 in the championship match of the Carlyle Regional.

It was the Hawks' first regional title since placing fourth in the state in Class 1A in 2011.

The Hawks (23-8) advance to play Pinckneyville at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Carterville Sectional.

Metro-East Lutheran knocked off top-seeded Altamont 25-18, 25-15 in the championship match of the Class 2A St. Elmo Regional.

The Knights (22-13) will play Carlinville (24-7) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Newton Sectional.

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