High School Sports

Three metro-east teams will begin volleyball playoffs as No. 1 seeds

The Highland Bulldogs volleyball team got coach Tina Beyer her 200th career victory.
The Highland Bulldogs volleyball team got coach Tina Beyer her 200th career victory. News-Democrat file photo

Coaches determine the seeding for the Illinois High School Association girls volleyball playoffs by their own votes, with the voting completed last week to help build the upcoming playoff schedule.

There are 707 high schools playing volleyball in Illinois competing for state titles in four classes, which will all be decided Nov. 12 at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena in Normal. Regionals begin Oct. 24, sectionals begin Nov. 1 and super-sectionals are set for Nov. 5 with the four state tournaments Nov. 11-12 at ISU.

Metro-east teams awarded No. 1 seeds were Edwardsville in the Class 4A Alton Regional, Columbia in the Class 3A Columbia Regional and Althoff in the Class 2A Carlyle Regional.

Area teams voted No. 2 seeds were OFallon at the Class 4A O’Fallon Regional, which also includes Belleville West, along with Highland at the Class 3A Mater Dei Regional, Class 1A Valmeyer at its own regional and Gibault at the Class 2A Chester Regional.

The new BND Large-School Rankings (Class 3A-4A) have Edwardsville, Columbia and O’Fallon in the top three spots. The top three teams in the BND Small-School Rankings (Class 1A-2A) are Althoff, Gibault and Wesclin.

Highland coach notches 200th win

Highland coach Tina Beyer said picking up her 200th career victory at the Highland Tournament made the milestone even more special with the Bulldogs completing a 5-0 run top win the championship. Highland was 25-1 through Tuesday with a nine-match winning streak in the midst of one of their best seasons in school history.

Highland also won previous tournaments this season at Granite City and Carbondale.

Beyer coached at Highland from 2002-04, then took time off to raise her young family before returning to coaching in 2010.

Beyer played for Highland’s first volleyball coach Nona Holmstrom from 1983-87. Holmstrom’s teams won 194 matches from 1975 to 1991 and now Beyer is the school’s all-time wins leader.

“The best part about my time with the program, as a coach, has been the girls,” Beyer said. “I have been very blessed over the years , not just with tremendously talented volleyball players, but with wonderful young ladies. Any success I have had at Highland has been because of the hard work and dedication of the athletes and because of the support of my assistant coach for the past 10 years, my sister (Dawn Hubbard).”

Red Bud building momentum

Red Bud’s 10-13-2 record, as one might expect, includes plenty of ups and downs. With the playoffs just around the corner, the Musketeers are showing signs of life after going 4-0 to win their own tournament last weeks.

Red Bud knocked off Wesclin in the championship game.

“We finally have everybody healthy and playing well,” said Red Bud coach Erin Legendre, who welcomed back outside hitter Mackenzie Schweizer after Schweizer missed two weeks with a concussion. “It’s good to have her back and healthy. We’ve been playing OK, but we’d been struggling to make it all click.

“We don’t have the easiest schedule in the world, so it’s good to be in October and playing well as a team.”

The Musketeers have a potential Division I prospect in junior Morgan Cowell, among the St. Louis area leaders with 283 kills. Legendre said Cowell has been chosen for the MaxPreps American Volleyball Coaches Association Phenoms watch list, a precursor to being selected to play in the AVCA/Under Armour All-American Game.

“She didn’t make the cut last year, but was recognized and this year she has been invited to go,” said Legendre, who compared the experienced to a clinic or combine setting with on and off the court activities planned.

“She’s a workhorse for sure. She takes a lot of our swings from the front row but she swings from the back row as well. She’s a great server (21 aces) and good passer and plays good defense for us. We depend on her quite a bit.”

Legendre said senior setter Kelly Barnfield (209 assists) and junior setter Makenzie Harbaugh (282 assists) have also been key players this season along with libero Sydney Schweizer (423 digs) and middle hitter Sophie Richards (98 kills, 30 blocks).

Freeburg Monster Mash tourney

Columbia, Freeburg, Waterloo and Gibault are among the top teams vying for the championship in Saturday’s Freeburg Monster Mash tournament. Pool play begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Freeburg High, Freeburg Grade School, Smithton Grade School and St. Joseph’s Grade School in Freeburg. The championship is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Freeburg High.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders