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Local Sports

A quick glance at Class 1A volleyball's Final Four

Here is a look at the 1A Final Four competing this weekend in the IHSA Class 1A State Volleyball Finals at Normal's Redbird Arena (statistics courtesy of the IHSA):

Newark Lady Norsemen

Record: 38-2

Head coach: Tonya Grayson (18th year, 461-158)

Assistants: P.J. McKinney, Sam Anderson

Enrollment: 165

State experience: 2017 (4th in Class 1A)

Roster breakdown: 4 seniors, 7 juniors, 3 sophomores, 1 freshman

Current winning streak: 9 matches

Statistical leaders: Aces — Madi Malone 78, Naomi Sweeney 65, Meggie Scott 50; Kills — Madi Malone 474, Megan Williams 227, Mattie Chapman 204; Blocks — Mattie Chapman 55, Madi Malone 30, Alyssa Gittins 28, Evelyn Martin 28; Assists — Olivia Nelson 896; Digs — Meggie Scott 513, Madi Malone 313

Path to Redbird: Won Christian Liberty Regional 25-9, 25-3 over Lycee Francais de Chicago; won Serena Sectional 25-16, 25-14 over Aurora Christian; won Elgin Westminster Supersectional 25-23, 24-26, 25-20 over Durand

In a sentence: With arguably 1A's most dynamic weapon in Malone, a substantial experience edge over semifinal opponent Grayville and straight-sets victories this season over both Hart-Em (25-12, 25-23 on Sept. 14) and St. Teresa (25-22, 25-11 on Oct. 13), the Lady Norsemen look to be the team to beat in Normal.

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Grayville Bison

Record: 27-9

Head coach: Alyssa Schroeder (2nd year, 36-27)

Assistants: Michaela Greathouse, Erica Mitchell

Enrollment: 86

State experience: none

Roster breakdown: 1 senior, 1 junior, 4 sophomores, 6 freshmen

Current winning streak: 5 matches

Statistical leaders: Aces — Carsyn Robinson 36, Macy Knight 27; Kills — Sidney Foster 259, Kamille Johnson 132, Macy Knight 124; Blocks — Carsyn Robinson 36, Macy Knight 27; Assists — Carsyn Robinson 335, Kinley Milligan 306; Digs — KiKi Robinson 200, Sidney Foster 161

Path to Redbird: Won Wayne City Regional 25-20, 25-11 over Woodlawn; won Thompsonville Sectional 26-24, 25-20 over Norris City-Omaha-Enfield; Won Okawville Supersectional 25-19, 25-16 over Father McGivney

In a sentence: With primary attacker Foster on the outside a junior and one of just two upperclassmen on the roster, this young team — which has avenged a pair of its early-season losses and continually gotten better throughout the season — could be a force to deal with for years to come.

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Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs

Record: 28-10

Head coach: Brad Dalton (1st year, 28-10)

Assistant: Drew Robertson

Enrollment: 224

State experience: 2011 (4th in Class 2A), 2010 (4th in Class 2A)

Roster breakdown: 3 seniors, 6 juniors, 4 sophomores, 2 freshmen

Current winning streak: 5 matches

Statistical leaders: Aces — Lexi Huck 41, Grace Buxton 35, Cami Lobb 29; Kills — Lexie Huck 206, Abby Robinson 193, Valerie Nutakor 170; Blocks — DaeLin Switzer 55, Addison Newbon 49, Caleigh Craft 43; Assists — Lexi Huck 432, Cami Lobb 420; Digs — Grace Buxton 325, Lexie Huck 239, Abby Robinson 230

Path to Redbird: Won Decatur Lutheran Regional 25-18, 25-21 over Cerro Gordo; won Effingham St. Anthony Sectional 25-13, 25-27, 25-14 over Windsor; won Nokomis Supersectional 25-13, 23-25, 25-15 over Jacksonville Routt

In a sentence: Lots of attackers and balance — including six girls with 100 or more kills, seven with more than 20 stuff blocks and two setters with over 400 assists — define the Bulldogs, who enjoyed two separate eight-match winning streaks this season playing a schedule filled with larger schools.

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Hartsburg-Emden Stags

Record: 35-4

Head coach: Jennifer Hayes (24th year, 652-243)

Assistant: Kaylee Beekman

Enrollment: 75

State experience: 2014 (2nd in Class 1A), 2006 (1st in Class A), 2005 (3rd in Class A), 2004 (DNP in Class A), 1982 (DNP in Class A)

Roster breakdown: 5 seniors, 3 juniors, 5 sophomores, 1 freshman

Current winning streak: 7 matches

Statistical leaders: Aces — Grace Beekman 49, Lexi Barry 48, Anna Hayes 36; Kills — Anna Hayes 501, Grace Beekman 299; Blocks — Alaina Bradburn 91, Grace Beekman 45; Assists — Grace Beekman 512, Lily Escobedo 252; Digs — Lexi Barry 378, Anna Hayes 182

Path to Redbird: Won Hartsburg-Emden Regional 25-22, 25-14 over Roanoke-Benson; won Peoria Heights Sectional 26-28, 25-12, 25-23 over Kewanee Wethersfield; won Lexington Supersectional 25-13, 25-12 over Flanagan-Cornell

In a sentence: Hart-Em has proven to be a clutch club, having won six of seven matches which have gone to third sets (including a wild sectional championship thriller over Wethersfield) led by the dominant all-around play of Beekman and Hayes.

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