Orion 8th graders win sectional

by Mindy Carls correspondent
The eighth grade Chargers won the 3A sectional championship on Friday, March 19, over the Chillicothe Mustangs at Orion Middle School. Orion won 25-17, 19-25, 25-13. In front from left are Katie Handley, Avery Marner, Violet Fiers, Kennedy DeBaillie, Kallie DeBaillie, Aubrey Sandberg and Jocelyn Marner, and in back, Katie Angelos, Valerie Hickerson, Svea Carlson, Maddyson Mrazek, Madison Reid, Avery Knupp, Lainey Kunert, Claire Weber, Macy Mizlo and coach Sydney Adams.

Orion Middle School’s eighth graders won the Class 3A sectional championship match they hosted on Friday, March 19.

They defeated the Chillicothe Mustangs 25-17, 19-25, 25-13.

Orion would have been one of eight teams advancing to the state tournament, except the Illinois Elementary School Association opted not to have state because of COVID-19.

The Chargers got to the sectional match by winning the regional tournament they hosted. With a second seed, the girls received a bye into semifinals on Saturday, March 13. They defeated third-seeded Sherrard 25-18, 25-9. In the championship match on Monday, March 15, they topped fifth-seeded Monmouth-Roseville 25-19, 25-16.

Chillicothe served first in the sectional match, but Orion won the first point when Madison Reid delivered a kill.

When the Mustangs edged ahead 4-2, the Chargers recovered for a 4-4 tie. Chillicothe pulled ahead 8-6, only to have Avery Knupp make a kill and serve an ace to knot the score at 8-8.

Charger Claire Weber’s kill put the home team up 9-8. Orion kept scoring until the girls had a 12-8 lead.

After Chillicothe cut its deficit to 12-10, Orion started controlling the game again. Kennedy DeBaillie served an ace for a 16-10 lead. Staying behind the line, she served Orion to a 21-10 advantage.

The Mustangs put up four points before Reid got a kill for a 22-14 lead. Knupp’s kill made it 23-14.

After Orion put a 25-17 win into the books, Weber served an ace on the first point of game two for a 1-0 lead.

Knupp had a kill for an 8-5 advantage. A Chillicothe kill tied the score 9-9, but Weber’s kill put Orion in front again.

After ties at 10-10 and 11-11, a Mustang error returning serve let the Chargers deadlock the store 12-12.

Reid blocked a ball for a 13-12 edge, but Chillicothe scored nine straight points for a 21-13 lead.

Macy Mizlo got a kill to pull the Chargers within six at 22-16.

Kennedy DeBaillie set the ball for Lainey Kunert, whose hit trimmed Orion’s deficit to five at 23-18.

After the Mustangs clinched a 25-19 win, Orion took a 2-1 lead in the third game and led the rest of the way. Knupp’s pass over the net went for a point and a 5-3 lead.

Reid’s soft tip over the net put Orion up 8-4, and another of her kills nudged the team ahead 9-4. Later in the game, a Reid kill made the score 15-6.

Taking the ball behind the back line with the Chargers leading 21-12, Kennedy DeBaillie served two aces on the way to a 24-12 lead. Orion went on to win the game, match and championship 25-13.

Coach Sydney Adams’ players included Jocelyn Marner, Claire Weber, Aubrey Sandberg, Avery Marner, Madison Reid, Lainey Kunert, Valerie Hickerson, Violet Fiers, Katie Angelos, Kallie DeBaillie, Avery Knupp, Maddyson Mrazek, Svea Carlson, Katie Handley, Kennedy DeBaillie and Macy Mizlo.

Orion seventh graders were seeded second in the Mercer County regional in Joy. In semifinals, third-seeded Rockridge topped Orion 25-12, 25-23.

Rockridge won the regional championship and defeated Mossville for the sectional championship.