Monday, September 16, 2019

No luck needed, SJO tarnishes visiting Saints, 18-7

Jordan Kelly
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
St. Joseph-Ogden's Jordan Kelly runs through the team tunnel before the start of their home game against Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday, September 13. The Spartans, thanks to a stout defensive effort once again, won the Illini Prairie Conference matchup, 18-7. Click this link to see all of the photos from Friday's home game against BCC.

SJO press box under a full moon
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A full moon floats above the press box at St. Joseph-Ogden High School during Central Catholic game. The Saints, who were held to just ten first downs and only 155 all-purpose yards, had virtually no luck in trying had the Spartans their first loss of the season. The IPC win improved SJO's record to 3-0 and sets the stage for what could be crucial road game at Unity as they step closer to postseason playoff eligibility.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A flute player from the St. Joseph-Ogden marching band plays the school fight song before the start of the game.

Keaton Nolan scores for SJO
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Keaton Nolan is tripped up as he crosses the goal line by a Central Catholic defender on his way to scoring an SJO touchdown. Nolan ran for 107 yards on 20 carries in addition to scoring his TD for St. Joseph-Ogden.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Isaiah Immke cheers with fellow students during the second half of the Spartans home game. The victory put SJO in a two-way tie for first with also unbeaten Illinois Valley Central, who will face St. Joseph-Ogden here under Friday night lights on October 11.

SJO trumpet player
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
A member of the Spartan Marching Band plays during the halftime time show. The band performed their competition routine dubbed "Decomposer". See more photos of the band performing . . .

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
With Brayden Weaver providing protection, St. Joseph-Ogden's Crayton Burnett hands off the ball to Keaton Nolan during his team's home game against Bloomington Central Catholic. All three players scored once to lead SJO past BCC, 18-7. Nolan finished with 107 yards and Weaver added another 104 against BCC. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Friday, September 13, 2019

Volleyball team fought to the end in loss to Champaign Central

Jenna Albrecht goes up for a block
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph-Ogden Jenna Albrecht goes up for a block against visiting Champaign Central. The Spartans suffered their second loss of the season in straight sets to visiting Champaign Central, 25-22, 25-20. See more match photos here . . .
Despite pounding 24 kills and an impressive display of resiliency against the taller roster of visiting Champaign Central players, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball went down swinging in the non-conference meeting between the two teams 2-0 on Tuesday.

SJO led for the first 13 points in set one. After breaking a tie at 8-all, the senior led squad started to pull away stretching their lead to as many as three points over the course of next several exchanges.

However, Central would not let their host, with an enrollment one-third of their own, bully them for long.

"They had an offense that we were not necessarily prepared for. We keyed on some big kids we thought would swing aggressively against us," said SJO head coach Abby McDonald. "They picked our defense apart. They swung aggressively and they tipped well."

After yet another lead change, senior Katelyn Berry and the Spartans fought back valiantly once again to tie the score for the final time in the set. The Maroons buckled down to squeak out the win, 25-22.

SJO mostly trailed the start of the second set and finally clawed their way to their first and only lead at 13-12. The lead change was short-lived as the Maroons rallied back to 16-15 and continued to hit through the Spartans' blocks to a 25-20 finish.

"As a team they played excellent," McDonald said, complimenting the Maroons' aggressive play. "They really got us out of system and kept us out the majority of the night."

While the height disadvantage was evident, Berry said the team needs to find other ways to score.

"I think once we got down we kind of stayed down rather than getting (back) up," she said. "In future when we get down, we have to keep pushing."

Seniors Payton Vallee, Lacey Kaiser and Kennedi Burnett contributed four kills. Kaiser and Burnett tallied 10 digs in the loss. Another senior, Emily Bigger, had 23 assists.

"I commend all of our kids. I thought they fought to the end," McDonald added. "We just didn't capitalize on some of the things that we really needed to be successful."

The loss, when weighed against the level of competition so far, drops SJO's record to a quite respectable at 5-2.

"Its not time for us to peak yet. Let's peak when it counts," McDonald said with her eyes on a deep postseason run. "Our biggest thing right now is what can we learn from every match. Now we have to start making sure we are gaining some kind of knowledge no matter if we win or lose."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Elsbernd, Miller Spartans of the Week

Week 2 Lady Spartan of the Week: Emily Elsbernd

Lady Spartan of the Week Emily Elsbernd

Above, Emily Elsbrend down the field in SJO home game against Urbana University High. On the right, she chases down a loose ball in this week's home match against Fisher-GCMS. Click here to see more photos of Elsbrend.

(Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Just a freshman, Emily Elsbernd earned a starting spot as a defensive player on this year's SJO varsity boys soccer team. What she lacks in size and mass, she more than makes up with grit and persistence when physically challenging veteran opponents for the ball.

"She is just a powerhouse out there as a freshman," says soccer head coach Dan Vogelsang. "A lot of coaches compliment her all the time. I look forward to when she is a junior and senior."

Honorable Mentions: Jenna Albrecht (volleyball), Addie Allen (cross country), Katelyn Berry (volleyball), Raegan Crippen (soccer), Lacey Kaiser (volleyball), Hope Rajlich (cross country), Jillian Plotner (cross country).

Week 2 Spartan of the Week: Jaden Miller

Spartan of the Week Jaden Miller Jaden Miller earn this week's honors after scooping up a blocked Rantoul punt and plunging into the end zone for the first defensive touchdown of the season. The heads up play and resulting score padded St. Joseph-Ogden's side of scoreboard in the 22-8 Illini Prairie Conference win over the Eagles.

At nose guard, Miller has 12 tackles heading into tomorrow's week three game against Bloomington Central Catholic. The Spartan defense has allowed just two touchdowns to the start the 2019 season.

Honorable Mentions: Kolton Batty (soccer), Drew Coursey (football), Payton Grimsley (golf), Brayden Grimsey (soccer), Lukas Hutcherson (cross country), Charlie Mabry (cross country), Coby Miller (football), Zac Seeley (soccer), and Sam Wesley (football).

Previous Spartans of the Week

Week 1: Jarrett Stevenson / Katelyn Berry

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