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XC runs solid in 2A races, volleyball 2nd at Mahomet-Seymour Invite

Sports Book: September 14

Volleyball finishes 2nd at Mahomet-Seymour Invitational
In a strong showing, the SJO volleyball team defeated all three teams, which included Peotone, Urbana, and Springfield South East, in the 'Gray' pool at the annual volleyball tournament in Mahomet on Saturday. They then beat Manteno in championship bracket semifinal to face a familiar foe, Mahomet-Seymour.

Knocking over Bulldogs on their home court with relative ease back on the last day of August just a few short weeks ago, St. Joseph-Ogden's title hopes - what would be a first under head coach Abby McDonald's reign - were extinguished. In their second meeting this season, M-S was much better prepared for the Spartans and defeated SJO after a 25-16 first set and 25-12 second for the championship trophy.

"We played really well throughout the whole day," said senior Rylee Stahl. "At the end we fell a little short. They (Mahomet-Seymour) were playing really well compared to the last time we played them."

Stahl tallied 28 digs and 1 ace on Saturday. Fellow senior Kennedi Burnett led the team with 35 digs and 31 kills. Katelyn Berry tallied 33 of the 159 the team collected over five matches.

Junior Payton Vallee agreed with Stahl adding that Saturday's Mahomet-Seymour team was not the same one they upset weeks earlier. While most of the Spartans on this year's squad participates in club tournaments between prep seasons, they generally play no more than three matches a day. Vallee speculated that the long day against tough opponents in pool play might have set her team back a step.

"It was a long day. We were all tired," said Vallee, who finished the tournament with 18 kills and 3 blocks on the day. "Mahomet came out and showed us something different than they did the game before."

The Spartans are now 10-3 after Saturday's tournament action.

Rajlich runs season best time
Hannah Rajlich finished 45th overall leading the St. Joseph-Ogden cross country team to a ninth place tie with Grayslake Central at the conclusion of Saturday's First to the Finish Cross Country Meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. SJO competed in the 2A race this year and earned a total of 364 points with their top five runners.

Rajlich turned in a season-best time of 19:48.5 as the first Spartan to cross the finish line. The next four SJO runners, all within 32 seconds of each other, finished in the top 100. Ava Knapp (20:00.9) came in at 59th place, Ashlyn Lannert (20:18.6) was 80th, Ally Monk (20:20.9) 83rd, and Kailyn Ingram crossed at 20:32.2 in 97th place.

Hope Rajlich, Hannah Eastin, Addie Allen, Kendra Riddle and Malorie Sarnecki also competed in Saturday's race.

Vernon Hills won the 2A team title with 87 points. Latin finished second and Dixon scored 195 point for the bronze medal.

SJO Boys XC runs against 2A competition
The boys cross country team also ran in the 2A race at the First to the Finish. The collective efforts of the nine SJO runners resulted in a 24th place finish out of 59 competing teams with 702 points.

Brandon Mattsey ran a sub 17 minute race clocking in at 16:30.2 in 56th place out of a field of more than 400 runners. The next four runners all finished within 49 seconds of each other.

Eric Poe (117th), Elijah Mock (140th), Luke Stegall (176th) and Charlie Mabry (213th) ran three-mile times under the 18 minute mark on the state championship course.

Also competing under the Spartan banner on Saturday were Logan Wolfersberger, Lukas Hutcherson, Braden Clampitt and Ethan Blackburn.

Soccer team goes 1-2 at Cornjerker Classic
The Spartans defeated Oakwood-Cathlin in a 4-2 shootout after neither team scored during regulation time. Frosh keeper Hunter Ketchum was credited with five saves to compliment the defensive effort by SJO's backs.

Junior Kolton Batty put the ball in the net for his first goal of the season against Iroqouis West. But, that was all the scoring the Spartans could produce as they fell 6-1 to the Raiders. Sophia Martlage and Jared Emmert also had shots on the goal but couldn't put the ball between the posts. Junior Mason Behrens was credited a pair of his own.

Later this afternoon, the SJO soccer team faces Monticello for a second time in four days in a Illini Prairie Conference show down. The Sages took 21 shots on the Spartan goal on Saturday and all but five were blocked by Ketchum in his 60 minute tenure defending the goal. Luke Cohen, Kolton Batty and Garrett Siems were held to just three shots on the Monticello goal in the 5-0 non-conference loss.

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