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Prep Sports Notebook: SJO VB gets first win, no Unity sports for spell

Spartans open volleyball season with a win

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team opened its 2020-21 season with a 2-0 win over Hoopeston Area at home on Monday.

In both sets, the Spartans played catch-up volleyball after slow starts having to erase 4-1 deficits.

In set one, SJO struggled to keep up falling behind 7-2 on the scoreboard. Kennedi Burnett then hammered back-to-back kills to whittle away at the Cornjerkers' lead. Two serves later she was on the back line hitting well-placed serves tallying a pair aces on two of her three serves, the score now 8-all, before Hoopeston called a timeout.

Two sideouts later, the Spartans would take the lead after a second tie at 9-9 and fight to a 25-15 win.

Much like the first set, SJO trailed until a 7-7 tie on the scoreboard. Another Burnett ace gave the SJO the lead, followed by a tie at 8s. From here, the Spartan offense took control rallying four unanswered points and, never in any real danger of relinquishing their lead, only had to glance over their shoulders once. The team closed out the match rattling off six consecutive points to a 25-13 finish.

Unity athletics on hold

According to an article in The News-Gazette, all sports activities and contests were postponed at Unity this week. Athletic director Scott Hamilton told the Champaign-Urbana paper "that football activities were paused last Friday, followed by those of volleyball and boys’ soccer over the weekend."

Hamilton, who is also the school's head football coach, didn’t cite any specific COVID-19 cases or contact-tracing issues among the Rockets’ spring sports programs that led to this step.

"We felt like pausing everything gave us the best opportunity to keep everybody safe and kind of stop the spread," Hamilton told The News-Gazette, "and get everybody back as soon as we could — and, most importantly, try to keep people safe in our community."

Last Thursday, the number of active cases within The Sentinel's area of coverage dipped to 18, a low not seen since November 13 last fall. As of March 11, the number of active cases reported by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has tripled in the six village area. A 15 case spike occurred last Sunday, 14 of them in the three towns in the Unit 7 school district.

With no practices this week, Unity's opening football game scheduled for Saturday against Olympia won't be played. Due to the IHSA's limited season there is little chance for the game to be rescheduled.

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St. Joseph-Ogden's Kennedy Hudson watches the ball she put in play fly out to left field on Saturday during the Spartans' home softball game against Salt Fork. Hudson's ball was good for a two-run homer to put SJO up 7-4 in the bottom of 6th inning. The Storm rallied back to get within one run of putting the game into extra innings before falling 7-6 in the non-conference contest. Hudson finished the game with a hit and a pair of RBIs.
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