Elite feeling: STM, Cissna Park vie for spot at state

Nov. 3—They've already hoisted regional championship and sectional championship plaques in the past two weeks. Now, St. Thomas More and Cissna Park will try to reach the state tournament next weekend. But first, they have to win super-sectional matches on Friday night. Sports Editor Matt Daniels has a quick

preview of two Elite Eight matches with area teams:

Class 2A Robinson Super-Sectional

St. Thomas More (26-12) vs.

Carmi-White County (32-7), 6 p.m. Friday

What to know: High Point commit Julia Johnson is the steady, senior presence that St. Thomas More can rely on, with Johnson providing 264 kills, 173 assists, 210 digs and 36 aces. She, along with junior Shannon Monahan, were also key contributors on STM's fall 2021 team that won a Class 1A state title. ... Junior Addie Kerr, the younger sister of current Tennessse setter and fall 2021 News-Gazette Player of the Year Caroline Kerr, looks to follow in big sister's footsteps. So far, so good, with the younger Kerr distributing 625 assists to a bevy of STM hitters. ... When STM needs a strong finish at the net besides Johnson, Monahan fits the bill with a team-high 391 kills. ... STM rallied to beat Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin in three sets on Wednesday night to win a sectional title in St. Joseph. In Pinckneyville, Carmi-White County did the same en route to a 17-25, 25-19, 25-19 win against Fairfield. Sophomore Caroline Simmons is the Bulldogs' big hitter with 406 kills.

Who wins: St. Thomas More 2, Carmi White County 1. In a postseason full of thrilling finishes, coach Brad Dalton's team adds another one by booking STM's fourth trip to the state tournament in program history, all since 2017.

Class 1A MILFORD Super-Sectional

Cissna Park (36-3) vs.

Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg (34-5), 6 p.m. Friday

What to know: Coach Josh Landon's Timberwolves carry a 16-match win streak into the match, having dropped just one set in the process. ... Sophomores Addison Lucht and Sophie Duis, along with senior Brooklyn Stadeli, are the big hitters Cissna Park relies upon. All told, Cissna Park has 993 kills on the season and four players with 130 kills or more. ... Directing that offense falls upon senior Ava Morrical, who had 32 assists in Thursday night's sweep of Lexington. ... Cissna Park is trying to reach the state tournament for the third time and first since back-to-back appearances in 2014 and 2015.

Who wins: Cissna Park 2, Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg 0. Cissna Park will have a distinct home-court advantage playing only 15 miles away in Milford. And plenty of fans to celebrate with after Friday night's win.