Stew-Stras volleyball (22-12) dove into the annual Mt. Pulaski pre-postseason gauntlet and with a 2-3 record on the day, emerged with a 4th place finish.
Stew-Stras beat Gibault, 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, then lost a nail-biter to Edwards County, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25. The Comets then took out Illini Central in straight games in another nail-biter, 26-24, 28-26.
Stew-Stras then faced host Mt. Pulaski in the semifinals, losing 27-29, 12-25, then lost to Mt. Zion in the 3rd place match, 16-25, 25-20, 22-25.
"It was very tough competition," said Comet coach Ronda Schlechte. "We saw some intense volleyball that will really help with our regionals this week.
Stew-Stras is the #1 seed in the Dieterich Regional but will probably have to play #2 seed Neoga to advance. If they advance they will have to get past Tri-County and Cerro Gordo to advance to super-sectional.
"The girls played with everything they had the first three matches, but then struggled off and on the next two matches," Coach Schlechte said. "We gave Edwards County their first loss in a set all season, so we are very proud about that. The girls really had to battle against these big teams, but they found ways to get the ball down."
The Comets racked up a lot of stats as three of their five matches went three games. Kendall Knop had a team-high 53 kills, followed by Brittani Tabbert with 46 kills.
Knop tied Becca Schlechte as the top defender with 54 digs, each. Sarah Locke registered 42 digs, Tabbert dug 41 and Quast 33. Schlechte and Baylee Quast both recorded 60+ assists in the tourney.
Stew-Stras (22-12) is the #1 seed at Dieterich and will play on Tuesday against the winner of the Dieterich/Beecher City match on Monday.
Mt. Pulaski Tourney
Stew-Stras def. Gibault, 25-18, 20-25, 25-21
Stew stats: Becca Schlechte 9 kills, 16 assists, 8 digs; Baylee Quast 2 kills, 13 assists, 4 digs, 1 block; Kendall Knop 14 kills, 9 digs; Brittani Tabbert 2 aces, 6 kills, 5 digs; Morgan Stremming 1 kill; Sarah Locke 1 assist, 10 digs; Clara Kaufman 2 kills, 2 digs, 1 block.