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New Canaan’s Emma Wheeler (11) and Caroline Eno go up to block a shot during the Rams’ win over Warde last Wednesday. — Dave Stewart photo

In each of the last two seasons, the New Canaan Rams came up one win short of qualifying for the state volleyball playoffs.

This year, they’ve reached that goal with seven matches still to come.

New Canaan punched its ticket to the postseason with a thrilling, 3-2 victory over the Laraulton Hall Crusaders Monday at NCHS. The Rams trailed after three sets, but came back to win 26-24, 20-25, 20-25, 25-21, and 15-11.

The Rams improved to 8-5 overall, qualifying for the state tournament for the first time since 2014. They’re also 5-4 in the FCIAC and are tied for seventh place in that playoff race. The top eight teams will play in the league playoffs.

The victory over Lauralton Hall was a barnburner, as all five sets were decided by five pr fewer points.

Senior co-captains Carson Allsteadt and Hayley Salvatore each delivered in the clutch win, with Allsteadt racking up a team-best 25 kills to go along with 24 digs, and Salvatore picking up 14 digs and a pair of aces.

Jessica Parrino led the team with 29 digs and had nine kills and four aces, while setter Emma Wheeler collected 39 assists, 10 digs, and four aces.

Carey Callahan was a strong force on defense with 17 digs to go along with one ace.



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Senior Abi Broussard should be one of the top players for Lions volleyball in 2017. (File photo/Cameron Van Til)

LYNDEN — For the first time since 2008, Chris Elsner will lead the Lynden volleyball team as the Lions seek an appearance in the state tournament for the first time since 2013, when the program finished eighth.

Elsner took the team to seven state tourneys from 1998 to 2008, finishing as high as third. The coach’s overall record was 152-44 during that time span.

“I’m having a blast,” Elsner said of her return to the sidelines. She also praises her coaching staff, which includes a couple of her former players in Jill Dickson (formerly Jill Toronchuck), the JV coach for the Lions, and Julie Price, Elsner’s varsity assistant coach.

Erin Clemmer coaches the freshman team for Lynden.



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CHAMPAIGN — An eight-run fifth inning proved to be the difference, and now the Edwardsville Tigers will play in the state tournament for the first time since 2007.

Trailing by a run entering the fifth, the Tigers sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight runs on six hits to turn a close game into a rout as Edwardsville defeated Orland Park Sandburg 11-3 in the Class 4A University of Illinois Super-Sectional game.

“What can I say about it? This means a lot,” Edwardsville left fielder Will Messer said.

The Tigers (33-7) will make their 15th state tournament appearance in program history when they face Burbank St. Laurence at 5 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal at Joliet’s Slammer Stadium.

St. Laurence (35-5) defeated Naperville Neuqua Valley 5-1 to win the Crestwood 2 Super-Sectional.

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