Preps coordinator COLIN LIKAS with the lowdown on the remaining area volleyball teams playing tonight in the postseason:
Mahomet-Seymour Sectional semifinals
St. Thomas More (35-2) vs. Rochester (30-6), 5:30 p.m.
What you need to know: These teams met in the regular season, with the Rockets taking a two-set decision in the title match at the Pana/Shelbyville Invitational in mid-October.
What’s at stake: The Sabers seek their third sectional final in as many years — though first in 3A — while Rochester is here for the first time since 2013.
What they’re saying: “(Being in sectionals) reflects the hard work and commitment our girls made to each other during our very first week of practice. I am very proud of them and know if we go out and compete hard and play for each other, good things will happen.” — STM coach Kelly McClure
Mahomet-Seymour (30-7) vs. Normal U-High (30-6), 6:30 p.m.
What you need to know: Another case of opponents meeting in the regular season, the Pioneers took down the Bulldogs in two sets on Sept. 19 in Normal.
What’s at stake: M-S has been involved in a sectional just once this century. U-High is trying to follow up on a 3A third-place finish in 2017.
What they’re saying: “They’ve really bought into a new dynamic — a new way of looking at things and a new system. And I’m proud of them for that.” — M-S coach Stan Bergman
Watseka Sectional semifinals
St. Joseph-Ogden (33-4) vs. Seneca (30-7), 6 p.m.
What you need to know: These clubs would’ve met in a super-sectional last year had SJ-O not fallen to STM in a sectional final, so past scouting probably has been done.
What’s at stake: The Spartans can recall 2016’s squad placing second in the state. The Irish are building off last year’s sectional title, their first since 1985.
What they’re saying: “Our kids ... have played with a balanced offense and persistent defense and found success in that over the past several weeks. They are determined to continue that consistency going into this week.” — SJ-O coach Abby McDonald
Unity (32-5) vs. Herscher (31-5), 7 p.m.
What you need to know: Both sides put together lengthy win streaks during the year — the Rockets 20 matches to start the season and the Tigers 22 bouts in the middle of their campaign.
What’s at stake: Unity hasn’t qualified for a sectional since 2008. Herscher’s drought wasn’t much shorter, dating back to 2012.
What they’re saying: “We know it is going to be a grind from here on out, and we are excited to be playing among some of the best teams in the area. It’s going to take grit and lots of hard work, but our girls are excited and ready.” — Unity coach Kylie McCulley
Milford Sectional semifinals
Milford (28-4-1) vs. DeLand-Weldon (20-11), 5:30 p.m.
What you need to know: Both the Bearcats and Eagles have lost just once since the calendar flipped to October.
What’s at stake: Milford is tasting a sectional berth for the first time since 1995. DeLand-Weldon has never advanced to this stage in the current IHSA format.
What they’re saying: “It’s been well over 20 years since a Milford volleyball team has won a regional championship, and it’s extra sweet that it is this year when we are hosting the sectional.” — Milford coach Christy Duis
“This is the first time in 42 years that DeLand-Weldon’s volleyball team has won a regional championship. ... We need to pass consistently to our setter so our hitters can do their job. We also need to serve tough to come out with a win.” — D-W coach Jay Schatz
Blue Ridge (29-8) vs. Illinois Lutheran (24-8), 6:30 p.m.
What you need to know: Both teams had occasional struggles in the regular season’s second half, but each carries a four-match win streak into this.
What’s at stake: The Knights are trying to break through after six consecutive regional crowns without a sectional win. The Chargers are eyeing their first sectional title.
What they’re saying: “Illinois Lutheran, I know they’ve got some hitters. It kind of sounds like a Tri-County-type of team. ... If we can pressure their ball control and serve-receive and keep them out of system, we have a pretty good chance.” — Blue Ridge coach Evan Miles
Windsor Sectional semifinal
Tri-County (22-8) vs. Altamont (29-7-1), 6:30 p.m.
What you need to know: The Indians hold no losses to Class 1A foes this year, while the Titans carry just four of those.
What’s at stake: Tri-County now has been in a sectional four times in seven years, but without a sectional plaque yet. Altamont has no such hardware on its shelf.
What they’re saying: “Our mindset right now is, ‘Every ball is my ball,’ instead of, ‘Whose ball is it?’ This has made a huge difference in our serve-receive and defense. The girls deserve to be regional champs.” — Tri-County coach Crystal Buckler