Murphysboro, Massac County tie for SIRR Ohio Division title

Massac County and Murphysboro will share the Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division championship after both teams won their final league matches Thursday.

It came down the final day of conference play, and both teams held up their end.

Five-time defending conference champion Murphysboro earned a share of the Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division championship by defeating Benton 25-18, 25-21 Thursday.

Murphysboro will share the conference championship with Massac County, a 25-14, 25-7 winner over West Frankfort.

For Murphysboro, the championship was the sixth in a row and 13th overall under head coach Mike Layne, who has compiled a 174-26 record in the conference since becoming head coach 20 years ago.

Massac County (21-8 overall 9-1 in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division), won the first meeting between the two teams 17-25, 25-23, 25-20 back on August 25. But Murphysboro (19-9, 9-1) evented the ledger, winning 25-20, 14-25, 25-22 on September 27.

Thursday in the win over Benton, the Red Devils got 15 assists and 5 kills from 5-foot-10 senior setter/outside hitter Rachel Finders, 8 kills, 6 digs and an ace from 5-9 junior Lillie Schaldemose, 8 kills and 4 blocks from 5-10 sophomore Kylee Kerrens, and 13 assists, 4 kills and 7 digs from Ashley Jarrett.

Meanwhile, the Patriots got 10 kills from 5-11 junior outside hitter Jessie Lewis, 25 assists from 5-6 senior setter Bailey Duckworth, 8 digs from 5-7 senior libero Brooke Stepter, 3 blocks from 5-11 senior middle hitter Becca Jackson and 4 aces and 18 service points from Macy Pierce in their win over West Frankfort.

Massac County and Murphysboro could see each other again in the Class 3A Mascoutah Sectional. Murphysboro is seeded No. 1 in Sub-Sectional B, while Massac County is seeded second.

If Murphysboro wins its regional, it would likely face Breese Mater Dei in a sectional semifinal October 29 at Mascoutah. If Massac County wins its regional, it would likely face Belleville Althoff in its sectional semifinal.

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