SOUTH STREATOR - The Ottawa Marquette volleyball team moved on like it was expected to do Tuesday night in the Tri-County Conference Tournament.

Putnam County wanted to exceed some expectations against a team, according to the seeds, it was not expected to beat.

Both teams accomplished their goal at Streator Woodland High School in South Streator.

Only one is moving forward though.

The Lady Crusaders rolled to a 25-14, 25-13 victory in the quarterfinals against No. 8-seeded Midland, while the No. 9-seeded Lady Panthers fell to No. 2-seeded Peoria Christian 25-19, 25-15.

Marquette now faces off against No. 4-seeded Roanoke-Benson today at 7 p.m. in the first semifinal.

"I think that (Tuesday) was just a little warm-up for (Wednesday) night," Marquette senior setter/middle hitter Bailie Bongartz said. "We really need to be ready to play (Wednesday) night because we heard that Roanoke-Benson is the biggest competition in our conference, so we need to be ready for them."

Putnam County now heads to the consolation bracket to face Lowpoint-Washburn at 5 p.m. today in the first match of the night.

After defeating DePue in three games Monday night in the first round, Putnam County head coach Debbie Shevokas liked Tuesday's play much better.

"I am really proud of them. They played very well," Shevokas said of her players. "This is my younger lineup. They haven't had a lot of playing time because I've gone with the more experienced players, but it's late in the season and it's time to go with what we feel is the stronger team right now."

Match 2

Ottawa Marquette 25-25,

Midland 14-19

Midland stayed close early in the first game, getting a kill and a block from Brianna Bodie to pull within two points at 6-4.

However, Marquette flexed its muscles to jump out to an eight-point lead at 14-6 behind an Angela Elzer ace and a Bongartz kill.

Down the stretch, the Lady Timberwolves never trailed by more than eight points until four straight Lady Cru points ended the first game at 25-14.

"We started off a little sluggish in game one and then focused," Ottawa Marquette head coach Brooke Rick said. "Then in game two we had a lull where we decided not to talk, and that became an issue. Once they kind of got their heads back into it, they were fine."

By the time Marquette had its lull in the second game, the match was basically over because of Marquette libero Jessica Jessen.

With Marquette holding a 5-2 lead following a Cordy Murphy kill, Jessen rolled off 10 straight service points including three aces and two blocks by Murphy to explode the Lady Cru lead from three to 12 at 15-3.

"They weren't intimidated. They wanted to beat this team," Midland head coach Matt Butcher said. "I think after a couple of good hits (by Marquette), it scared them off a bit. They are definitely better than that."

Midland pulled within seven points at 16-9 on the second of two points by Haley Hrovat, but the Lady Cru managed to right the ship.

Bongartz put down two kills down the stretch, and Jessen served an ace for the final point of the match to secure the match-up with the Lady Rockets in today's semifinals.

R-B and Marquette have not faced each other yet this year in the regular season.

"Roanoke is always a good team," Rick said. "They are usually great on defense, and they usually swing really hard and set well."

Bongartz finished with five kills, 11 assists, two blocks, four points and two aces for Marquette, and Jessen totaled 12 points, four aces and four digs.

Elzer led Marquette with six kills.

Match 3

Peoria Christian 25-25,

Putnam County 19-15

After going three games with the Lady Chargers earlier in the regular season, Putnam County took a 3-2 lead and then never trailed by more than four points until Peoria Christian's Haleigh Shouse served a pair of aces for a 21-15 lead.

An Alyssa Watson kill brought the Lady Panthers to within four points again at 22-18, but two kills from Lady Charger hitter Rachel Lyons helped close Putnam County out in game one.

"We are improving at the net. We've been looking for that last attacker," Peoria Christian head coach Susan Fox said. "Blocks, we had a few drop on our side, and were off on our timing, but other than that, I thought they played as well as they could play."

The Lady Panthers again put a scare into Peoria Christian in game two, jumping out to a 12-11 lead on one of eight kills in the match by Jessica Leimbach.

That's as close as the Lady Panthers got in the first game.

Peoria Christian followed with a 4-0 run to take a 15-12 lead.

The Lady Panthers pulled to within a point at 16-15 on three straight points by Andrea Shevokas, but the Lady Chargers ended game one on a 9-0 run behind eight points from setter Amber Christ.

"The whole season, once we get a couple points behind, and it's a case where we've been out of our base, we get a little rattled," Debbie Shevokas said. "Sometimes it's hard for them to come out. That's what happened in the second game."

Christine Mattern added eight assists and three points for the Lady Panthers, and Watson finished with three kills, five points and one ace.

Jim Cogdal can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 139, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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