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Illinois College is in uncharted territory.
Never before has the Illinois College football team qualified for the NCAA Division III Playoffs. That all changed on Sunday evening.
After posting a 9-1 overall record and an 8-1 mark in the Midwest Conference, the IC Blueboys got the call. They were the final team that did. They will travel to play Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"We simply exploded when our team was called," said IC senior Brock Doehring, a Vandalia grad. "We match up well against Wabash. They have a fantastic quick defense, and I am looking forward to playing them."
The Blueboys won their last six games of the year, with their lone loss of the year coming against Monmouth College, which won the Midwest, with a 9-0 record. That 55-14 loss came during the fourth week of the season.
IC earned its ninth win of the year by beating Beloit College, 48-27. Doehring caught three passes for 19 yards, including a three-yard touchdown at the 11:19 mark of the first quarter. The catch ended a 10-play, 80-yard drive in 3:41. It was the first of six unanswered IC touchdowns that were scored against Beloit.
"I just want to play as long as possible," Doehring said. "I am not shocked we are here. I knew at the beginning of the season that we had the right returning personal, and that the coaches had recruited some great players."
Vanderbilt University got three top 10 finishes from various bowlers, including Jessica Earnest (Vandalia), to take second at the Fairleigh Dickinson University hosted New Jersey Jamboree. Earnest averaged 206.4 pins per game over five games. Her highest game was a 222, and she was rolled better than 200 four times. Her 10th-place finish was in a field of 119 competitors. Vanderbilt was second only to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Brooke Maxey (St. Elmo) and Katie Crain (South Central) helped the Kaskaskia College Blue Angels post a 22-9 mark this year. Maxey posted a team-high 279 kills and a .253 hitting percentage. The freshman also had 281 digs, 40 blocks and 19 service aces. Crain finished with 212 digs, which was fourth on the team. Crain also had 82 kills, seven aces, four blocks and three assists.
Bethel College was 2-2 in the TranSouth Conference Tournament. Bethel defeated Martin Methodist College (3-1) and Freed-Hardeman (3-1), but lost twice to Freed-Hardeman (3-2, 3-0). Bethel's Amanda Walton had her best match of the four in the win against Freed-Hardeman. She finished with six kills, three digs and three blocks (one solo). She had a .417 hitting percentage in the contest. Overall, she had 17 kills and 12 digs. Bethel is 19-13 overall and 13-1 in the league.
Taylor Parrish (Vandalia) recently finished her volleyball season at Franklin College. The freshman was one of two athletes with more than 150 kills, as she finished the year with 156 kills, 77 digs, 14 assists, six aces and four blocks. Franklin finished 7-19 overall and 2-7 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Illinois College's Isaac Grapperhaus (South Central) scored 10 points as the Blueboys lost a 70-62 exhibition contest to Western Illinois University. Grapperhaus, who hit 4-of-12 from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe, also had eight rebounds and three assists. Grapperhaus started at center and played 31 minutes.
The Blackburn College women's volleyball team finished the year with a 3-22 mark. They were 0-16 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Amy Walton (Vandalia), a Blackburn freshman rightside hitter, finished with 172 digs, 11 aces, seven kills, five assists and two solo blocks.
Megan Shreve (Vandalia) had 49 digs and 29 kills this year. The freshman, who played in 27 matches for MacMurray College, also had 11 aces, nine blocks (four solos) and eight assists. MacMurray struggled to a 4-27 mark. They were 2-14 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
We need names for the winter months. While the high school basketball teams will start around Thanksgiving, the winter sports in college start much earlier.
If you want to add a name, please contact me via e-mail (Dan62801@aol.com). I will need the name of the athlete, the former high school, the college/university they are attending and, of course, the sport they are playing.
There are only two rules to be included in this column. The athlete must be a resident of a town or a graduate of a high school normally covered by The Leader-Union. Secondly, they must be involved in intercollegiate athletics, meaning their chosen team plays other colleges/universities. Please put "Vandalia Leader-Union" in the subject line of the e-mail.