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Cissna Park, Watseka finish 3rd in state volleyball finals

NORMAL — The Iroquois County communities of Cissna Park and Watseka are proudly waving 3rd Place banners after the weekend state volleyball finals at ISU's Redbird Arena.

The Cissna Park T'wolves captured the 1A 3rd Place trophy. Watseka's Warriors returned home with the third place 2A award.

Cissna Park (34-5) made some defensive adjustments and got their own attack working for a 20-25, 25-23, 25-17 victory and the first state trophy in school history.

"I really think that was the difference in the match," Cissna Park coach Josh Landon said about a couple tweaks he made to his team's back-row defense. "We were able to dig up some of their (Woodlawn) power swings and got our offense going as well."

Addison Stoller finished the match with a 15-kill, 11-dig double-double. Anna Kaeb kept Cissna Park's attack flowing with 28 assists, and Lexi Knake led the Timberwolves defensively with 13 digs.

"Stoller was able to execute against their defense," Landon said. "We had to cut a little bit harder on our swings to find the open hole, but she just stayed aggressive."

And Gabby Wessels and Samantha Hasselbring helped bring home the win, giving Cissna Park a balanced attack.

"The likes of Samantha Hasselbring and Gabby Wessels stepped up tremendously, knocking down six and seven kills to keep Woodlawn honest," Landon said.

Cissna Park is also set up to build off this year's success — in which the only losses came to Rockford Keith Country Day (now three-time defending Class 1A state champs), Watseka (this year's Class 2A third-place finishers) and Deer Creek-Mackinaw (this year's 2A champs).

Of the nine players to play in the third-place match, only two are seniors. The Timberwolves will bring back Stoller, Kaeb, Wessels and Hasselbring next season.
Watseka showed determination against Edwards County after a semi-final loss to Dakota.
Watseka dropped the opening set 25-16 to the Lions. But then the match turned in the Warriors favor..

Watseka found a way to shut down the Lions power, Taylor Bauer got going and the Warriors rallied for a 16-25, 25-16, 25-13 victory. It was the first state trophy in program history.

"I think we just took them so much out of their offense that she couldn't get good swings," Watseka coach Krista Pufahl said about stopping James, who had just two more kills in the match after her strong start. "We took them completely out of their offense because we were attacking."

Watseka's own turnaround offensively started with better passing. Better passing gave setter Maddie Pfingsten a chance to deliver better sets. Better sets helped Bauer and fellow senior outside hitter Alexis Shoemaker terminate at a higher efficiency.

Bauer had a match-high 15 kills, while Shoemaker chipped in seven.

"Haley Shoemaker had a really good warmup," Pufahl said. "We knew if we could get her the ball she would put it away. She just had that look in her eyes."

Watseka finished the season at 36-4 — its fourth straight 30-win season. The Warriors, though, will have to deal with losing five senior starters in Pfingsten, Bauer, Shoemaker, Emily Allhands (who led all players with five total blocks) and Natalie Castonguay (who had a match-high 14 digs). Also graduating will be defensive specialists Katelyn McTaggart and Jenna Ripley.

"The seniors' commitment the past six years has really paid off," Pufahl said. "A lot of them have been starting since their sophomore season. We brought volleyball back into Watseka."

94.1 WGFA

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Mother, boyfriend sentenced to 7 years for breaking bones in 5-week-old boy

In Jasper Superior Court in Indiana Friday, a Jasper County mother and her boyfriend were handed seven-year prison terms for breaking multiple bones in the body of her infant son. Prosecutors said the baby boy was just five weeks old at the time.

20-year-old Faith McDaniel and her 24-year-old boyfriend, Robert Rumback, broke several of the infant's ribs, as well as bones in his arms and legs, accordint to the prosecution.

On the night of Jan. 3, McDaniel's son was crying, while the two were trying to sleep. Rumback yanked the child by his arms and handed him to McDaniel. She grabbed her son by the ribs and squeezed the baby before setting the child down. Then while changing her son, McDaniel grabbed the infant's legs and jerked them.

The child did not receive treatment for the injuries until nearly two weeks later.

Rumback and McDaniel pleaded guilty last month to a felony charge of child neglect. Charges of battery with bodily injury were later dropped.

The seven-year prison sentence imposed by the judge is a year longer than what the plea called for. The child has since recovered.

94.1 WGFA

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EIU student dead, another injured in weekend crash

Authorities in the journalism department at Eastern Illinois University confirm a student is dead and another is injured after a pickup truck crash this past weekend.

The students worked for the EIU campus newspaper. Both had gone to dinner that evening, according to Sally Renaud, interim chairwoman of EIU's journalism department.

Illinois State Police said the accident occurred Saturday evening near the U.S. Route 45 interchange of Interstate 57 south of Mattoon. The pickup truck was heading northbound when it went off the road and overturned.

The driver was ejected from the truck and hospitalized for injuries in Urbana. The passenger was partially ejected and later died from injuries.

Authorities say neither was wearing a seatbelt.

94.1 WGFA

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One-year Anniversary today: Tornados ripped up Illinois…

              ...Coal City, Diamond, Washington hard-hit

It's been a full year, but people across Illinois are still trying to piece their lives back together after a deadly tornado outbreak roared through 25 communities across the state. Eight people were killed and nearly 200 others injured.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed with property damage topping more than a-billion-dollars statewide. More than 800-million of that was in the Tazewell County town of Washington, just outside of Peoria. Debris from that twister was found as far as 150-miles away, in Chicago.

Recovery efforts continue to this day.

94.1 WGFA

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Cissna Park volleyball falls to top-ranked Rockford Keith Country Day

               Will play Saturday for 3rd place in 1A

The T'wolves of Cissna Park high school ran into the Cougars of Keith Country Day at the IHSA state volleyball tournament this (Fri) morning at ISU's Redbird Arena.

Coach Josh Landon's club closed out a 33-5 season, losing in three sets 22-25, 25-22 and 15-25.

The match was heard on 94.1 WGFA's with Tom Conn.

Cissna Park pressed the Cougars. It was first time in 25 matches Keith Country Day had to go three sets to get the win.

Cissna Park will play for 3rd place tomorrow (Sat).

In 2A --  Watseka battles Dakota at 1:30 pm today at Redbird Arena.

94.1 WGFA