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Okaw Valley, 16-3, is to play St. Mary's of Pontiac, 23-1,  in the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 1A eighth grade state volleyball tournament, while Shelbyville, 22-2, is to play Beecher, 18-3, in the Class 3A eighth grade state tournament Friday. Okaw Valley is to play at 5:45 p.m. at Pana, while the Lady Rams are to play at 7 p.m. at Tolono Unity. 

Okaw Valley is making its first appearance in the state tournament. As seventh graders last year they were in the Class 2A state tournament. The seventh grade teams in 2006 and 2007 also participated at state. 

The Timberwolves three losses were all to Class 3A schools (Meridian, Shelbyville and Tuscola). Okaw Valley was the second seeded team in the Oakland regional and beat Windsor 25-5, 25-16, Tri-County (Oakland and Kansas) 25-12, 25-12 and Shiloh 25-15, 26-24 for the championship. In the sectional Okaw Valley beat Sigel St. Michael's 25-23, 25-20. 

The winner advances to the semifinals against the winner of the Peoria Limestone Walters vs. Morrisonville game and is to play at 11 a.m. Saturday. 

Shelbville's losses were to Warrensburg-Latham and Class 4A Taylorville. The Rams beat Teutopolis 25-20, 24-26, 25-19 and won the regional, where they were the top seed 24-25, 25-27, 25-21 over Cumberland at Cumberland. Shelbyville beat Robinson 25-6, 25-15 in the sectional. 

The winner is to play in the semifinals at 12:15 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the Mossville vs. Eureka contest. 

Shelbyville's seventh grade also made it to state this season. It is the Rams 29th appearance at state since 1981. Shelbyville has finished between second and fourth six times, including last year when the seventh grade placed third. 

Contact Mike Monahan at (217) 238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc

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Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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