The Falcons defeated the eighth grade team from Homewood’s James Hart School on March 7 to win the regional final and advance to the Illinois Elementary School Association state tournnment.
Parker, from Flossmoor, is scheduled to play Friday at downstate Mt. Zion High School.
Team members are Liz Nieter, Samantha Gorton, Margaret Doane, Ella Aceves, Eliya Hobson, Kameara Kurns, Mary Holland, Haley Trojan, Amelia Wachtel, Chidera Ozoh, Emma Dieringer, Ella Stoffle and Kaisse Haynes,. Team managers are Avery Radosta, Madison Jones and Jane Ermshler.
The team finished the season with a record of 17 wins and three losses.
Darryl Thompson, Parker’s volleyball coach for the last eight years, said the team started their season “wanting to win conference.” But, as the season progressed, players started to think they might eventually qualify for the state tournament.
“Our first game of the season was against a very strong and talented James Hart team,” Thompson said, “In seventh grade, they beat us three times. The girls were able to get a key opening season win. Later that week we defeated Washington Junior High, the team that defeated us during the sectional game last year.
“After that week we thought maybe we had a chance to make it to state.”
Thompson said team members wanted to get back to the state tournament.
“They fell short last year and worked hard during the off season. They played all summer to get better.”
Parker’s volleyball players “work hard on the court and inside the classroom,” pointing out that 10 out of team members are on the National Junior High Honor Society.
To get to the state tourney, Parker beat Columbia Middle School from Steger in regional play and defeated Kellar Middle School, from Robbins, and James Hart in the regional round.
Parker is part of South Suburban Junior High School Association.