The second season begins tonight for a ton of area volleyball teams as district tournaments kick into high gear.
The Helias Lady Crusaders are the top seed in the Class 4 District 9 Tournament being held at Hickman. They will open at 5 p.m. in the new gym at the school against eighth-seeded Battle, a team the Lady Crusaders beat 25-5, 25-10 on Oct. 7.
Helias brings a record of 26-6 into the match, while Battle is 1-24-1, with the lone victory coming against Kirksville way back on Sept. 9.
"Obviously we feel pretty confident going in and playing Battle in the first round," Helias coach David Harris said. "Then after that, it's anybody's guess. The way it's set up, we should meet Rock Bridge in the championship, but we've been upset in the semifinals before, and they've been upset in the semifinals a couple times. So you never know."
The district tournament has a different look than in seasons past. Instead of the traditional method of having the first-round matches Monday and the semifinal and championship matches Tuesday, this event will feature a day off Tuesday before resuming Wednesday. If it advances, Helias would play in the semifinals at 5 p.m., with the title match set for 8 p.m.
"We just have to be ready to play ,whoever it is," Harris said. "Having a day in between should help us get ready for whoever we have to face."
Harris added the Lady Crusaders need to be more consistent if they want to make a deep run in the state playoffs.
"We can look like state champs one game, where everything goes well. Then the next game, we look like we haven't hardly ever played before," he said. "We've got the physical talent, sometimes it's the muscle between the ears that is giving us a little problem."
Several other teams get started today, with the biggest concentration of area teams coming in the Class 2 District 7 Tournament being hosted by Fatima.
Today's action features first-round matches between No. 4 Eugene and No. 5 Tipton at 5 p.m., followed by No. 3 California against No. 6 Russellville at 6:15 p.m. The semifinals and finals in the event are set for Tuesday.
At Fulton, the Class 3 District 9 Tournament gets underway today. Among the teams in action are second-seeded Southern Boone, which meet No. 7 Kirksville at 6:45 p.m., and a matchup between No. 3 Eldon and No. 6 Versailles at 8 p.m. The semifinals and title match will take place Tuesday.
School of the Osage is the only area school taking part in the Class 3 District 10 Tournament at Marshfield. The Lady Indians are the sixth seed and they will take on third-seeded Springfield Catholic at 8 p.m.
Likewise, Linn is the lone area school in the Class 2 District 8 Tournament at Cuba. The Lady Wildcats are seeded fifth, and they will take on No. 4 Cuba at 5 p.m. With a win, they would advance to Tuesday's action, which will feature the semifinals and finals.
In Class 1 District 7 at Sedalia Sacred Heart, the Calvary Lutheran Lady Lions come in as the sixth seed, earning them a first-round match at 6:30 p.m. today against No. 3 Northwest: Hughesville. With a victory, the Lady Lions would play either Stover or Missouri School for the Deaf in today's 8:30 p.m. semifinal. The championship match at that event is set for Wednesday.
And in the Class 1 District 5 Tournament at Crystal City, Chamois has earned the seventh seed and will play No. 2 Valle Catholic at 6:15 p.m. today. The semifinals and final are set for Wednesday.