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"Cranberry, or bearberry (because bears use much to feed upon them), is a small, trayling plant that grows in salt marshes that are overgrown with moss. The tender branches, which are reddish, run out in great length lying flat on the ground ... The leaves are like box, but greener thick and glistening. The blossoms are very like the flowers of our English night-shade; after which succeed the berries, hanging by long, small foot-stalks no bigger than a hair. At first they are of a pale-yellow colour; afterward red and as big as a cherry ... Of a sower, astringent taste. They are excellent against the scurvy. They are good to allay the fervour of hot diseases. The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with sugar for sauce to eat with their meat; and it is a delicate sauce especially with roasted mutton."

John Josselyn
"New England's R
arities Discovered," 1672.

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Eastland Claims Super-Sectional, Earns Bid to State

Courtney Blair (11 kills, 6 blocks) goes up for a shot during Super-Sectional action. (PA photo/Craig Lang)

PECATONICA ­ The 2008 Eastland Volleyball team is headed to the state tournament, only the second volleyball team in Eastland history to make it downstate.

Having a reputation for being extremely superstitious, the Lady Cougars have been enjoying Kraig Kniss' famous mostaciolli, which the girls have enjoyed before the last three matches. They also have a precise pre-game routine that includes listening to the same songs, the same warm-up routine, the same players-only meeting - all in exactly the same order. The results have been good so far, leading to sectional and supersectional titles.

The way they played Saturday, the Cougars didn't need any luck. Eastland earned its ticket to the state tournament Saturday, defeating Dwight 25-14, 25-15 in the IHSA Class A Pecatonica Super-Sectional.

Right up to Saturday's match-up, the Dwight Trojans (32-8) had a perfect record playing against smaller schools with an enrollment under 650 students. Eastland, with an enrollment of 249, completely dominated Dwight, and never trailed by more than one point. The Cougars stayed a step ahead of their opponent in the Super-Sectional match. Eastland ­ under the tutelage of head coach Kristy Pierce ­ will enter the state tournament at 37-3.

Pierce has touted her team's hardwork throughout the postseason. According to the Eastland head coach, her team works on fundamentals throughout each practice session.

"We really played well, as a complete team," Pierce said. "It may have looked easy, but the girl's followed the game plan, and we kept them off balance. Our scouts did a great job."

Eastland used their balanced attack to near-perfection. Courtney Blair (11 kills, six blocks), Megan Bunyer (10 kills), Abbie Hare (eight kills, 11 blocks) and Katelyn Hasken (five kills) all played key roles for Eastland in the triumph over the Trojans

Eastland's Abby Hare returns a shot (8 kills, 11 blocks) during volleyball action at the Pecatonica Super-Sectional. (PA photo/Craig Lang)

The Cougars also played superb defense in the victory over Dwight.

Katelyn Dickman provided a stout service effort for Eastland down the stretch in the first game as she helped to shelve Dwight with an ace.

Kerby Kniss was also strong in the serving department for Eastland, providing two aces for the Cougars.

Eastland set the tone early on in each game ­ especially the second set.

Libero Damaris Linker (10 digs) and sophomore setter Hope Linker (30 assists) aided in the extremely balanced Eastland effort. "We had a good strategy," Damaris said. "Good passing, an overall team effort, good aggressive serving, and good ball control."

"We were awesome," Abbie Hare added. "We came out and did what we needed to do."

"They played exceptionally well," Pierce concluded. "The girls stayed calm under the circumstances, and stayed poised considering their youth. I couldn't be more proud of them."

Eastland (37-3) will play in the first semifinal of the state tournament at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14, at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena in Normal versus Toledo Cumberland (32-7).

The Eastland Volleyball "Send-Off To The State Finals" will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 12 from the following sites:

Eastland High School - 1:45

Eastland Elementary - 2:00

Eastland Middle School - 2:45

A special Homecoming Celebration and Community Reception for the Varsity Volleyball Team will take place Saturday night, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Eastland Athletic Booster Club, the event, held at Eastland High School, will commend the girls for an exceptional year. The communities of Lanark, Lake Carroll and Shannon will be meeting the girls, seeing their awards, and having a light meal after the presentation.

Eastland Lady Cougar Courtney Blair (#33) spikes one over the net during Saturday night's supersectional action at Pecatonica. Eastland earned a trip to the state tourney with the two match victory. (PA photo/Craig Lang)

Lady Cougar Megan Bunyer (10 kills) gets a shot past a couple of Dwight defenders. (PA photo/Craig Lang)

The victorious and very elated Eastland Lady Cougar team and coaches pose with their Super-Sectional plaque after Saturday evening's victory over the Dwight Trojans. The win advances them to the IHSA state tourney where they play Toledo (Cumberland) Friday, November 14th at 9:30 am. (PA photo/Craig Lang)

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