[Matthew Apgar - email@example.com]
Newark, making its third straight state appearance, played like it Friday morning at Redbird Arena.
Madi Malone, as usual, was unstoppable with 23 kills. Newark followed her lead, taking care of business in beating Athens 25-20, 25-14 in the first Class 1A state semifinal.
Newark (40-2) will play for its second straight state championship at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning against Illini Bluffs (40-1), a winner over Norris City.
"It's definitely comforting knowing we've been here before and it's not our first time, and I have people by my side that if I get nervous they're there to build me up," said Chapman, one of three Newark starters for all three state teams. "We were all freaked out the first time we were here. Now it's not like 'Oh my gosh, we're in this giant gym' it's 'Let's just get a win.'"