More than 30 years after they last suited up the 1977 Salem Lady Wildcats volleyball team remains as one of the most successful in school history.

Coach Kathy Finney’s squad compiled a sparkling 25-4 record and its .862 winning percentage ranked second in school history at the time of its induction behind only the 1998 team’s 32-3 record and .914 winning percentage.

The Lady Wildcats compiled a 22-3 regular season record that included second place finishes at the Salem Invitational and Flora Invitational. There was no North Egypt Conference season in place at that time.

Salem captured the district championship on its home floor with a 20-1, 20-5 victory over Effingham in the opening round and a 20-18, 20-6 triumph over Mt. Carmel for the championship.

amberyoungSalem Community High School’s first female four-sport athlete used her running skills to take her to the collegiate level. Amber (Wimberly) Young, a 1990 SCHS graduate, reached that status when she doubled up in the fall with cross country and volleyball. She added to that participation list with basketball in the winter and track in the spring.

Young did more than just participate. She also excelled. Young was an All-South selection and state meet participant in cross country, earned All-North Egypt Conference honors in volleyball and won her team’s Rebound and Defense Awards in basketball.

The 1981 Volleyball team coached by Pam McCartney (Raymer) and assisted by Suzanne Henry (Brown) had an impressive team that won the North Egypt Conference championship and recorded a perfect 16-0 record against N.E.C. opponents.

In addition to the conference title, the Lady Wildcats had huge wins in their season by winning the Kaskaskia tournament and the consolation bracket in the highly competitive Carbondale Invitational tournament. Probably the biggest accomplishment of the 1981 season was winning the District Championship. Salem had to defeat Centralia in the first round of the tournament and then defeated Mt. Vernon in the Championship game. Mt. Vernon was highly favored in the Championship, especially since they had defeated the Lady Wildcats earlier in the season 2-0.

The volleyball team finished the season with an overall record of 24-7 and will go down as one of the best volleyball teams in SCHS history.

Over the years Salem Community High School has developed a reputation as one of the top volleyball programs in southern Illinois.

The 1980 Lady Wildcats squad played a big role in starting that tradition. Perhaps fittingly, it is the first volleyball ream to be inducted into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame.

First-year coach Pam (McCartney) Raymer made a big splash right off the bat, as her squad won the North Egypt Conference championship.

The NEC Champion was crowned through a tournament at that time. Salem, which was the number one seed going into the tournament, had a first-round bye. In the semifinal round Salem defeated Lawrenceville 15-2, 15-2.

marianne_larimerWhen it came to Marianne Larimer’s athletic career at Salem Community High School, she was a part of many firsts.

She was a member of the school’s first volleyball team. She was a member of the first girls basketball team. Now she has become the first female to be selected to the SCHS Hall of Fame.

Larimer, whose father Bill was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, was a four-sport athlete at SCHS from 1972-1976. While she also played softball and tennis, her strongest sports were volleyball and basketball.

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