Madison Southern will look to defend its title when the 42nd District volleyball tournament gets under way today at Madison Central High School.

The Lady Eagles, the top seed, will take on Berea Community at 6 p.m. In the other semifinal, Madison Central will take on Bryan Station.

The championship game is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Both of the finalists advance to the 11th Region Tournament.

Southern won its first-ever district championship last year and finished the regular season with a 15-13 record. The Lady Eagles defeated Berea both times the two schools met this season, picking up 2-0 victories in each meeting.

Madison Central won district titles in 2004 and 2005 and had reached the championship game three straight seasons before being knocked off by Bryan Station last year in the opening round.

The Lady Indians struggled at times this season against a very competitive schedule, dropping six of their first seven matches, but did bounce back from that rough start to put together some impressive results. They won three matches at the Lafayette Invitational in early September, including a win over Madison Southern.

Central lost twice to Bryan Station this season, falling 2-0 (25-20, 25-12) on Aug. 28 and then dropping the regular-season finale 2-0 (25-9, 25-16) last week at home.

In the team’s first season of varsity action, Berea did not win a match in 2006, finishing with an 0-22 record.

The Lady Pirates have shown significant improvement this year under first-year head coach Charlotte Isaacs. They did suffer through a 12-match losing streak in the middle of the season, but have won five of their past eight heading into the postseason.

Berea was knocked out of the district tournament last season by their cross-town rivals, but the first time the two teams played this year, the Lady Eagles escaped with a 25-20, 26-24 victory.

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