Girls volleyball: Bittersweet senior night ends in loss
Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 2:01pm
The girls volleyball team put in a valiant effort Tuesday night as they played the Deland-Weldon Eagles. This game was important for two reasons: both teams were competing for the East Central Illinois Conference (ECIC) title and it was the last home game for four senior players.
Commonly known as senior night, the last home game of the season honors seniors on the team. This year, the girls volleyball team has four seniors: Sarah Heffley, Hannah Johlas, Sarah Sutter, and Jamie Blue.
There was a pre-game ceremony recognizing the seniors' accomplishments and describing their future plans. The seniors walked onto the court, hugging and high-fiving their teammates before finally standing at half-court flanked by their parents.
Kenney Gym was decked out in honor of the seniors. Streamers were wrapped around posts and the edges of the balconies. Each senior had a sign hanging behind the home team's bench. A balloon arch graced the entrance and small clusters of balloons accented each of the orange padded posts in the gym.
Even before the game the seniors, especially Johlas, were eagerly awaiting the traditional senior night decorations.
"I am really excited to see the posters that we are getting actually, because Emma Hoyer is the queen of posters on our team and has been working on them, I don't know, for at least seven months, she told me in January, that she had all our gifts planned out and everything, so I am really excited to see what she got us."
The varsity match began after the senior festivities. It started off well for the Illineks as they won the first game 25-20.
In the second game, Uni lost 15-25. The lost set did not discourage the team as they rallied in third game and eventually captured a lead. The Illineks tried to hold onto the small buffer of points, but Deland-Weldon won the third set 27-25.
Although the final outcome was disappointing, the team was pleased with their effort.
"Well, I really would have liked to win," said Blue, "but I thought we played really well. We really played our hearts out and we really got some plays that I didn't think we were going to get. We really dove on the floor and gave it everything we had. It just didn't really turn out the way we wanted it to."
Sutter agreed with Blue's perspective.
"It was unfortunate that we lost, but I think we played really well. We fought for it the whole time, and it just slipped from us at the end as the pressure situation got from us. Unfortunately, little mistakes in volleyball can make or break a game at that point."
The volleyball season is not quite over. The Illineks placed third out of eight teams in the second annual ECIC tournament this weekend and they begin regionals on Monday, playing Judah Christian in the first round.
So the Illineks will have a run at the postseason before they say goodbye to their seniors.
"I'm really going to miss these guys," said varsity coach Lis Pollock. "It's going to be a great loss to the team for all four of them because they are each uniquely talented and have their individual skills that benefit the team."
The seniors of the 2011 volleyball team, from left to right: Sarah Heffley, Sarah Sutter, Jamie Blue, Hannah Johlas. Gargoyle photo by Will Givens.