By Steve Robinson | December 6, 2019 - 5:02 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – In a first of its kind event, Town of Normal officials invited residents to provide input on a number of issues at a Town Summit meeting held Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Community Activity Center at One Normal Plaza.

Participants were invited by Normal Town Council members where 60 residents gathered around seven tables to discuss varying topics concerning the community. At each table, a Town official took notes which would be turned in to Normal Town Council members. A Normal Town official took notes at each table, including Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner and Normal Fire Chief Mick Humer. Mayor Chris Koos and the Town’s six Town Council members sat in at each table but their assignment, under the rules established by the facilitator of the event, Lou Sumek, were strictly to be observers. He referred to those participating at each table as “discussion teams.”

Sumek, who operates a Florida-based firm which specializes in planning and overseeing such functions, explained that after the three-hour session, he would write a summary of what the citizens had to say which he would present to Council members to mull over during a Council summit scheduled for Dec. 7.

“Citizens will give you, if you engage them, a couple of hours,” Sumek said. “But they need to be engaged during the session. This isn’t the Council giving a presentation. This is Council listening to its citizens.” Sumek said from what he was witnessing at the event, “There were some real common themes emerging here.”

Sumek said he tries to hold the discussion teams at each table to six people each. Any larger than that, he said, and some drop out of the conversation. From his perspective, Sumek said, “You warm them up and then you let them go. The more ideas we hear, the better off we are.”

Sumek added the Town came to him wanting to know how residents felt about the current version of the Town’s Strategic Plan for future years. He said Town officials were looking for input on the plan and get it in a short amount of time. Sumek said he recommended the format for the meeting which was held, and Town officials agreed to try it.

“Our strategic plan look out 18 months to 24 months, really, kind of short term,” explained City Manager Pam Reece, who was among the officials present. “The Council is always looking at it and updating it. She explained the session Council members had scheduled for the day after this summit, Friday, Nov. 6, would involve thinking about things the Town could do over the next 18 to 24 months to get to where residents think the Town ought to be on certain matters.

Many of the summit participants raised their hands when asked by Sumek if they had lived in the community for 25 years or longer, with only a couple lifting arms if they had been here less than 25 years.

Jim Riker would qualify as one of the folks who has been in the community 25 years and said the folks at his table seemed in agreement on many of the things they felt the Town needed to accomplish going forward into the future. “We’re concerned about the Town’s debt,” Riker said were among items concerning the group he sat with.

In addition, Riker said the group at his table agreed that “we want the Town to stop the Uptown Normal project beyond where it is, and to not go beyond that, to the south side.” The project he was referring to not wanting to see started is the proposed Trail East project, which would include a 5-story mixed use building situated on the east side of the Town Roundabout.

He said the people at his table were of the belief the Town needs to stop increasing fees and “see where we are at and pick the right projects. We need to attend to infrastructure and roads, sewers. We need to get police and fire pensions fully funded.” That last item referred to the Town voting to fund those pensions at 90 percent rather than 100 percent by 2040 as proposed by the State.

Rachel Hile-Broad said the folks at the table she was at a table with folks who agreed the Town is headed in the right direction in a number of ways and if an improvement could be suggested, it would be that “there needed to be more avenues of communication for citizens with Council members and the Town, such as this one.” Hile-Broad said the Trail East project did not come up at her table. “There was a lot of affirmation about what the Town is doing at our table.”

Hile-Broad, however, did say there is always room for the Town to improve. She did say the Town’s debt did come up and was a point of disagreement among participants at her table. On that issue, Hile-Broad said, the members at her table came to an agreement the Town should employ “sustainable financing” as a means how to pay for projects going forward.

NORMAL – At their regularly-scheduled meeting Monday night, Normal Town Council members were supposed to approve the 2019 tax levy, as other governing bodies have done in recent sessions for the levy to move on to the county clerk’s office. But getting the approval accomplished turned into a tangled discussion concerning, among other things, setting aside enough funds for the Town to hire a communication specialist.

Council Member Kevin McCarthy said he wanted to see the levy altered so that the Town could add money to afford to pay for someone to fill the position of Communication Specialist, a person who would, among numerous duties, serve as a liaison to local media and help Council and Town staff get information out through local media. McCarthy said he would like to see the tax levy amount altered to reflect the Town having the funds to pay for that position. The amount needed for the Communication Specialist’s salary, which McCarthy asked be added to the levy, is $96,834.

Council members approved the levy by a 4-3 count with Mayor Chris Koos, joined by Council Members Kathleen Lorenz, Chemberly Cummings, and McCarthy in favor. Council Members Stan Nord, Karyn Smith, and Scott Preston voting against. The votes sized up in the same manner when Council members voted on a motion by Nord to table voting on the measure until the Council’s next meeting scheduled for Dec. 17.

Projections indicated by the Town show income from the property tax levy would result in the Town taking in $13,055,328. A person with a home costing $165,000 would see an increase of roughly $6 added to their bill. The levy’s total amount before the request to add the communication specialist position into the equation was $12,958,494.

At their first session in November, Council members decided to reduce the dollar amounts that would go in the pension funds of retired police and fire fighters. The Council wanted to maintain the Town’s contribution to that fund to be at 100 percent by 2040, surpassing the mandated 90 percent mark set by the State.

The Town had a Communication Specialist for a few years in the person of Dan Irvin, who came to the Town to fill the post having had experience in a similar position with the former Mitsubishi Motors North America plant on the Town’s west end. Irvin retired from his communication position with the Town earlier this year.

Abatement Of 2019 Property Taxes For Debt Service Approved: By a 6-1 count, Council members approved ordinances authorizing abatement of 2019 property taxes for debt service. Mayor Chris Koos, and Council Members Chemberly Cummings, Kevin McCarthy, Scott Preston, Kathleen Lorenz, and Karyn Smith approved the measure while Council Member Stan Nord voted against it.

A total of $6,204,878 in property taxes for the following bonds were abated as a result of the vote. They included: 2009 bonds issued in July 2009 to repay a 2003 bond; 2009(A) bonds issued in July 2009 (Build America Strong bonds); 2010(A) bonds issued in November 2010 (Recovery Zone bonds); 2012 bonds issued in September 2012 to refund 2004 bonds; 2013 bonds issued in November 2013 to refund 2005 bonds; 2014 bonds issued in November 2014; 2016(A) bonds issued in March 2016 bonds to repay 2006 bonds; 2016(B) bonds issued in March 2016; 2017(A) bonds issued in March 2017 to refund 2007 bonds; 2017(B) bonds issued in March 2017 to refund 2007 bonds; 2018 bonds issued in March 2018 to refund 2008 bonds; 2019 bonds issued in October to partially refund 2009 bonds; and Special Service Area bonds, or SSA bonds, issued in December 2004.

Community Development Block Grant 2020-2024 Draft Presented: Council members were given a brief presentation by Town Associate Planner Taylor Long concerning the Community Development Block Grant draft which citizens will get an opportunity to provide input on at a session scheduled for later this month.

Long explained the draft plans for CDBG will be available for public comment for a 40 day period running from Dec. 3 through Jan. 11. A public hearing on CDBG draft will be held in the café of the Normal Public Library on Tuesday, Dec. 17. During that session, the draft of the CDBG Consolidated plan will be discussed from 5:30p.m.-6:30p.m., followed by a discussion of the 2020-2021 CDBG Action Plan from 6:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the hearing, but if they can’t may provide written comments to either Town Clerk’s office or to Long by way of email. His email address is: tlong@normal.org.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council including:

• Approval of minutes of a work session held Nov. 18, 2019.

• Approval of minutes of the regular Council meeting held Nov. 18, 2019.

• Report to receive and file Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Nov. 27, 2019.

• A motion to approve the year 2020 Town meeting calendar.

• A resolution requesting permission to close a portion of U. S. Highway 51 for the annual Jaycees Christmas Parade.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with McLean County for centralized booking services.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Bloomington for the police shooting range facility.

• A resolution authorizing the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Bloomington, McLean County, and the Ecology Action Center for solid waste management services.

• A resolution reapproving the final plat of the resubdivision of outlots 502 and 503 in Constitution Trail Centre Subdivision (H2 Hotel).

• A resolution amending a reciprocal easement agreement for the Hyatt Place Hotel.

• An ordinance modifying Chapter 25 Division 16 – plan review, building, HVAC, electric, sign, and plumbing permit fees (associated with the implementation of the Central Square TRAKiT Software System.

BLOOMINGTON – If area high school basketball fans were looking for a little post-Thanksgiving excitement during the annual Boys Intercity Basketball Tournament, they found it quickly if they attended Normal West High School’s showdown against Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday, Nov. 29 as the Wildcats clawed their way through triple overtime before dropping an 84-75 decision to the Saints before 750 enthusiastic fans.

West senior forwards Evan Hutson and Max Ziebarth opened the fourth quarter with a deuce each to help pull the Wildcats within two of BCC, 50-48, prompting Saints head coach Jason Welch to call time with 6:58 in the fourth quarter. Following the time out, the teams would see the score seesaw again, to a Wildcats 52-50 lead with 5:19 left, prompting West first season head coach Ed Hafermann to call time.

Coming out of that time out, a trey by Ellison put the Saints up, 53-52, but was countered by a deuce for West from Ziebarth, putting West up, 54-53, at the 4:25 mark. Back-to-back fouls committed by West junior forward Corey Walker’s foul put Davis on the line where he made two shots each time, giving BCC a 57-54 lead with 1:46 left. A deuce from West senior forward Cole Hernandez helped trim the lead to one, 57-56, prompting BCC to call time with nine seconds left.

But Davis was fouled shortly after coming out of the time out and made two free throws, putting the Saints up, 59-56, and prompting West to call time. The two sides would call another timeout each in the waning seconds before play would resume and McGinnis would find an opening and hit a trey to tie the game, 59-all, as the final buzzer sounded, forcing overtime.

A Seesaw 1st Overtime: BCC junior forward Sam Tallen opened the first overtime by fouling West’s Ziebarth who hit a pair of free throws, putting the Wildcats up, 61-59 with 3:47 left. But a trey from Davis just seconds later gave the Saints a one-point lead, 62-61. Hutson countered with a trey putting West ahead by two, 64-62. With three minutes left, Saints junior guard Andrew Hinderer’s trey put BCC up by one, 65-64, followed by two free throws by Hinderer being fouled and hitting two free throws with 3:40 left, giving the Saints a 67-64 lead. West called time with 26.2 seconds left and the Wildcats tried keeping their distance from the Saints waiting for the right shot with junior guard Colton Cassady the last man with the ball and hitting a three with 2.2 seconds left.

West was quick to call time and coming out of that timeout, BCC couldn’t maneuver to the basket forcing double OT.

BCC’s Ellison’s Trey Ends 2nd Overtime: West was quick to jump out to a 71-67 advantage to start double overtime thanks to a deuce from Ziebarth and a pair of free throws from Ziebarth, having been fouled by Tallen at the 1:08 mark in the second overtime. That prompted West to call time. Following the timeout, BCC’s Davis fouled Ziebarth, who sank both free throws, giving the Wildcats a 73-67 lead.

But a trey by Davis with 20.4 seconds cut West’s lead to three, 73-70. That was followed by West’s McGinnis going to the line having been fouled by Saints junior guard Casey Crowley. But McGinnis missing both free shots. BCC tied the game at 73-all on a buzzer-beating trey from junior guard Jayden Ellison, forcing triple OT.

Tallen, Davis, Ellison Baskets Push Saints In Front: The first two minutes and 10 seconds of the third overtime was a defensive effort for both teams with no scoring, but Tallen managed a deuce at that point, putting BCC up, 75-73. Cassady countered with a deuce for West with two minutes remaining to tie the game, 75-all. But that didn’t hold long courtesy of a Davis trey with 1:53 left, putting BCC up, 78-75. Tallen fouled West’s Ziebarth, but the 6 foot-4 sophomore couldn’t convert the two needed free throws. Another BCC trey from Ellison pushed the Saints’ lead to six, 81-75, with 1:05 left. BCC earned another point, going ahead 82-75, when Crowley hit 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled by McGinnis. BCC called time with 52.5 seconds remaining. Following the timeout, Davis added two more free throws, having been fouled by West’s McGinnis, resulting in the final score.

Scoring Leading Up To The Overtimes: A pair of threes from senior guard Cole Davis and junior guard J. T. Welch helped push Central Catholic (1-2 following this game) past Normal West, 14-11 to close out the first quarter. During that quarter, Wildcats fans saw their team jump to a fast 4-0 start with back-to-back deuces by junior forward Corey Walker and a trey from senior forward Evan Hutson.

Ziebarth’s basket at 3:49 in the second quarter helped Normal West (1-1 following this game) tie the game in the second quarter, 17-17, before Ellison’s bucket put BCC in front, 19-17. The game would be tied one more time, 19-all, and a Hutson deuce would put West up by one, 22-21 at the 3:21 mark, before a trey by Tallen would give the Saints a 24-22 lead that would be the start of a chase for West to keep pace with their opponents.

BCC would own a 34-26 lead at the half and 50-44 advantage highlighted by a pair of third quarter threes each for West from senior guard Alec McGinnis and for BCC from senior guard Cole Davis.

West’s Ziebarth, BCC’s Davis Were Lead Scorers: Davis and Ellison led all scorers in the contest as well as led BCC’s charge, with 31 points and 20, respectfully. Tallen was the only other Saints player to reach double-figures, with 13. Ziebarth led Normal West’s scoring with 21 points. He was followed in double-digits by 16 from Walker, Hutson’s 12, and McGinnis’ 11.

“West is skilled and they’re big,” stated BCC head coach Welch. “We never felt comfortable, and certainly, I don’t think West felt comfortable. The reality is it was two good basketball teams going at it in November and there really isn’t a winner or a loser because both teams got better.”

Welch credited his players with not letting West catching up to them deflate their momentum during the contest.

“That was a battle and we have talked about resiliency with our team this year,” explained Hafermann. “We were down 12 at one point in the third quarter and talked to the boys about not panicking. We talked about battling back.”

“Both teams were playing with no fear,” Hafermann added. “They were just out there competing. What more can you ask of 16-, 17-year-old kids in front of a very large crowd in a really intense environment?” He noted McGinnis’ trey, which came as the buzzer sounded the end of regulation, was “a really tough three” and that the 5 foot-10 senior never came out of the contest.

“I know people will talk about Alec’s missing those two free throws toward the end of the second overtime, but I want that kid on my team every single time,” Hafermann said. “You love to win but you want to learn from your losses.

By Steve Robinson | November 25, 2019 - 4:15 pm
Posted in Category: ISU Redbirds, The Normalite

NORMAL – With his team’s road loss at Youngstown State still weighing on his mind through most of Saturday, Illinois State University head football coach Brock Spack admits that he didn’t even start to address whether his 8-4 team would be considered for 2019 FCS playoffs until he woke up Sunday. When he and his team gathered in the Hancock Stadium Club Room, they found out within the first 15 minutes of the broadcast which would announce the teams which qualified to extend their seasons.

ISU, with an 8-4 record, did qualify, leading to cheering from the team and those fans and supporters, numbering around 35, who anxiously awaited word on the subject. As a result, the Redbirds will be the visitors when they take on Southeast Missouri University Saturday, beginning at 1p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3. A total of eight teams received byes from the selection committee. One of those teams, Central Arkansas University, received an 8th seed, and would be the Redbirds’ next opponent should Spack’s troops emerge victorious Saturday.

Two other Missouri Valley Football Conference teams earned high seeds and byes courtesy of the selection committee. North Dakota State, at 12-0 overall and 8-0 MVFC, earned the top seed in the FCS playoffs. South Dakota State, at 8-4 overall and 5-3 MVFC, earned a 7th seed.

Redbirds players sat quietly waiting for the broadcast to start but cheered loudly along with those fans who came to check out the results when ISU was announced as one of the teams in the brackets.

Following the announcement, Spack reminded reporters, “We’ve built a pretty good road team this year and we’ve been a pretty good road team in the playoffs. So, we’ll see. SEMO has a very good football team and a good program, so we’ll have to play well.”

The 11th season head coach will be taking the Redbirds into the playoffs for a fifth year, which includes to the FCS Championship against North Dakota State to close out the 2014-15 season.

“We’re just excited to be in the playoffs, whether on the road or at home,” Spack said.

“We’re excited about getting a bid in the playoffs since it has been a couple years where we haven’t been in,” said Spack’s boss, ISU Athletic Director Larry Lyons. “You know what? Someone gets to host and someone gets to go on the road. We’ll go down to SEMO and we’ll do our very best to win that game, and then it looks like it could be a rematch with Central Arkansas in the second round.” Lyons was quick to remind the Redbirds and the Bears met in FCS play a couple years ago.

“I think the kids and the coaches are very excited to be back in the playoffs,” Lyons said. On the way back from Ohio, Lyons added, “I still felt confident we had the resume to get a home game. The committee didn’t see it that way.”

Redbirds Injury List: For ISU, getting into the FCS playoffs is the good news. But looking at their injury list, they will take on the Redhawks of the Ohio Valley Conference while missing some key players and playing a team that seems to know how to handle MVFC teams. Among ISU’s injured: Senior offensive lineman Gabe Megginson, out for the year; Junior quarterback Brady Davis, who was injured in ISU’s game against Missouri State game and is out for the year; Junior backup running back Jeff Proctor, injured in Missouri State game and gone for the year; Sophomore wide receiver Taylor Grimes, a starter on the team who was hurt in ISU’s game against Northern Arizona and is gone for the year); And redshirt freshman wide receiver Eric Rogers.

The Redbirds did get two other key players who just came off the injury list. Sophomore starting wide receiver Andrew Edgar, a 2018 freshman All American who was out for 8 weeks and returned last week at Youngstown State; And junior starting fullback Tim McCloyn, who saw limited duty for a month due to a hand injury but is back in time for the playoffs.

Familiar ISU Foes Lost In Cape Girardeau: If you want to know if or how SEMO did against other MVFC teams, all you need to do is look at their schedule. SEMO, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, played host to and defeated Southern Illinois to open the season in August, 44-26. Eastern Illinois, an OVC member who often plays ISU, also fell victim to the Redhawks this year, two weeks ago, 26-12.

By Steve Robinson | November 17, 2019 - 10:42 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – It wasn’t the finish University High School’s Volleyball team sought, but the Pioneers did exit Illinois High School Association State Volleyball Tournament at Redbird Arena Saturday with something to add to their trophy case. After a two-set loss to LaGrange Park-based Nazareth Academy, 25-21 and 25-22 at Redbird Arena, the Pioneers placed 4th and added a seventh Volleyball trophy for the school.

Game one had scoring going back and forth between the two sides for a 5-all tie before U-High (33-7) moved in front 8-5 with senior outside hitter Alyanna Crabtree serving, a ball-handling error by Angels junior outside hitter Isabel Decker and kills from U-High senior setter Isobel Schaefbauer and freshman outside hitter Lily Barry. The Pioneers managed to stay in front of the Angels, 12-8, as a result of kills by Schaefbauer and Barry, before turning the serve over to the Angels on a Schaefbauer service error.

U-High was up, 14-12 when Angels middle hitter Elizabeth Sandt’s serving ace and a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Hurta tied the game. The Angels took a 15-14 lead courtesy of a Sandt kill, and the game would knot at 15-all on a kill from U-High sophomore middle hitter Chloe Clayton. But a Burk service error from the Pioneers would give Nazareth Academy a 16-15 lead upon which to build on toward their first victory. The Pioneers would come within three, 23-20, thanks to a Schaefbauer service ace and a Hurta attack error, but a service ace from junior outside hitter Allison Surowiec and an attack error from U-High’s Barry would seal the first win for the Angels.

With Decker serving, game two started with Nazareth Academy(28-8) owning a quick 4-0 lead before U-High scored their first point thanks to an attack error by Hurta. Two straight attack errors by Crabtree pushed that lead to 6-1 before Pioneers Head Coach Mike Bohuis called for a timeout. But even after that, the game was a chase, with the Angels maintaining their lead while the Pioneers were in pursuit.

A service ace by Crabtree brought the Pioneers as close as two, 18-16, and a pair of Schaefbauer kills, got U-High within one, 19-18, before a kill by Decker started the Angels off toward a final scoring streak to take the match and claim third place.

At her team’s postgame news conference, Nazareth Academy head coach Melissa Masterson gave a nod to U-High’s one of tallest players for her performance against her players saying Pioneers junior middle hitter Maycie Wellborn, at 6 foot-3, made sure the Angels team would know who was trying to make their attempt to win third place difficult. The other six foot plus players on green and gold are 6 foot-2 Crabtree, 6 foot-1 junior middle hitter Jaelyn Sorenson, and 6 foot junior setter Kendall Burk.

In the two-game match, U-High registered 25 kills to Nazarene Academy’s 23, with Schaefbauer’s 12 leading the way. She also had 33 take aways and 8 assists to lead the Pioneers. Sandt and sophomore middle blocker Gillian Grimes led the Angels’ defense with 15 and 12 digs, respectfully. Crabtree scored two serving aces for the Pioneers. Decker and Hurta led the Angels in kills with 11 and 10, respectfully. Defensively, Crabtree and senior middle blocker Logan Murray led U-High in digs with 13 and 11 respectfully.

“I just wanted to have fun with my teammates seeing as it was our last game,” said Angels junior outside hitter Isabel Decker.

Bohuis had a brief meeting with his team following the loss and told reporters, “We just got done talking about how our season isn’t defined by going 0-2 at State, but that it’s defined by ownership, and we’re hoping the team owns the entirety of the season more so than trying to own these last two matches.

“It’s a challenge making it to State,” Bohuis said. “It’s not just easy. So, the fact they were good enough to make it here says something special. It’s a journey and we’re just proud of how they went about that journey. It’s something to bring home a 4th place State trophy.”

Bohuis said with his seniors leading the way, he was proud of how his players conduct themselves, not just in game and practice situations, but in their classwork and in respecting fellow students, as well.

Bohuis credited Decker and Hurta with “doing a good job and the job they did defensively. “I thought that was the hardest we’ve had to work offensively trying to score against them.”

Pioneers Lose Close Matches To Joliet Catholic In Semis: The Pioneers found themselves in the 3rd place game after finding themselves having to pursue Joliet Catholic throughout the semifinal against the Angels, who won the contest in two games, 25-23 and 25-20. In game one, the teams exchanged points, tying the score at 11-all. But from there with Burk serving, U-High pushed ahead 14-11 thanks to a kill by Crabtree and an attack error each by Joliet Catholic senior middle hitter Bella Ray and outside hitter Riley Hungate.

That scoring surge prompted Joliet Catholic head coach Christine Schiebe to call time. Following that timeout, a kill by Ray and a pair of Pioneers attack errors tied the game at 14-all. From there, kills from Schaefbauer and Clayton and a service ace by Crabtree pushed the Pioneers in front, 17-14. The Angels responded in kind with a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Julian Gray, a service ace from senior setter Erin O’Grady, pushing Joliet Catholic in front, 18-17.

A kill by Gray got the Angels serving serving again and the Angels were able to add points as a result of another Gray kill and a trio of attack errors committed by Barry, Schaefbauer, and Clayton. That gave Joliet Catholic a 22-17 lead. A kill each by junior middle hitter Emily Surin for Joliet Catholic and Schaefbauer for U-High kept the Angels lead up, 23-18, before a trio of attack errors from Gray aided the Pioneers’ efforts, allowing U-High to come within two, 23-21. Another Gray attack error allowed U-High to come within one, 23-22, before a kill each from Barry and Gray led to the final score.

Game two was a tight contest at first, with Joliet Catholic holding off the Pioneers, 9-7 before going on four point run thanks to a pair of attack errors by Schaefbauer and a kill for Joliet by senior middle hitter Bella Ray and service ace by Surin, putting the Angels up, 13-7. The Angels also held off the Pioneers with another scoring run featuring as kill by Ray and attack errors by Joliet to stay in front of the Pioneers, 16-10. A kill by Welborn assisted by Schaefbauer, helped U-High close within five, 16-11.

Kills by Burk and Crabtree aided in U-High coming within four, 17-13, and attack errors by the Angels helped U-High come within three, 18-15, before Pioneers attack errors and a service ace by Gray helped Joliet Catholic aim toward a 22-16 lead.

Kills by Surin and Hungate were surrounded by Pioneers errors in the final moments of the contest led to the final score.

During the two set match, U-High registered a total of 23 kills, 23 errors, and 80 take aways. Joliet Catholic registered a total of 21 kills, 13 errors, and 80 take aways.

The loss put the Pioneers in the third place game with a record of 33-7 while Joliet Catholic advanced to a 26-14 mark.

As a result, of the win, the Angels will take on Joliet Catholic, the team they lost to at State last year. “Obviously, our goal was to get to the State Championship, and now our goal is to play our best and do our best to win that match,” stated Angels Head Coach Christine Schiebe, adding her team lost last year in two games to the team they would take on for the title, Sterling High School. “I think we’re ready and prepared as we can be for that match.

Schiebe admitted she didn’t “intentionally over-scout” the Pioneers prior to the match. “I just gave the girls very few basics of what would happen on the court. I didn’t want to overload my girls with ‘this is what they are doing here’ and ‘this is what they are doing there.’ I just wanted to go out and play our game.”

“I’m proud of how my girls played throughout the entirety of that match,” U-High’s Bohuis said. He added the team talks numerous times about maintaining composure throughout a match, whether things are or aren’t going well. He said he thought his girls did well in that respect during this contest. “The contest came down to a couple of service runs they went on, a couple rotations. The game was a credit to Joliet Catholic. I thought they played great defense. They made things tricky for us offensively.”

Of his players, Bohuis added, “Experience is a big factor here. But our girls came out and they were playing hard and in the right way from the very beginning, so, I am proud of them for that.”

Despite the outcome, Schaefbauer echoed her coach’s comments about how well the girls did not letting Joliet’s leads get to them. “We still have another match Saturday and ending your season on a win is a lot better than ending it on a loss. I think that’s something we’ve reminded our teammates about, and hopefully we can remember that going in that game.”

Burk summed up what the team as a whole had in mind as they got ready to face the Roadrunners. “Obviously, it was very hard losing this match. But tomorrow, we want to go out and win it for our coaches who have put so much into our season. We want to win it for our seniors and win it for each other.”