Villa Grove to keep volleyball separate

VILLA GROVE — The Blue Devils will field their high school volleyball team next season.

The school district considered including volleyball in their newly formed sports cooperative with Heritage, after the head volleyball coach resigned. However, a recent candidate for the coaching position stepped forward to give the school board another option. The board has hired Jeana Block as the head volleyball coach for the upcoming season.

Heritage boys' basketball coach Andy Place encouraged the board to add volleyball to the co-op agreement. He said the basketball team has gotten off to a great start. "There have been a lot of wonderful positives across the board," he said. "We are thrilled with everything that is going on."

Place thought adding volleyball would give more consistency to every sports program and the cooperative as a whole.

Villa Grove did not originally include volleyball because it has a high number of participants in high school, but does not offer a junior high program to develop young players like Heritage has. Villa Grove athletic director Noreen Acton said Block had expressed interest in working with a junior high program to bring the girls along.

According to school board President Steve Douglas, Heritage has also offered assistance in developing junior high players from Villa Grove.

The board decided it was best to fill the coaching position and continue to develop the program outside of the sports cooperative for now.

The board also filled other vacancies in the district. The board approved John Yeakel as a high school math teacher, Jeri Ann Cardiff as K-12 vocal music instructor, Kimberly Rund as family consumer science teacher and Sara Starr as a special-education aide. These placements are pending a successful background check as required by state law.

Superintendent Mary Ann Manos signed a new contract which will include the duties of high school principal as well.

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