All-Area Volleyball: Meet the first team

Lizzy Barnard
Unity, Sr., Outside hitter


Why she made it: Parkland College recruit is a repeat selection. Player of the Year tied for area lead in kills per set (5.15) and was second on team in digs per set (3.88). Had 206 more kills than anyone else on the team. Also had 59 aces as the 23-11 Rockets matched their win total from the previous three seasons.

A few of my favorite things: Pasta ... TGI Friday’s ... One Direction ... favorite athlete, Destinee Hooker ... food & nutrition ... last text went to Austin Bonnell ... first job, hostess at Texas Roadhouse ... role model, my stepmother Channon Barnard ... would like to try track ... driving ... 2008 VW Jetta ... in 10 years, I see myself graduating college and starting the rest of my life

Three things on my bucket list: visit Europe, have my brother’s clothes-matching skills and meet One Direction

Taylor Bauer
Watseka, Jr., Outside hitter


Why she made it: Multisport standout fourth in area in kills (4.76 per set) and tied for fifth in the area in aces (68) as the Warriors reached the 30-win mark for the third year in a row and won a regional for the third consecutive season. Her 362 kills were a single-season school record by 11.

A few of my favorite things: Pasta ... Buffalo Wild Wings ... Taylor Swift ... favorite athlete, Alexis Knake ... pre-calculus ... last text went to Alexis Knake ... first job, preparing the softball fields ... role model, my dad Barry ... would like to try soccer ... driving GMC Acadia ... in 10 years, I see myself having a family and teaching

Three things on my bucket list: play at state for volleyball, a road trip with friends and visit New York City

Ayla Dew
Centennial, Sr., Outside hitter


Why she made it: Parkland College recruit had a team-high 249 kills as the Chargers extended their streak of 30-win seasons to seven in succession while advancing to the Elite Eight in Class 3A, where they lost to the eventual state runner-up. Team captain also had 182 digs and 29 aces.

A few of my favorite things: Ribs ... Lil’ Porgy’s BBQ ... Rascal Flatts ... favorite athlete, Matt Anderson ... history ... last text went to Tony Castro ... first job, popcorn girl at Savoy 16 ... role model, my grandpa Neil Reeser ... would like to try ultimate Frisbee ...driving Ol’ Blue ... in 10 years, I see myself starting a family and in a profession helping people

Three things on my bucket list: attend the CMAs, receive a motorcycle license and star on a reality TV show

Laura Gross
Schlarman, Jr., Middle hitter/setter


Why she made it: Repeat selection, team leader in kills (school-record 310) and had 126 digs for a squad that reached the Class 1A Elite Eight for the second consecutive season. Third-year varsity starter is school’s career leader in kills (750) and blocks (316). Ranks fifth all time in assists (530).

A few of my favorite things: Salmon ... Jimmy John’s ... Ed Sheeran ... favorite athlete, Blake Griffin ... statistics ... last text went to Wilde Garowski ... first job, at my dad’s restaurant, Gross’ Burgers ... role model, my mom ... would like to try lacrosse ... driving 2001 Suburban ... in 10 years, I see myself practicing physical therapy somewhere

Three things on my bucket list: see Ed Sheeran live, have longer hair than Shelby Mascari and celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Jordan Marganski
Schlarman, Sr., Setter/middle hitter


Why she made it: Team leader in assists (309) and blocks (91) for the 31-5 Vermilion Valley Conference champions and the first Schlarman team to win back-to-back sectional crowns. Also had 131 kills and 71 digs for team that was 13-0 in Vermilion Valley play. Second in school history for assists (810), kills (508) and blocks (279). Ranks No. 1 academically in her class.

A few of my favorite things: ice cream ... Biaggi’s ... Alan Alda ... favorite athlete, Scottie Pippen ... calculus ... last text went to Baby Westy ... first job, at Topper Credit Union ... role model, my brother Jake ... would like to try lacrosse ...driving mom’s Nissan Pathfinder ... in 10 years, I see myself in residency after medical school

Three things on my bucket list: go up in space, go to the top of Machu Picchu and sky diving

Shelby Simmons
St. Joseph-Ogden, Sr., Outside hitter


Why she made it: Eastern Illinois University recruit fifth in the area in kills (4.47 per set) and first on the team in digs (3.72) as the Sangamon Valley Conference tournament champion Spartans reached the Sweet 16 in Class 2A. Also had 47 aces. Exemplary team leader and top vote-getter for the SVC’s all-league team.

A few of my favorite things: Sushi ... Flat Top ... Rachel McAdams ... favorite athlete, Kerri Walsh-Jennings ... art ... last text went to Connor James ... first job at Brownfield Sports ... role model, Doug Kleber ... would like to try tennis ... driving G35 ... in 10  years, I see myself finishing school, potentially earning a doctorate and hopefully starting my own practice

Three things on my bucket list: win a national title, sell a piece of art for more than $1,000 and be involved in a mission trip to Africa

Abby Smith
Tri-County, Sr., Middle hitter


Why she made it: Had a team-high 283 kills for the Little Okaw Valley Conference tournament champions, who captured a fifth consecutive regional championship. A year ago, the Oakland High School student was the blocks leader on a squad that placed third at state in Class 1A.

A few of my favorite things: Pizza ... Cracker Barrel ... Justin Bieber and Luke Bryan ... favorite athlete, Misty May ... physical education ... last text went to Derrick Kirchner ... first job, at Unique Homes ... role model, my parents ... would like to try cheerleading ... driving black Grand Prix ... in 10 years, I see myself having a family and enjoying life doing my career

Three things on my bucket list: do a color run, sky diving or jumping out of an airplane and scuba diving

Lexi Wallen
STM, Jr., Outside hitter


Why she made it: Repeat selection is a three-sport All-Area first-teamer. Tied for first in the area in kills (5.15 per set), tied for fifth in the area in aces (68) and was second on the Sabers in digs (282). Also had 39 blocks. Has made five consecutive All-Area first teams, starting with soccer in the spring of her freshman year and continuing with volleyball, basketball and soccer last school year.

A few of my favorite things: Pizza ... El Toro ... Tori Kelly ... favorite athlete, LeBron James ... English ... last text went to my sister, Erica Wallen ... first job, baby-sitting ... role model, my grandpa ... would like to try tennis ... driving Saturn Vue ... in 10 years, I see myself finishing school and getting a good job

Three things on my bucket list: travel around Europe, learn to play an instrument and go to the Olympic Games

Dana Westfield
Champaign Central, So.,
Outside hitter


Why she made it: Finished with a team-high 266 kills, to go with 136 digs (second on team), 32 blocks (third on team) and 28 aces (second on team). Second-year varsity player getting recruiting looks from Big Ten, ACC, SEC and Big 12 universities.

A few of my favorite things: Chicken noodle soup ... The Cheesecake Factory ... Beyonce ... favorite athlete, Manny Rodriguez ... French ... last text went to my sister Jaelyn ... first job, detasseling corn ... role model, my sister Jaelyn Westfield ... would like to try skiing ... driving 2004 Hyundai Sonata ... in 10 years, I see myself looking back to 10 years before, when I answered this question

Three things on my bucket list: watch all eight “Harry Potter” movies in a row, travel to a foreign country and be able to recite all of the lines in a movie


Sirena Woo
Mahomet-Seymour, Sr., Libero


Why she made it: Future Illinois State University student finished ninth in the area in digs (4.64 per set). Adept at reading plays and getting to the right position. Also had 38 aces. Amassed 786 digs and 77 aces in past two seasons. An elementary education major, plans to focus on rec volleyball in college.

A few of my favorite things: Steak on the grill ... Kamakura ... Carrie Underwood ... favorite athlete, Kerri Walsh-Jennings ... calculus ... last text went to Elijah Johnson ... first job, teller at Fisher National Bank ... role model, my mother Pam Woo ... would like to try surfing ... driving 2010 Toyota Corolla ... in 10 years, I see myself married to my best friend, teaching fifth grade and coaching volleyball

Three things on my bucket list: visit Italy, sky diving and swimming with dolphins

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