All-Area Volleyball POY: STM's Lexi Wallen

CHAMPAIGN — If Lexi Wallen can do it, then there’s hope for other aspiring college athletes.

The possibility stems from an opportunity to receive a college scholarship in a sport that wasn’t the person’s entire focus throughout high school.

Final area volleyball statistics

Player, School    Kills    Avg.
Lexi Wallen, STM    501    5.83
Peyton Jones, Oakwood    299    5.07
Laura Gross, Schlarman    335    4.93
Kylie Michael, SJ-O    271    4.84

N-G All-State Volleyball: Meet the first team, second team, special mention and honorable mention

Lauren Anderson    Deer Creek-Mackinaw    Sr.    5-10    OH    Lipscomb recruit had team-high 419 kills and 376 digs for 36-3 Class 2A state champions

N-G All-State Volleyball POY: Molly Haggerty

GLEN ELLYN — Molly Haggerty stands lone atop the list of the state’s elite volleyball players.

The Wheaton St. Francis standout is one of the two juniors on the senior-dominated 33rd News-Gazette All-State team. Haggerty is also the Player of the Year after leading the Spartans — ranked 30th nationally — to a third consecutive Class 3A state championship.

Plenty of reasons to give thanks

In our sporting region, it’s not a stretch to find reasons to be thankful.

This area continues to nurture outstanding athletes, both at the high school level and beyond.

The question is not who are they, but rather where to begin?

Here’s a condensed sampling, starting with some who have already graduated from high school:

Kroner: All-Area teams will have new look

Change is inevitable.

Some of us embrace it. Some resist it.

The only certainty is that it’s coming, often in ways we cannot currently even imagine.

The newspaper business is no exception.

We used to write stories on a typewriter, and a composing room person would set the words in type.

Best of Fred: No. 38 — My favorite stories, written at home and abroad

Most of the favorite stories I’ve written don’t involve athletes or teams who “won” something.

My short list includes articles that are special either because of the effort required to get the story or the uniqueness of the story itself.

Three come to mind. All were part of a series.

Watseka finishes third in state

NORMAL — The first set of Saturday’s Class 2A third-place match had an all-too-familiar feel for Watseka. The Warriors struggled against Dakota’s outside hitters in their semifinal loss and were in the same boat against Edwards County.

Cissna Park rallies for third place

NORMAL — Woodlawn’s Annie Wehrheim had 11 kills and a pair of aces by the time the Cardinals won the first set of Saturday’s Class 1A third-place match against Cissna Park.

The Timberwolves didn’t panic. They knew the 6-foot-1 middle hitter would be the focal point of Woodlawn’s attack.

Watseka proud of accomplishments

NORMAL — It wasn’t so much what Watseka did wrong. It was more about what Dakota did right.

“We had a hard time stopping their outside hitters,” Watseka coach Krista Pufahl said after the Warriors lost a Class 2A semifinal 25-21, 25-18 in their state volleyball tournament debut Friday at Illinois State’s Redbird Arena.