36th News-Gazette All-State volleyball team


N-G All-State Player of the Year: Niego's on the grand stage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Charley Niego spent the end of last week in the epicenter of all things volleyball.

At least for a few days.

The big draw, of course, was the Final Four of the NCAA tournament — particularly with eventual champions Nebraska involved. The 'Huskers can draw a crowd in the Midwest.

Prep pulse: Centennial's Hall of Fame

Each Monday ahead of a new week of high school sports, preps coordinator COLIN LIKAS checks in with the latest from the local scene:

Top of the Morning, Dec. 16, 2017

On Saturdays, we'll introduce additions to the growing newsroom at News-Gazette Media. Today: Prep sports coordinator Colin Likas.

COLIN LIKAS spent three years helping design and edit our nationally recognized sports section. But his goal out of Butler University was to write, calling it "a passion of mine."

On campus: Dec. 9

Three area athletes were recently honored by the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in their respective sports.

Final prep volleyball stats


Player, School Kills Avg.

Emily Duis, Milford 446 6.28

Savannah Matthews, M-S 392 4.90

Kennedy Bauer, Watseka 376 4.82

Gabby Wessels, Cissna Park 331 4.47

Maddy Hopkins, Blue Ridge 330 4.40

Alison Smith, Tri-County 355 4.28

Karli Dean, Tuscola 173 4.02

Riley Kinney, Westville 215 3.98

Tragedy into triumph: STM's Mica Allison set up for success

WHITE HEATH — St. Thomas More senior Mica Allison sat in her family's living room one evening in mid-May, put her head in her hands, and bawled, tears of joy and sadness spilling out uncontrollably.

Coach of the Year: St. Thomas More's Stan Bergman

Why he's Coach of the Year: After finishing the regular season with just three losses, Bergman's Sabers didn't lose again, with STM winning a Class 2A state title in Bergman's third season in charge of the program.

Season Highlight: Winning the 2A state volleyball championship

40th News-Gazette All-area volleyball: The complete team

All-Area First Team


Mica Allison Sr. S/OH St. Thomas More

Kennedy Bauer Jr. OH Watseka

Abbi Burnett Sr. OH St. Joseph-Ogden

Emily Duis Sr. OH Milford

Brenna Durst Sr. OH Oakwood

Rylee Hinton Jr. MB Champaign Central

Savannah Matthews Jr. OH Mahomet-Seymour

40th News-Gazette All-Conference, All-County volleyball teams


First Team

SENIORS — Peyton Jackson (Taylorville); Ashlyn MacDonald (Mattoon)

JUNIORS — Dayna Kennedy (Mount Zion); Savannah Matthews (Mahomet-Seymour); Reagan Morrison (Taylor Morrison); Ali Vaughn (Mount Zion)