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Volleyball Finishes the Season Strong

Article by: Jim Hunstein,
Eventually, even the most magical of rides has to come to an end. 
The Trailblazers volleyball team’s season ended with a 0-3 loss to top-ranked Parkland College in the Region 24 Final Four played at Lincoln College on Saturday, Nov. 7. The scores were 15-25, 17-25, 19-25. The loss leaves the Trailblazers tied with Illinois Central College for third place in the Region.  
“The team gave it their all,” said Head Coach Jim Hunstein.  “They gave their very best when we needed their very best. Against every other team we played, other than the number one team in the country, we win that match.”
Freshman outside hitter Brooke Hustedde (Trenton, Illinois) led the team with 10 kills, followed by sophomore outside hitter Emma Chiodini (St. Louis, Missouri) with nine. Freshman middle hitter Becca Bowlin (Dunlap, Illinois) added five kills, three blocks and an ace.
The Trailblazers finished the season with a 22-16 record, their best in many years. The 22 win totsal is higher than the total for the past two seasons combined, and the shutout on Saturday was only the seventh of the year. Six of those shutouts came against nationally ranked teams.
The team blanked 15 opponents over the course of the season. Four of those shutouts came against the JV teams of area four-year schools. They also beat two varsity teams from four-year schools.
“The way this team fights for every point is rally remarkable,” Hunstein said. “They play fearlessly and understand that making mistakes is part of learning and growing and getting better. A lot credit goes to our sophomores, who endured a rough season last year and helped inspire the rest to work that much harder, and it really paid off.”
The team scored a total of 313 service aces, which was ninth in the country. The average of 2.32 aces per set is ranked 15th.  Chiodini led the team with 66 aces, 19th in the country.
Other team leaders included Hustedde with 387 kills followed by freshman outside hitter Molly Stumpf (Alhambra, Illinois) with 301 kills. Freshman middle hitter Denae White (New Athens, Illinois) led all blockers with 107, followed closely by Bowlin with 100.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these remarkable women,” Hunstein said. “It’s an honor to coach them and a pleasure to watch them play.”