It was 1983 when Nancy Lill won her first IHSA varsity match as a coach.
Twenty eight seasons later, the leader of Hersey's girls volleyball program is approaching 800 wins, a plateau only five others have reached in Illinois girls volleyball.
“I blinked,” Lill said of how fast the time has gone.
Time goes fast when you're having fun.
“People will say, 'When are you going to quit?' ” said Lill, who will go for No. 800 today at 6 p.m. at Buffalo Grove when her powerful Huskies try to win their 46th consecutive Mid-Suburban League match. “But it never gets old. It's so much fun. I love it.”
And the Huskies love playing for Lill.
“Coach Lill is a great coach and has been able to reach a remarkable 800 wins because she has a love for the game so evident that it carries to each and every one of her players,” said Huskies senior setter Abby Fesl, whose sisters Megan and Annie were also all-area standouts for Lill. “These past four years playing for coach Lill has been a great experience. She has influenced so many players and being part of that legacy is an honor.”
Lill's overall record stands at 799-245, a nifty winning percentage of .765 that includes a second, third and fourth-place finish in three IHSA state finals, 21 regional titles, 8 sectional crowns and 6 supersectional wins, 16 MSL divisional titles and 8 overall.
“It's a fine accomplishment,” said senior Anna Mullen-Muhr, who is the Huskies' top attacker this season. “She is very supportive, knows how to coach and make players improve. And she keeps everything positive at the same time.”
Lill, who was the head girls coach at Wheeling for three seasons (68-35) before taking over at Hersey in 1988, takes all the wins in stride.
“That number (800) is just an indication of all the great athletes I've had all these years,” Lill said. “It's not something I ever dwell on. Maybe some day I will look back and say 'that was really cool' but when you're in the middle of a season you are focused on what your players are doing.”
Several of Lill's former players are coaching at the high school level. Lauren Dembkowski is an assistant for Lake Zurich. Kelly Moran is the head coach at Hinsdale Central. Annie Fesl is the head coach at Gordon Tech. Abby Willenborg directs the Vernon Hills program.
Lill is also the boys volleyball head coach at Hersey.
St. Viator girls volleyball coach Charlie Curtain and Prospect boys basketball coach John Camardella played for Lill.
Lill, of course, said she is thankful to all her assistant coaches over the years.
“Someday, maybe it will hit me,” she said about all the wins. ”Maybe I'll say 'that was really impressive' but you need to understand it's all the assistant coaches and athletes who are behind it.
“At a young age, I saw some coaches were into the won-loss records. I have always made it a point of keeping the focus on the team.”
And she would like to stay with her team for a while.
“It never gets old,” said Lill, who played for Riverside Brookfield High School and Illinois. “Every year is a new group of girls. It's a whole new challenge of youngsters to develop and bring to a new level.”
Elmhurst's Annie Duggan (Prospect) was named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin “Player of the Week.”
Duggan, a freshman from Arlington Heights, finished 3-1 at No. 1 singles and 3-1 at No. 2 doubles in four CCIW matches. She picked up singles wins against Carthage's Bari Reynolds (6-4, 6-1), North Central's Jenny Velasquez (6-0, 6-3) and Millikin's Cydney Boyd (6-0, 6-0). Duggan then teamed with Lauren Kuehn and picked up doubles wins
against North Central (8-4), Millikan (8-1) and Illinois Wesleyan (8-5).
Saint Xavier junior goalkeeper Kyle Held (Palatine) was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference “Defensive Player of the Week.”
Held was instrumental in a pair of shutout victories for the Cougars with a 3-0 win over Cornerstone (Mich.) and a 2-0 victory over Trinity International in the conference opener.
Held earned the weekly honor for the second time this season (first came on Aug. 27) after posting a pair of shutouts during the seven-day period.
He saved 6 shots total on the week. Four of the saves came against Cornerstone. Held's 2 shutouts give him a league-leading three on the season and the 10th of his collegiate career.
The Elk Grove feeder girls basketball program is holding tryouts for fifth-to-eighth grade girls who will attend Elk Grove High School. The dates are Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Elk Grove.
Registration on both dates is from 6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Any questions, contact Elk Grove girls basketball coach Kathie Swanson at email@example.com.
Ÿ The Prospect Junior Knights Boys and Girls Feeder Basketball programs will hold tryouts on Sunday, Oct. 14.
The girls program will field teams in fifth-through-eighth grade. The boys will field teams in sixth through eighth grade. For more information visit the website at www.juniorknights.com
Ÿ Rolling Meadows boys and girls feeder basketball tryouts are open to all interested players in the Rolling Meadows attendance area on Monday, Oct. 15 at Rolling Meadows High School. They are from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for fifth and sixth grade girls, and fifth, sixth and seventh grade boys, Times are 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. for seventh and eighth-grade girls and eighth grade boys. Contact Mike Grady at 630-971-2294 for any questions.
Michael Martin (Stevenson) was selected as the California Collegiate League's Most Valuable Player this summer and won the award for the top hitting prospect.
Playing for Team Vegas, Martin led the CCL in batting average (. 426), hits (60) and on-base percentage (. 509) and was second in runs (36), third in stolen bases (21) and fourth in slugging percentage (. 532).
Martin will be a sophomore at Harvard this spring. As a freshman in college, he batted in the leadoff spot and played center field. Martin hit .270 with 3 home runs and 12 stolen bases.
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