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updated: 2/26/2013 8:54 PM

Illinois 'felt right' to Kelsay

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  • St. Francis senior McKenna Kelsay committed to play volleyball at Illinois next season.

      St. Francis senior McKenna Kelsay committed to play volleyball at Illinois next season.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer


Bruce and Mary Kelsay are going to need to buy some two-toned shirts to keep up with their daughters' Big Ten affiliations.

Their middle daughter, St. Francis senior McKenna Kelsay, recently committed to the University of Illinois girls volleyball program. Older sister Kristen Kelsay, also a setter, has a year left at Michigan State.

McKenna doesn't have the date of the first Illinois-Michigan State match circled yet, but she can't wait for it.

"It's going to be really cool," Kelsay said. "The only time I ever played with Kristen was when I got pulled up freshman year for the state tournament. But against her, that will be really cool. I'm completely stoked."

Kelsay's college decision actually came down to Illinois and Michigan State.

"It would have been cool to play with her, but we only would have been together for a year," Kelsay said. "I didn't want to go to Michigan State just because of my sister. It was nothing negative about Michigan State. Illinois just felt right."

Illinois is getting a good one.

As a senior Kelsay was Suburban Christian Conference Player of the Year, all-tournament at the Effingham Crossroads Classic and a member of the Daily Herald All-Area team. She finished with 921 assists, 413 service points and 32 aces with just 3 service errors in leading St. Francis to the Class 3A championship.

Kelsay joins a young Illinois team coming off a 14-16 season, a year removed from advancing all the way to the NCAA championship match in the most successful year in program history.

Kelsay thinks she might major in education, following in her parents' footsteps. Bruce is the school psychologist and Mary teaches AP psychology at Addison Trail.

"Growing up, it's your goal to play in college, especially in a great conference like the Big Ten," Kelsay said. "I'm so looking forward to it. Everything I've worked for has come true. Illinois is a great program and I'm excited to be a part of it."

Kelsay is the second All-Area setter to commit to a Division I program recently. In January Benet senior Hannah Kaminsky committed to Southern Illinois.

Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96

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