Sydney Doby Harvest Christian Academy
A repeat All-Area selection, this senior outside hitter is a scoring machine. The 6-foot-2 Grand Valley State recruit entered regional play with an area-best 365 kills in 673 attacks (54.2 kill percentage) with only 70 errors. She jump-served her way to 92 aces in 353 attempts with only 19 errors (94.6 percent). In a demonstration of her all-around ability, Doby leads her team in digs by a wide margin with 330. She also has 27 blocks, 15 assists and made only 29 errors in 254 serve-receive attempts. "She has had a phenomenal year on the court," Harvest Christian coach Kim Floyd said. "And she's helped by taking some younger players under her wing and mentoring and teaching them. She's a true leader."
Makenna Jensen Burlington Central
One of the strongest middle hitters in the area, Jensen punished the ball with regularity for the Big Northern East co-champs. Entering Class 3A regional play, the 5-foot-10 senior led her team with 225 kills and a .237 attack percentage. She had 59 more kills than her next closest teammate. Jensen also had 55 solo blocks, 64 assisted blocks, 48 digs and 16 aces in 130 service attempts. "She has been a consistent force for us all year long," Cental coach Marv Leavitt said. "She gives up two to four inches against the opposing middle every night, yet she is able to run every play there is. She's a powerful hitter but she's also smart. She knows when to tip or pound the ball."
Kassie Kasper Jacobs
Already a seasoned veteran in her third varsity season, this junior libero was a steadying defensive force for a team that had only one senior on the roster. One of the top passers in the Fox Valley Conference, Kasper finished the season with a 2.20 passer rating and 321 digs. She also contributed 52 aces. "She did such a great job for us all season," Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer said. "There isn't a ball she can't get to and she really developed into a leader for this team. She's a fantastic teammate and we're glad to have her back for another year."
Olivia Kofie Larkin
A four-year varsity performer and a two-time Larkin captain, this senior was the dominant force for a team that won 17 matches. An outside hitter with a quick first step, the Western Michigan recruit led the Royals with a career-best 305 kills despite regularly facing double blocks. She also registered a career-high 196 digs to go with 35 blocks, 159 serves received and 27 assists. Named honorary captain of the All-Area team, Kofie was just as instrumental as the leader of a team that featured two freshmen and a sophomore middle. "Olivia was our vocal and emotional leader," Larkin coach Henry Graack said. "She really improved defensively even from the beginning of the season until the end. Leaps and bounds better than last year."
Brittany Laffin Hampshire
This 5-foot-6 setter excelled in multiple areas in her third varsity season. Athletic enough to set a block in a 5-1 offense, she entered regional play this week with 512 assists in 1,582 ballhandling attempts with only 53 errors. The senior jump-served 29 aces in 217 attempts, winning 61 service points. An all-around performer, she contributed 123 digs and put down 30 kills in 129 attacks while making only 11 errors. "She's been solid in every single game," Hampshire coach Andy Lindley said. "She's one of the hardest workers on our team."
Carly Nolan Crystal Lake South
This athletic junior is one of the most talented all-around players in the area. Standing 6 feet tall, the outside hitter has used her powerful swing and volleyball savvy to notch 313 kills heading into the Class 4A Dundee-Crown regional title match. She also has amassed 32 blocks, 228 digs and 48 aces. "She has the smarts to play the game well," CL South coach Jorie Fontana said. "Tell her to hit to a spot and she'll want to know the background and philosophy behind it. She's a mental rock, always the same, confident player. You can always go to her when a game is close because she wants to finish."
Ashley Oandasan South Elgin
This senior has been South Elgin's model of consistency for four varsity seasons, having never missed a match. Her consistency is a big reason why the Storm enjoyed back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history. "She came in as a freshman with the maturity of a senior and has been a leader ever since," South Elgin coach Joni Plach said. Named academic all-conference along with all eight of her teammates, Oandasan entered regional play with 153 kills, 211 digs and 32 aces.
Allie O'Reilly Burlington Central
This 5-foot-6 libero etched her name in the school record book. She broke Central's single-season digs record for the second straight year, topping her own mark of a year ago by 43, and became the school's career digs leader at midseason. O'Reilly entered regional play this week with 621 digs and led the Rockets with a 2.20 passer rating. "She is probably one of the best passers I've been around and I've been doing this for 24 years," Central coach Marv Leavitt said. "She is a dynamic leader on the court that reads everything. She is one of those positive, upbeat players who makes the team better." An Illinois-Chicago recruit, O'Reilly has 31 aces in 283 service attempts (11 percent), 144 service points, 36 assists and 8 kills.
Meghan Seymour Cary-Grove
Cary-Grove's senior setter helped a young team win 21 matches and continually improve. Seymour entered regional semifinal play with 783 assists, 84 kills, 107 blocks, 46 aces and 180 digs, but the Northern Michigan recruit's leadership was perhaps her most valuable asset. "We've have had some great leaders through the years at Cary-Grove and she undoubtedly has to be the most dedicated leader I've had the joy to coach," Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis said. "She sacrificed everything to make sure this team is as best prepared as it can be. What she does on the court is fantastic, but what I've seen her do off the court is unmatched in my coaching experience."
Rachel Shores Huntley
This senior kept the Red Raiders in system with her superior digging and passing. The 5-foot-5 libero entered regional play this week with 360 digs and only 51 errors. She made just 31 errors in 338 serves receptions. Shores scored 156 service points, 19 of them via aces, and added 28 assists in 136 sets. "She has done a great job running our defense and pacing our defense," Huntley coach Karen Liss said. "She can get to most any ball because she reads the hitters so well. She gets to everything."
Cassy Sivesind Crystal Lake South
This 5-foot-11 junior took over as Crystal Lake South's setter and kept the offense unpredictable throughout its run to the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division championship. Sivesind entered Thursday's regional title match with 773 assists, 23 blocks, 83 digs and 19 aces. "She is such a natural setter with such a natural ability to move around the court," CL South coach Jorie Fontana said. "She really stepped up her defense this year. Offensively, our powerful hitters can be demanding of her, but she handles all the constructive criticism, praise and emotion that goes into it with grace."
Nicole Slimko Crystal Lake South
This senior middle hitter is a key player on a team that had 33 victories entering Thursday's regional championship match. Through Tuesday, the 6-footer had 200 kills, 73 blocks, 96 digs and 34 aces. Committed to Bowling Green, Slimko's bursts can surprise even her own team. "She'll go under the radar and then she unleashes a kill that gets all of us in shock," CL South coach Jorie Fontana said. "She has really expanded her game on defense and serve-receive, which has made her a better all-around player. She does a great job closing her block and covering the middle."
Brianna Stewart Larkin
This senior battled knee tendinitis all season yet still managed to make significant contributions while playing the right side. A repeat All-Area selection, the 5-foot-11 veteran used her combination of strength and court savvy to register 252 kills, only 8 fewer than last season despite missing 5 sets due to injury. Stewart finished with team highs in blocks (51) and digs (197), received 332 serves, served 27 aces and made 77 assists. "She didn't get up as high on blocks this year but she was still so effective," Larkin coach Henry Graack said. "She's so consistent. You can always count on her to do what she needs to do. She wanted to be on the court to lead the team."
Katie Swanson St. Edward
This outside hitter's third varsity season was her finest. The repeat All-Area selection led the Green Wave with 182 kills and 245 digs. The 5-foot-11 senior also notched 37 aces and finished with a 2.40 passer rating. The multisport athlete finished her varsity volleyball career with 612 kills and 640 digs. "This was her best season," St. Edward coach Jaime Walton said. "Katie really stepped up her game as a senior leader, and her back-row play was awesome this year. I could really count on her being an all-around player."