Burlington Central libero Allie O'Reilly said making her college choice became simple once she spent a sunny Tuesday in September on the bustling Illinois-Chicago campus.
"Like a two-foot putt," she said of the decision. "It was easy. When you know, you know."
A 17-year-old Elgin resident, O'Reilly gave her verbal commitment last Thursday to UIC coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. The senior chose the Flames over an offer from Wisconsin-Green Bay. She also had interest from Kent State. UIC is currently 6-14 overall, 1-4 in the Horizon League.
O'Reilly is a four-year varsity performer trained by Club Fusion since she was 12. Central's two-year captain finished her junior season with 578 digs, eclipsing Sam Bohne's single-season school record of 449.
O'Reilly already has 474 digs in her senior season. She recently surpassed Bohne's career digs record when she notched her 1,174th. She had 1,262 career digs entering Tuesday's match at Harvard.
College volleyball runs in the O'Reilly family. Allie's sister, Kaitlyn, is a sophomore setter at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Allie preferred to stay nearby.
"It's close enough that my family and friends can come watch me play, and there are some other Fusion girls on the team so it's exciting," she said. "I love the campus. It's the perfect size. The facilities are great and I really like all the coaches. UIC is great for health sciences, which is my intended area of study. And I get to go to school in the coolest city in the world."
"I'm very happy that she's found a place she's happy with and comfortable with," Burlington Central coach Marv Leavitt said. "It's an advantage for her and for all of us that it's someplace where her family and friends and coaches can come see her play."