Mixed emotions definitely were in play this past weekend in Cape Girardeau, as 14 Illini West Red traveled for the Gateway Regional Tournament. After the tragic and saddening loss of Sydney Irizarry, the girls knew that this weekend was going to be extra special – and as a club, we all made that happen. H2 teams all over wore the yellow ribbon with #15 on it in remembrance, and soon other clubs such as Smash 14 Black, High Performance, and TESL were also wearing ribbons along with us. We were all so appreciative of the support, and grateful to be apart of an organization as well as this sport where everyone is caring and considerate.
Moving on to the first day in Cape, the team went 2-1 for the morning, coming in second in their pool, sending them to the Bronze division. After an afternoon full of Lambert’s Cafe and seeing “The Miracle Season” as a team with 14 Illini Black, the girls came ready to play on Sunday. The first match was against Smash 14 Black, who had the ribbons in their hair in support of Sydney. After a long point-for-point game, we lost both games 25-21. No hard feelings were seen, though, and we took a picture together to show our clubs united in this difficult time. Next up, yet again, were the Gemini Titans, who also expressed their condolences and were very nice regarding the situation. After losing this game, the playing had come to an end for the weekend, but no one was upset. Sunday was some of the best volleyball that I have seen these girls play this whole season, and I am very proud of them, especially since we were down a setter and had to have Jena Holder step up to set all the way around. Sydney Sommer can also be seen in a photo being huge at the net, and Elena Schrof had a couple of great games on Saturday, with multiple kills. Overall, we did very great this weekend and are very excited for Kansas City this weekend.
This post is a lot longer than most, but this weekend was a long one – plus we will forever remember Sydney Irizarry. #15, you will be missed, but never forgotten; rest in peace sweetheart. We love you.