Girls Take Home 2nd at Panther Classic

On Saturday April 21, H2 Illinois 14 Black competed at the Panther Classic in Greenville Illinois. The morning was off to a very good start with taking second in their pool, defeating SI eclipse 14 Gold and Air Assault VBC AR but losing to Attack in 2 sets. After losing that match to Attack, they knew they wanted to play them again in the finals. When bracket play came around, the girls were dominating the court. You could tell their sights were set for the gold finals. Kloi Karban finally had her break through moment when she took the biggest, hardest, and fullest swing I had seen her take all season but then she kept doing it! Addison Rode was definitely a force to be reckoned with when it came to her running the slides. When it came to our back row, Lexie Hays and Kate Conway were making perfect passes constantly and diving everywhere, along with Maddie Vieth having the mentality of “no ball hits the floor”. With so many players on it and the girls’ hope for seeing their nemesis again, they were facing Attack once more. However, they just couldn’t get out of their heads and couldn’t stop overthinking who they were playing. Once I said, “stop worrying about them and who they are and what they are doing. We worry about us and how we play”, the girls really went back to who we are as a team. The girls may not have been able to take home first place, but I think the girls learned more about themselves more than anything and what really works for them. Throughout the entire tournament the girls were able to keep the opposing teams off balance and out of system with their aggressive serves. Also, due to the great passing our setters were able to get our hitters one-on-one attacks by moving the ball around and keeping the middles involved. I’m excited to see what this next weekend holds for the girls, especially with it being the last tournament for us. The girls have really shown some amazing improvements this season! Can’t wait to end strong!

H2 Illinois West 14 Black Finds What’s Been Missing

Last weekend at the Show Me Kansas City Qualifier April 13-15, the girls finally found what they have been missing for the last few weeks. After the roller coaster of emotions and loss the girls have felt the last few weeks, they finally found the cohesion they needed for the weekend. This weekend was one for the books! The girls knew this tournament was going to be one of the toughest they had seen all season. The last few weeks we seemed to have been missing something, we seemed to have been missing something more than just execution. On the first day, the girls couldn’t quite get passed the top team in our bracket which was coast. It wasn’t until something really switched the second day, the girls were playing more for each other instead of just for themselves. I don’t know if it was the team dinner we had the night before or the fact that all of the girls were hanging out with each other instead of breaking off into groups during breaks or at the end of the day. Whatever it was, it worked, I hadn’t really seen them play so much for each other than I did that day! The girls really together on their huddles and picked someone up when they started to get down on themselves. The Black team really played with the most passion I had seen all season against Memphis Sting. The girls were taking more swings and making demanding calls they normally wouldn’t have done during previous tournaments. Kate Conway and Maddie Vieth really led the front row when it came to swing while Kloi Karban and Addison Rode led the blocking in the front row. Allison Woolbright and Lexie Hays took over digs in the back row. Leah Kaburich made great timed dumps and Lilly Evans with her huge blocks and kills, both turned the tide in our favor. Rayna Hunter brought the heat the last day after we had a quick heart to heart. We may not have come out in the top tier of teams but I think we gained something much greater than wins. The girls finally found what it was truly like to be a team. The girls were working for every single point for their teammates, they wanted to win for each other. The girls really started to take control of the huddle and we started to see new leaders voicing their efforts to get the rest of the team going. Like I said before, this tournament may not have resulted in huge win but they found what they were truly looking for all season. I cant wait to see the girls to continue in this stride of teamwork next weekend in Greenville!

H2 Illinois West Black Back on Top

It’s been a few weeks since we have seen H2 Illinois west in the top of their tournament, but at the H2 Sports Under Armor #22 tournament on March 31, the girls took home the gold! The girls started the morning pool play off rather well with taking on H2 STL Crimson but lost a set to the 4th seed team and that was a wakeup call to the girls of how much better they could play. After a small break the girls came back to beat Team Momentum 13. The girls received a buy into the semi- finals which ended up being against H2 STl Crimson, the girls knew this particular match wasn’t going to be easy since they had already beat them, its hard to beat a good team more than once. However, the girls came out on top to be one of two teams in the finals. The team faced PLVC 141 for the championships and the girls wanted the Gold status for this tournament. The team was super aggressive and made sure balls were not going to drop on our side. Through out the whole day Addison Rodes was a monster at the net! She was super aggressive with overpasses and made sure she owned that front row. Maddie Vieth was another stand out for the weekend. Maddie was taking big swings and made smart decisions on where she hit. She took a full approach on secondary set balls that most would have tipped or free balled over! This was the most aggressive I had seen her all season. Wit a few of the girls having a stand or day the team started to learn to come together, whether winning or losing. After any point the girls came together to show support and team work, they saw the overall success that aspect of the game brought to the team. We’ve been striving for this attitude all season, that win or lose we did it together. This lesson came at an opportune time. Next week the girls head to Regionals and the next week is the Show Me National Qualifier. I cant wait to see what the next two weekends have to hold for these girls and I’m excited to see how they will respond to some top teams!


The H2 Illinois West Black team took home third place at the March Madness tournament. The tournament took place on March 4th at the TESL center. The girls started the day stronger than we normally have been by making great plays and lining up well on blocks! The girls were ready and extra awake since it has now become our morning ritual to play our favorite game, “knee pad tag”. The girls won the first two matches but split the last game against MOVA in sets. However, the girls were ready to go when they knew they had MOVA in their last pool play, we lost to them once and we were sure they weren’t going to lose again. By beating them in overall points we were seated first in the bracket play. Addison Rodes was our leading player in swings and even touch blocks. With having Addison in the middle she was closing to the outsides really well and getting touches to slow down the ball for our backrow to get great passes! While Addison was slowing down the balls, Allison Woolbright was making plays we hadn’t seen her make all season. Not only was she being a great Libero, she earned Libero especially with the hard work she has been showing the last few weeks at practice! The girls were giving some perfect passes to our setters to set! In the first round of bracket, the girls just couldn’t get balls to go their way. They were making great plays but couldn’t put runs together against Rockwood thunder. I’m very excited to see how the rest of the season goes!

H2 continues to move up in National Ranking while rising to the challenge playing in Premiere Division

On the weekend of February 17- 19th, H2 14 Illinois West Black participated in the Presidents day tournament that was located at the Saint Louis Convention Center. This particular tournament was the first 3-day tournament the girl had participated in this season. For this being the longest tournament, the girls played amazing and showed some true determination! The first day, the girls started a little slow with going 1-2 for the day. However, the second and last day, the girls brought their true A game. After Lili had an off day Saturday, she went home and watched some film before coming back with a vengeance and hitting more consistent than we had seen all season. The whole weekend though, Kate Conway really led the team with her hitting and her constant effort and sure no ball dropped without throwing her body on the ground! Both setters were making great decisions on who to set and we became more balanced than we had been most the season. Allison Woolbright had many serving runs along with Kloi. On Sunday, the finals of copper was the toughest team the girls had seen all weekend. The girls fought tooth and nail for every point in that last match but ended up losing to a very good team. However, Kloi Karban made sure to block their hitters a couple times before the game was over! The determination that the team showed this past weekend has myself excited for what the future weekends hold for the girls.

H2 Illinois West Black Plays Huge Game, Complimented by Coaches at Tournament

Sunday January 21st the H2 Illinois Black team participated in the Stratman Sports Series. The girls finished the morning pool games with 2-1 record. The morning started off a little slow with dropping the first match against MOVA but took some time during the break to regain their focus and grit. The girls rallied the rest of pool play to come out second behind MOVA 14 Black. The first match in bracket play was going to be a tough match and the girls knew that. The first bracket game was against NSSC 141 and their team was by far the heaviest hitters we had seen all season this far. After seeing the warm up of NSSC the girls came out swinging and didn’t back down against this team. These girls were making digs, saves, kills and huge blocks that hadn’t been seen yet this season yet. Kate Conway was moved earlier in the day to outside to see if she could help bring the power hitting, and boy did she bring the heat! Both Kate and Rayna Hunter were making plays and shots we hadn’t really seen yet this season. The front row was more aggressive with overpasses and made sure the balls were put down! All the girls were taking strategy calls and using them from both coaches as well as the bench! The back row was making more digs and killer saves. That game, they really lived by the phase, “no ball drops”. Lexi Hays really lived by this, she was all over the court putting up great passes to get us in system. These girls set an all new standard for the way they should be playing and yes we lost but we gained so much more from that game! These girls never gave up and made the match close, within just a few points. After the game I was approached by other coaches that just couldn’t stop watching. The girls were praised for the defense and great play. I could not be more proud for the way these girls responded, especially to this last team. Ready to see these girls fight like this in the next tournament!


H2 Illinois West Black’s Grit Gets Them to Semis in Gold

On January 14th at the H2 sports Under Armor #7 tournament, taking place at Forest Park Community College, the girls started off strong with taking the lead in pool play with 3-0 in matches. The girls had a great start to the day with their constant talking and energy. The girls of course took some time for team cuddles in between the first two games of pool play, and came back ready to win more. The girls faced the day against Top Notch 14U Black then SLVVC 14 Pink. The girls continued to rally together to beat two MOVA teams back to back! While playing MOVA 14U Gold in the first round of the gold bracket, the girls had the most energy and excitement I had seen all weekend! The girls were extra hyped when Koi had a huge stuff block on their middle. Our front row was on their game. With Lilli and Kloi being a huge force to be reckoned with in the front row, which led our back row to feed off their energy and start making phenomenal plays and saves. However, the girls fell short in the semifinals with the girls finishing 3rd over all. With playing two tough teams almost back to back, the girls came up short in the next match against the number one team. I’m still so proud of these girls and their grit they showed in never giving up. We may have missed the gold medal this past weekend but I’m looking forward to what this weekend will hold for these girls!