Women’s Club Volleyball Places 2nd in Tournament


Photograph courtesy of Isabella Sgro

Women’s Club Volleyball team

The UIS Women’s Club Volleyball team hosted the Midwest Plains Volleyball Conference’s East Regional on Saturday, March 3rd at TRAC on the UIS campus. The club team was offered the chance to host the tournament and bring ten teams from Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois to play. This was the first tournament hosted by the UIS women’s club team, and the UIS club team was able to secure their first win in the club’s history. The tournament was divided into three brackets: Gold, silver, and bronze. The UIS club team finished the tournament in 2nd place in the silver division.
Isabella Sgro, a sophomore business administration major, spoke of the tournament putting UIS on the map. Sgro is from Springfield and has seen UIS grow over the years; however, she hopes to see the event bring even more students to the university. Sgro believes that the tournament has opened some doors for the club team because the tournament coincided with a preview day for prospective students. This is the second year that Sgro has played in the setter’s position for the club team and her first year as the club’s Secretary. She has been able to see the growth over the past two years and wishes to see even more wins in the future at the MPVC Championship on April 7th and 8th at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Aileana Rawlins, a junior biology/pre-med major from Beardstown, Illinois, came to UIS as a commuter and transfer student in the fall of 2017. Rawlins has enjoyed her time playing on the team and hopes to see it continue to grow. The club team has given her the opportunity to connect with student life and participate in a sport she loves. Rawlins believes that holding the tournament helped the team prepare for future competitions. She is hopeful that the team gets to attend the National Championship Tournament held by the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation in the spring of 2019. The national championship has teams from all over the country competing for the title of National Champion.
Kelsey Fitzgerald, a sophomore nursing major, has played on the team for two years as an outside hitter. She is also the current Vice President for the club team. Fitzgerald enjoyed the competitiveness of the tournament and hopes to go into the regional championship ready and prepared for competition. Fitzgerald added, “I thought our defense went well during the tournament. We were getting a lot of digs… We still have small things to work on such as communication, blocking, and knowing what to do with the ball when things get out of order, but overall our first tournament went very well for the team.” She enjoys playing because it keeps her in shape and lets her continue her volleyball career. She played competitively throughout her years at Lanphier High School in Springfield and wants to end her volleyball career on a good note before she heads to St. John’s College of Nursing in the fall. Fitzgerald saw the tournament as an opportunity for the team, campus, and community.
Freshman Randi Hirschel, a Lake Zurich native, came to UIS eager to play volleyball. She enjoyed the high energy of each team during the games, especially her own. The UIS club team stayed cheering even through some losses. The high energy helped them win against a higher ranked team and put them into the silver division championship. Hirschel enjoys the opportunity to be a part of a team. She said that “prospective students could see that even if there isn’t a chance to be on a collegiate level there are still opportunities to be in something… Being a part of something makes you feel good.” She sees the club team as a positive alternative for students who wish to play volleyball competitively.