Lady Ghosts look to repeat as NCIC regional champs

Justin Miller

With their first regional win in school history last season, the Lady Grey Ghosts varsity volleyball team hopes the school’s second regional victory will be a back-to-backer.

On Tuesday, the varsity girl’s volleyball team began another exciting season as they played the East Peoria Raiders.

Last season, the Lady Ghosts finished 15-14 and went on to win their first regional by defeating Brimfield.

One of the key players in last year’s regional run was senior outside hitter Rachel Rutan, who went on to South Carolina Presbyterian College after graduation. 

She will be replaced this year by senior Megan O’Connell, junior Kelsey Brooke and sophomore Jessie Ely, all also outside hitters.

Another one of last year’s standout seniors was mid-hitter Morgan Seiler. She will be replaced by two juniors, Michelle O’Brien and Laci Peterson.

Also, last year’s star right outside hitter, Rachel Perez, has graduated and will be replaced by senior Morgan Harney.

IVC’s two senior setters for this year have been plagued with injuries already. 

Senior setter Kathleen Cook will miss the season with a knee injury, which she will undergo surgery for after the season.

Senior setter Tarin Geber is questionable for the year due to an offseason left shoulder surgery but is expected to be able to play at some point during the season.

The injured setters will be replaced by junior Amanda Wilson, who missed half of last year’s season with a broken finger, and junior Abby Velazquez.

IVC’s defense will get a large boost this year from defensive specialists Chelsy Stumbaugh and Mackenzie Cox, who are both seniors and who will both play back row exclusively.

The team should be a force to reckon with on both defense and offense, with the addition of the two defensive specialists and plenty of new faces stepping in to make up for the loss of last year's hitters.

“We are looking for another great season,” said fifth-year head coach Lisa Miller.  “We’re coming off of our first regional victory and would like to duplicate that.”

The Lady Ghosts’ next game is at 6 p.m. Thursday at Brimfield.