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Girls Volleyball program rallies for success and for each other

With the beginning of a new school year, a new volleyball season started for the girls volleyball team here at Sandburg. For some, it was the last year playing as a CSVB athlete, and for others, it was the first one of many to come.

Every season comes with its own challenges, but this year came with special challenges that required the whole CSVB community to come together. 

This year’s volleyball season was definitely like no other before. The varsity team finished this year with a 24-14 record. Both Coach Vales and Coach Krueger agreed that their most significant accomplishment was winning the conference championship for the first time since 2019. 

None of this could have been done without the dedicated coaches who helped the girls and guided them through this season. Unique challenges emerged, though, specifically related to Coach Vales’s diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Even under these circumstances, Coach Vales hasn’t stopped supporting his team. He was present during games, always gave great advice, and cheered on the teams with passion. 

A clearly dedicated coach, Vales remained supportive of his CSVB community. He says that for him the most enjoyable thing about coaching volleyball is “Watching the players improve from freshman year to senior year and watching them overcom[e] obstacles.”

Coach Krueger states that the news of Vales’s diagnosis definitely impacted the team and made this season different from others. She mentioned that “it brought the team together because the situation reminded us that we have to get our priorities straight, and realize there are sometimes more important things than volleyball.” 

The program supported Coach Vales throughout the whole season. Because the national color for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is lime green, The Varsity team wore green jerseys, and the rest of the program bought green shirts, including the parents. The money collected from the green shirts went to Coach Vales to support him during this tough time. The players also wore green shoelaces, ribbons, and socks during games to show their support. 

The players in green, supporting Coach Vales – Photo courtesy of @csvb_eagles on Instagram

In September, there was even a special home game dedicated to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Awareness in which the players and coaches showed their support by decorating the gyms and wearing green. 

Coach Vales shares that his favorite memory from the season was winning the conference championship for the first time since 2019, a testament to the success of the team this year. Other than winning the conference championship, Sandburg also became the regional champion for the 19th time in a row. He also shared that one of the biggest improvements he saw in the team this year was after a record of 9-9, the team won the next 15 games out of 18. 

The team celebrating after their Regionals win – Photo courtesy of @csvb_eagles on Instagram

Another accomplishment for the team was that multiple players earned all-state honorable mentions. Keira Fitzgerald, Elise Sterling, and Reilly Chausse, all earned Southwest Suburban Conference All-Conference recognitions, with Chausse also earning Player of the Year. Madi Mulhasuen earned an Honorable mention from the Chicago Tribune. 

Sterling and Chausse were also on the Southtown Girls Volleyball All-Area Team. Along with being on the Southtown Girls Volleyball All-Area Team and earning SWSC All-Conference, both Sterling and chausse will be playing on Division 1 volleyball teams next season as they leave Sandburg High School and go on to college. 

The school community is eagerly awaiting what the next CSVB girl’s volleyball season will hold. The Varsity team this year had 11 seniors who are graduating this school year, which leaves a lot of spots left to fill. Coach Vales states that his hopes for next season are “to improve quickly, as next season’s players will be really young.”

Coach Krueger echoes this push for new growth, stating that “The juniors will need to step up and fill the roles of the graduating seniors.”

Both coaches agreed that this season was very successful. Wins and awards demonstrate the success of the team on the court, but what lasts beyond the recognition is the notable bond that kept the whole CSVB community stronger together. 

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