Inducted 2008. Overcame One-Game Deficits in Semifinals, Finals to Win Class A State Championship.
After Quincy Notre Dame had won its last trophy in 1983, the volleyball program hadn’t been among the state’s elite for nearly 15 years before the 1998 team pulled off an improbable state title.
The Lady Raiders had a record of 46-66 in the three years before the 1998 season, and though the team had a 25-10 record entering the postseason, it had lost 5 of 9 matches during a stretch in October. However, QND steamrolled Carthage and Unity in the regional, blasted Roseville and Colchester in the sectional, then avenged a super-sectional defeat the year before by beating Mount Pulaski in the super-sectional at Athens.
Milledgeville entered the Class A state tournament in Normal with a 34-0 record, but the Lady Raiders pulled off a stunning 15-10, 15-17, 15-13 victory. Next was defending state champion Wheaton St. Francis, which drilled QND in the first game of the semifinal match 15-3. However, the Lady Raiders rallied to win the next game 15-12, then let a 10-0 lead in the third game turn into a 13-13 tie before Audra Frericks’ tip at the net and Jessica Stuckman’s 11th kill of the match ended a thrilling upset.
In the title match against Kansas, which had finished second the year before, QND again lost the first game badly, 15-2, but rebounded to win the next two games 15-7, 15-13. Stuckman, who had 20 kills in the title match, was a first-team all-tournament pick, and Beth Liesen, Kristie Kemner and Kelly Harman all were second-team choices.
Team members were, in numerical order, Haley Moss, Kristie Kemner, Jessie Freiburg, Beth Liesen, Erin Moulton, Stacey Stegeman, Jenny Arnold, Ashley Sparrow, Kelly Harman, Audra Frericks, Jessica Stuckman and Beth Zeidler. Bill Shinavier was the trainer, and Christina Havermale and Laura Lenane were the managers. The assistant coaches were Fred Jensen and Bill Starkey, and Rhonda Jensen was the head coach.
I would like for everyone to know that this was a very special group of young ladies. No one was selfish. They were a complete team the whole season. This team had all the characteristics that a state championship team must have to achieve that ultimate goal. We had five hitters who hit the ball really hard, quick defenders and one of the best setters in the state. Just a ton of athletic ability. We all got along, and everyone performed their role on the team to the best of their abilities. We had fun and smiled. They were a joy to watch. Thank you to the players for a really exciting and memorable season. It is a time that will never be forgotten. — Coach Rhonda Jensen