After getting a taste of what it was like to be elite last season, the Riverdale volleyball team wanted to truly be elite in its own right in 2012.|
And right there to lead the way for the Rams was senior setter Hannah Nimrick, The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus Area Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Hot on the heels of 2011's run to the Class 2A super-sectionals, Nimrick's 699 assists, 137 kills, 219 digs and 51 service aces helped enable Riverdale to a 34-4 record and the realization of its goal -- a trip to the state tournament in Normal, where the Rams captured third place, their first state volleyball trophy.
"We did set the bar higher," said Nimrick, "and I hope the younger kids see what we did, that even though we're a small community, we can do all kinds of big things, and I hope that gets them to come out for volleyball, to want to work hard and try and be like our team."
After 2011's finish, was state the ultimate goal?
"Yes. After making the Elite Eight last year, this year's seniors had such high expectations; we wouldn't be happy unless we surpassed what we did last year. Our juniors also took on that challenge, made it their No. 1 goal, and performed really well."
"Beating Orion in the sectional finals, because they'd beaten us once before. That was our No. 1 goal, to go out and play our game. We knew if we did that, we could beat them. Of course, there's also making state and playing at (Redbird Arena) with all our fans there."
"I don't think so. Everything the team and myself set as goals, we definitely accomplished. You always think about (losing in the state semifinals) and how that could've been us in the state finals, but we got past that after one day of feeling sorry for ourselves."
What will you miss the most about this team?
"I'll definitely miss Lisa (head coach Lisa Black). My freshman year, I couldn't wait to get up to the varsity and have her as my coach. She connects so well as a coach, and with me being one of her captains, I had more of an emotional connection with her. I'll also miss my senior girls, whom I've been with since 7th grade."
"I'm definitely looking into a lot of colleges; I know I want to play volleyball. Elmhurst and Western Illinois (where ex-Ram Mallory Gibson plays) are probably my top 2 right now. They're both great schools. I hope to decide by the end of basketball season, or earlier, and I want to major in secondary education."
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