Brittani Tabbert has the fever.
She reached the pinnacle of her high school career in November and now she's sick of waiting to graduate, but she got a taste of the future on Tuesday as she committed to play volleyball at Lincoln Land College.
“I feel awesome,” Tabbert said. “I don't know, I'm just ready to start college and get out of high school.”
The senior outside hitter went where she never thought she'd go, in November. She was a key starter on the Stew-Stras volleyball team that finished second in Class 1A, ending the season on the game's biggest stage — Redbird Arena at Illinois State University in Normal.
“Nowadays, I think back and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, did we seriously go to state?'” Tabbert said. “I never thought that would ever happen, but I'm glad that's something we accomplished.”
The state volleyball run was the peak of Tabbert's high school career. It's hard to top, but Tabbert said she hopes to have similar success at the college level.
Tabbert is Stew-Stras head coach Ronda Schlechte's first college recruit, making Tuesday's signing ceremony all the more special.
Tuesday marked the end of a long recruiting process for Lincoln Land head coach Jim Dietz, who knew Tabbert since she was in junior high.
Tabbert led the Comets this season using her athleticism as an outside hitter, which Dietz said he recognized when he first saw her in as an eighth grader.
“I got to see Brittani play and said, 'Wow, that's somebody to keep watching,'” Dietz said.
Her kept in touch with his latest signee over the last four years, which made the recruitment process easier once he realized the Loggers needed an outside hitter.
“When you talk to somebody that long, you get comfortable with what they're capable of as a person,” Dietz said. “Her work ethic is what we're looking for in the program.”
It's a work ethic that Schlechte said she instilled in the team every day in practice this season and one that Tabbert showed over and over again.
“I always taught the girls they're never good enough, they still need to keep working,” Schlechte said. “I hope that carries over into college and she can play a big role out on the college court.”
Schlechte said it'll be important for Tabbert to recognized how much better the competition is in college. Colleges get the best from a crop of high school athletes, Schlechte said.
Tabbert played with the best this season, especially in the Class 1A state final four in Normal. Add the rigorous regular season schedule Schlechte assembled, Dietz said Tabbert has seen it all.
“She played in matches that matter this year, against good teams,” Dietz said. “They beat St. Anthony, they went to state, they beat the Kansas (Tri-County) team.”
It was an unbelievable ride for Tabbert's team and left her wanting more, in the future.
“I feel like I've accomplished something not many people get to accomplish,” Tabbert said. “It's something that motivates me to do a whole lot better.”
Courtney Schultz signs with Kaskaskia
The weather pushed it back five days, but Courtney Schultz finally put pen to paper and signed a letter of intent to play softball at Kaskaskia College next year.
The senior said she experience a range of emotions, from nerves to excitement, leading up to Tuesday's signing ceremony, but she's happy her immediate future is decided.
“It just feels like home (at Kaskaskia) and a lot of my friends are going there already,” Schultz said. “I'm excited to play and it's a good program.”
Kaskaskia head coach Torey Crowell said she's excited to add another player from the Cobras club team that Schultz plays on. There are three other former Cobras on the team.
Crowell said Schultz's ability on the field goes far beyond physical skills.
“She knows the game,” Crowell said. “She knows what the next play is going to be. You have to know when you can go to the next base. Courtney does that.”
Crowell said Schultz will primarily play at third base for Kaskaskia, which is right where Schultz said she wants to play.
“I'm going to work hard at it,” Schultz said. “I have a good arm from third to first.”
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brittani Tabbert has the fever.
Zerrusen reflects on 1K milestone, career
Josie Zerrusen used to be a handful for her Effingham coaches, but turned into a headache for opponents by the end her senior season.
Zerrusen, the only one of four Hearts seniors to reach 1,000 points in her career this season, was preoccupied with scoring points as a sophomore on a 20-10 team in 2012.
But the Hearts improved as Zerrusen matured, recording 54 wins in the last two seasons, including a school-record 28 this season and a regional championship. Zerrusen grew up by changing her attitude and refusing to take summers off.
All-NTC showdown set at sectionals
At least one area team will play Monday at Southern Illinois University for Super-Sectionals. Teutopolis is looking to make it two.
Tonight will mark the end of the road for either St. Anthony (22-10) or Dieterich (22-8), as the NTC rivals clash for the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship. A win would be Dieterich’s first-ever sectional crown, and it would be the first for St. Anthony since 2001.
Teutopolis (20-9) is looking to advance to the Super-Sectional round for the fourth-straight season and is playing for a sectional title for the fifth-straight year. The Wooden Shoes take on Greenville for the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional title.
Olney ends Effingham's season
Effingham battled offensive woes in waves this season and found ways to win almost 80 percent of the time, but not on Wednesday.
Olney, one of the Hearts' 20 victims this year, ended Effingham's season with a 35-32 win in the Salem Regional, surviving a poor shooting night as well.
Dieterich advances in convincing fashion
The Dieterich Movin' Maroons used a January loss to Patoka to motivate themselves Wednesday night at the Class 1A Red Hill Sectional.
It was more successful than they ever could have hoped for, as Dieterich stomped the Patoka Warriors 61-39 and advanced to Friday's sectional final against St. Anthony.
St. Anthony edges Oblong 72-69
BRIDGEPORT — A rare miss by Oblong’s Koert Mehler made the most noise.
Mehler heaved a 75-foot, full-court shot that barely rimmed out to send the game to overtime; instead, St. Anthony (22-10) survived 72-69 to advance to Friday’s Class 1A Red Hill Sectional championship.
Mette leads Wooden Shoes past Breese Central
Breese Central simply has to be getting sick of the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes.
Teutopolis moved to 4-1 in its last five games against Breese Central, and knocked out the Cougars at sectionals for the second straight year with a 63-40 win Tuesday night at the Class 2A Vandalia Sectional. If that wasn’t enough, the Lady Shoes ended Breese Central’s season in girls basketball last week as well.
Neoga's Romack heading to Lincoln Land
Neoga coach Ted Kerner praised his ace pitcher Tyler Romack's ability to read players and quickly learn their tendencies on the mound.
St. Anthony's Walsh commits to be a Cobra
Makayla Walsh made it official Friday afternoon, as the St. Anthony Bulldogs' shortstop signed to play softball at Parkland College next season.
Bulldogs, Shoes, Maroons set for Sectionals
St. Anthony knows what it’s like to play in close games and it’s paying off for the Bulldogs as they ride the momentum of a regional championship into today’s sectional game against Oblong.
Teutopolis takes third
Teutopolis was 1-2 this season when scoring 32 points or fewer heading into Saturday’s Class 2A third-place game.
But the Shoes were in a race to 30, staring at a 22-22 tie with four minutes left against Elmhurst Immaculate Conception Catholic, and were the first to get there.
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