Girls Volleyball's March to State

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Eli Aronson The historic, 2018 Latin Girls Volleyball season came to an end just two weekends ago in the 3A state final four at Illinois State. In their semifinal game against Althoff Catholic High School, the team lost in two sets, 27-25, and 25-20, with eight Latin students riding the fan bus to cheer them on. The loss on Friday clinched their spot in the third-place game on Saturday. They went on to lose to Joliet Catholic Academy, a school almost double of Latin’s size, in two sets, 25-13, and 25-22. Although a fourth-place finish isn’t what they set their sights on, it was Latin Volleyball’s highest finish in 3A, in only their second season at the level. But it was more than just the thirty wins this season that made this team so special; the team was an extremely tight-knit group. “I’ve never been on a team that was as close as this one,” said senior Isa Lostaglio, who has been playing volleyball for the last seven years. “Our bond helped to establish a trust between all of us, both on and off the court, which played a huge role in the success we had this season.” They bonded through added team weight-lifting sessions, making practice more competitive, and hanging out as a team both on and off the volleyball court. Besides the amount of talent they had, their willingness to work as one unit were reflected in their successes on the court. The team knew that moving up a division—from 2A to 3A—and making it to state was going to be a tough challenge. However, this senior class had seen many tough games during their tenure. In fact, the team they fell to in the semifinal game this year—Althoff Catholic High School—was the same one they lost to during their 2016 state semifinal game. This senior class won more games than any previous class, led by their captains Charlotte Cronister, Kelsey Watkins, and Julia Kinder, all four-year Varsity players. “This team has definitely been my favorite team to play with over my career,” said Northwestern signee Charlotte Cronister. “Looking back at my career, this was the only team that could do all this.” A four-year starter on the Latin varsity team, Charlotte stressed the importance of this Latin program to her personal success, “I will always cherish going down state twice, and these competitive experiences have shaped me into the volleyball player I am today. I would not be able to play at the next level without all my coaches and teammates here.” Kelsey Watkins will be joining Charlotte at the Division One level next year when she plays at Furman. Next year the team will return nine of their sixteen players, including sophomore Ava Tortorello, who is especially grateful for all seven seniors this year: “I think each senior taught me either something about volleyball or life” she said. “The overall [lesson] I learned from all of them was the concept of teamwork, and how to all stick together even when times get tough.”  Ava thinks it will be a tough transition to move on without all the seniors, but she knows it is “a challenge the rest of the team is ready for.” Congratulations to the team this year, the community is rooting for all of the graduating seniors. Go Romans!]]>