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High School Highlights
n late September, University High School held a Homecoming gathering prior to its scheduled football game. Invitations went out to all alumni – including yours truly. The invite proclaimed that the event would also mark the 50th anniversary of the school’s move from Moulton Hall on the Illinois State University campus, where it had been since ISU founded it to its current home at the corner of Main and Gregory Streets.
But when I started doing a little research on the subject of the move, I discovered that the official date of the move was not in the fall of 1964, as fliers promoting the event lead alumni and friends to believe. Barbara Blunk, the former business teacher at the school and an avid participant at these gatherings, in addition to being a continuing supporter of the U-High Alumni Association, explained to me at the gathering that when she saw the mention of the anniversary of the move on the invitations, she was certain that monumental event came later in the school year.
She was right – the move actually took place over Christmas break 1964, with that era’s students first coming to the then-shiny and new facility in January 1965. That is where I want to pick up my story. At the homecoming function at Horton Field House, I went to the event, not just to catch up with old friends, but ask people who attended U-High back then about the experience of moving to the new location midway through the school year.
The Gregory Street building was so new, in fact, that when the staff completed the move and the kids began the spring semester, the site for the school auditorium, now known as Ruth A. Stroud Auditorium, was, literally, a muddy pit, Blunk explained. Assemblies were held at Capen Auditorium on ISU’s campus as a result.
Susan Bordner (maiden name Ingold), a U-High Class of ’67 member, remembers not all the kids were happy with the move. The kids had become accustomed to being on ISU’s campus. And Bordner added, girls of that era were encouraged to apply themselves in areas revolving around the home. There weren’t very many working women outside the home they could use for role models at that time.
“And girls didn’t have as many sports to be in like they do now,” Bordner added. She said her primary job as a teen was babysitting. “Kids nowadays have a lot more freedom than I had,” she said.
Ed Raydon attended U-High for four years, all while the school was housed at Moulton Hall. He graduated from U-High in 1960, explaining he believes going to school in one location as current U-High students do now puts current students at a disadvantage. He used the experience of his younger brother, Roger – a 1968 U-High grad – to make his point. Ed Raydon calls his time at the campus location “the on-campus high school experience.” He said he thinks current U-High students are missing out by not having such an experience.
High school students who attended at Moulton Hall actually went to other campus buildings for their high school classes, Ed Raydon recalled. “Being at a high school on a college campus gave us the freedom of a college campus,” he added. “We learned what it was like to intermingle with older students that were in college.” What’s more, he added, U-High Pioneers basketball games were played at Horton Field House, and until Hancock Stadium came along in 1962, football games were played at the south end of ISU’s main campus. School dances took place on the ground floor gym at Cook Hall.
“Today’s kids have no concept of what it’s like to have the freedom of a campus,” Ed Raydon said. “And they don’t intermingle with college students whereas we did. Because of that, we were a little more informed about the world, I think, than kids today.”
If Ed has one complaint about today’s generation, it’s probably one we who are older would share. He wishes the younger crowd would learn to do research using a library and rely less on Google or other search engines when seeking information.
“A junior in high school and a junior in college are a world apart,” Raydon said. “But if that high school junior talks to that junior in college, they can see where they’re headed after high school.” He said he doesn’t think that type of conversation happens often if at all, which he said he deplores.
On another subject, Susan Bordner’s family has a rare distinction of having four kids who, at some point in their lives, attended four separate high schools. Susan graduated from U-High in 1967. Her older brother, Patrick, attended what was once known as Holy Trinity High School (which years later become Bloomington Central Catholic), and later graduated from Normal Community High School in 1957. Her sister, Diana, graduated from NCHS three years ahead of Susan, while her kid brother, Jeff, graduated from Bloomington High School in 1981.
Finally, we all strive to get the story right, but no matter how hard we try, sometimes, we are bound to make mistakes. Well… I was made aware of a couple I made in a recent column about Rachel Marx, the homeschooled high school sophomore who is also the youngest person to take Art and Dance Courses at ISU.
Covering my eyes so as to hide my shame, here goes with the corrections: Rachel’s father, David, is an associate professor at ISU, not an instructor; and Rachel is better at sales than I am at counting, clearly, as she sold 2,033 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in 2012, not 1,500, as I had reported. You’ll excuse me now, but I think I see the ol’ editor, Mr. Pyne, coming by my desk with a wet noodle. I’m just glad I don’t do this that often.
Free Men’s Hoops Tickets Available for Reggie’s Kids Club Members
All Reggie’s Kids Club members are eligible to receive a free ticket to the Illinois State men’s basketball team’s Missouri Valley Conference opener versus Indiana State, Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
As an added bonus, Reggie’s Kids Club members are also invited to participate in a complimentary pregame party featuring caricature drawings by Joe McGuire, face painting by the Zoo Crew, other activities, and free Papa John’s pizza and a lunch bag to the first 100 members who RSVP.
To receive one men’s basketball ticket per Reggie’s Kids Club member, parents must return the ticket order form distributed earlier this month to the Illinois State Athletics Ticket Office by Friday, Dec. 19. To accommodate remaining family members, $5 upper bowl tickets can be added to the ticket redemption orders.
RSVP’s and orders must be placed by Dec. 19 to qualify for this offer. Anyone who did not receive the letter and ticket redemption form, but would like to redeem free ticket(s), is asked to contact Andrew Evans in ISU Athletics Marketing by calling (309) 438-3399.
Reggie’s Kids Club is free to join for kids 12 years old and younger. Members receive free admission to most home athletic events, a monthly newsletter and birthday cards from Reggie himself. Registration is available by visitingReggiesKidsClub.com or by calling (309) 438-3399.
Redbird Volleyball Report
Redbirds Rally Back First NCAA Tournament Win Since 1996
The Illinois State volleyball team rallied back from an 0-2 deficit to score its first win in the NCAA Tournament since 1996 on Thursday, Dec. 4th as the Redbirds took a 3-2 decision over Marquette at the UW Field House on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. The Redbirds won by scores of 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-13.
The win marked just the third NCAA Tournament victory in Illinois State volleyball history, and the program’s first away from Redbird Arena. The win also helped the Redbirds extend their school-record winning streak to 23 matches, which ranks as the second-longest active streak in Division I.
The Redbirds were propelled by a career night from Jaelyn Keene Thursday, as the freshman middle hitter recorded a career-high 19 kills. Eliza Smith, Stacey Niao and Ashley Rosch all reached double figures in kills as well, with 10, 11 and 12, respectively.
Kaitlyn Early dished out a match-high 52 assists while matching a career high with eight kills. Emily Orrick added a match-high 29 digs and career-best eight assists. Rosch set a new career high with 23 digs.
Marquette won a back-and-forth first set that featured 12 tied scores and six lead changes. The Golden Eagles took the lead for the final time, using a three-point run to go ahead, at 20-17. A kill from Rosch tied things up at 23-23 moments later, but Marquette scored the next two points to win the set.
The Golden Eagles never trailed in the second set. They used a 5-1 rally to break a 7-7 tie, and later used a six-point binge to pull away. The Redbirds never came closer than five points of the lead the rest of the way.
The Redbirds got one back in the third set. Marquette led by three points at 15-12 before ISU scored eight of the next nine points. Illinois State got to a set point on a kill from Annchara Montgomery and, after Marquette ran off four quick points, the Redbirds finished off the set on a Rosch kill.
ISU forced a fifth set with an impressive finish to the fourth set. With the score knotted up at 20-20, Smith and Keene provided key kills down the stretch to help the Redbirds even the match.
Marquette took control early in the fifth set, taking a 10-5 lead. The Redbirds scored the next six points, however, with timely kills coming from Niao and Smith. With the score tied up at 13-13, a kill from Niao gave the Redbirds a match point, and Rosch cashed it in with her 12th kill of the match.
Volleybirds’ Season Comes to an End in NCAA Second Round
The Illinois State volleyball team’s historic 2014 season came to an end Friday, December 5th in the NCAA Tournament’s second round as host Wisconsin scored a 3-0 win over the Redbirds at UW Field House. Wisconsin won by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-19.
Wisconsin, the No. 2 ranked team in the country and the No. 4 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, handed the Redbirds their only straight-set loss of the season on Friday, bringing an end to ISU’s school-record 23-match winning streak. Wisconsin, the 2013 national runner-up, also ended the Redbirds’ run of winning at least one set in 39-straight matches, which dated back to last season.
Illinois State’s Ashley Rosch and Stacey Niao led Illinois State (27-6) with eight kills apiece, while Kaitlyn Early dished out 32 assists and Emily Orrick racked up 21 digs. Eliza Smith added seven kills and a team-high three blocks.
Wisconsin (30-2) never trailed in the first set. Much was determined from the service line, as the Badgers registered three aces while the Redbirds committed four service errors. Eliza Smith kept the Redbirds in it with four kills in the set before the Badgers scored the final three points of the set to take an early lead in the match.
A much-closer second set featured five lead changes and eight tied scores. With the score tied at 12-12, Wisconsin ran off six straight points to take command. The Redbirds came back within four points at two separate junctures, but were not to recover from Wisconsin’s run as the hosts took a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin used a four-point run to claim a 13-10 lead midway through the third set. The Redbirds later used a four-point rally of their own to even the score, but Wisconsin finished the set on an 8-2 spree to win the match.
Wisconsin held advantages in service aces (5-0) and blocks (12-3) in Friday’s match. The Badgers hit .252, while ISU came in at .140.
The Badgers advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen and will play next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center.
The ISU loss brought an end to one of the most successful seasons in Illinois State history. The Redbirds set multiple school records for matches and sets won consecutively, will winning their first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles since 1997. The Redbirds won their third NCAA Tournament match in school history on Thursday, and the program’s first away from Redbird Arena.
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Redbird Football Report
Illinois State avenges lone loss, wins opening round playoff game against Northern Iowa 41-21
In a dominating performance, Illinois State quarterback Tre Roberson threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns to lead the No. 5 Redbirds (11-1, 7-1 MVFC) to a second-round playoff victory against Northern Iowa (9-5, 6-2 MVFC), 41-21, Saturday afternoon at Hancock Stadium. With ISU hosting its first home playoff game in 15 years, the win gave the school its first playoff victory since defeating Appalachian State in 2012.
After losing to the Panthers on November 1 at the UNI Dome, ISU got its revenge on the only team to defeat them this season. The Redbirds exploded out of the gate with a lightning-quick, 73-yard opening touchdown drive that ended with a 6-yard inside slant pass from Roberson to senior wide receiver Cameron Meredith.
On ISU’s second drive, a 28-yard back shoulder throw to freshman wide receiver Jon Marc-Anderson set up a 1-yard plunge from junior running back Marshaun Coprich for his 22nd touchdown of the year to put the Redbirds ahead, 14-0.
Coprich, the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year, reached the 100-yard plateau for a school-record 12th-consecutive 100-plus yard rushing performance. With his 148-yard game, he also earned the ISU single-season rushing yard record, passing Pierre Rembert’s previous record of 1,743 yards (2006).
The Redbirds scored again on its third drive of the game after a Roberson quarterback draw set the offense up at the 5-yard line. Roberson tossed another inside slant pass to Meredith from two yards out to complete a 15-play, 87 yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. Meredith’s second touchdown of the game gave him eight receiving touchdowns on the season, and the senior also surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fourth-straight game.
Senior placekicker Nick Aussieker’s would-be career long field goal attempt of 51 yards was partially blocked by Xavier Williams midway through the second quarter. The Redbirds drove the field in the last minute of the first half to set up another Aussieker attempt. He converted a 45-yard field goal as time expired, and ISU took a 24-0 lead into halftime.
The Panthers started Sawyer Kollmorgen at quarterback in the second half, and he drove UNI down the field for a touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter. After fumbling a read-option exchange, Kollmorgen scooped up the ball and plunged in from three yards out.
A 39-yard Aussieker field goal and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Roberson to senior tight end James O’Shaughnessy extended the Redbird lead, 34-7. But the Panthers would not go down without a fight, as they wasted no time on an 84-yard drive that took less than three minutes off the clock and ended in a Johnson rushing touchdown. The Panthers recovered an ISU fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and punched in a touchdown three plays later to cut the lead, 34-21.
It seemed as though Roberson and the Redbirds had regained control of the game, driving down to the UNI 29-yard line, but Roberson was hit as he was passing and lost another ISU fumble.
The Panthers were unable to capitalize on the ISU miscue and its final two drives stalled out on a failed fourth down conversion, and an interception by junior defensive end Teddy Corwin. Corwin, who was recruited to ISU as a tight end, now leads the team with three interceptions. The ISU defense was dominant until the fourth quarter, allowing only 127 yards through three quarters.
O’Shaughnessy hauled in a 36-yard pass for his second receiving touchdown of the game to conclude the scoring and put him over 100 yards on the day.
ISU will now play No. 4 Eastern Washington Sturday, Dec. 13 at 3:00 pm
ISU Heads To Eastern Washington For FCS Playoff Quarterfinals
Almost two years to the day, the Illinois State football team will travel to Cheney, Washington, for a NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoff quarterfinal game at Eastern Washington on Saturday, Dec. 13, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. CT.
ISU makes its return to the FCS quarterfinals and to “The Inferno” at Roos Field, where the Eagles defeated the Redbirds by a score of 51-35 in 2012, to put an end to ISU’s playoff run. Tickets for the game are on sale now, by ordering online at GoRedbirds.com/tickets or by calling the ISU Athletics Ticket Office at (309) 438-7748.
The fifth-seeded Redbirds (11-1, 7-1 MVFC) have advanced to the FCS quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history and second time in the last three seasons. ISU advanced to the round of eight, thanks to a dominant 41-21 win over Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Northern Iowa on Saturday at Hancock Stadium. Junior quarterback Tre Roberson threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers and Marshaun Coprich rushed for over 100 yards for the 12-consecutive game, to help the ‘Birds earn their first home playoff win since 1999.
Likewise, fourth-seeded Eastern Washington (11-2, 7-1 Big Sky) had to defeat a conference opponent to advance to the quarterfinals and host the Redbirds. The Eagles won the turnover battle, 3-1, against Montana, and turned a pair of Grizzly turnovers into 10 points in the second half. Walter Payton Award finalist Vernon Adams passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns and running back Quincy Forte rushed for 128 yards and a score to lead the Eagles offensively.
Saturday’s game can be heard live on WJBC 1230 AM, with Dick Luedke and Ted Schmitz on the call, and the game will be streamed live online via ESPN3.
Redbird Mens Basketball Report
McIntosh Leads ISU to 78-74 Win at UAB
Illinois State freshman MiKyle McIntosh scored a career-best 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and the ISU men’s basketball team held off UAB, 78-74, Sunday, December 7th at Bartow Arena.
The Redbirds (4-3) shot 54.4 percent from the field, while the Blazers (3-6) shot 50.9 percent. McIntosh, Daishon Knight and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell each reached double-figures, as the Redbirds never trailed en route to a victory in their first true road game of the season.
Illinois State built a seven-point advantage in the first five minutes, as Akoon-Purcell netted five quick points. A 10-2 run, including back-to-back dunks by Deontae Hawkins and Akoon-Purcell lifted the Redbirds in front, 22-9, at the 11:15 mark. UAB responded with a 10-0 run to pull within 22-19 on a 3-pointer by Robert Brown with 7:06 left in the first half.
Justin McCloud hit a 3-pointer to break ISU’s scoring drought at the 6:31 mark, and McIntosh banked in a jumper as ISU netted five-straight. The teams proceeded to exchange baskets, and the Redbirds held on for a 36-30 halftime advantage. Knight led Illinois State with 10 first-half points as the Redbirds shot 51.7 percent from the field and UAB shot 50.0 percent in the opening period.
After UAB scored the first basket of the second half, ISU went on a 6-2 run to take a 42-34 lead. The Blazers answered with a 7-2 run to narrow the Redbirds’ lead to 44-41 at the 15:52 mark. A fastbreak layup by Hakeem Baxter pulled UAB within 44-46 with 14:40 remaining. Five-straight points by McIntosh gave ISU a 51-45 advantage.
A 6-0 UAB run tied the game, 51-51, with 12:24 remaining. McIntosh answered with four-straight points to push ISU back in front, 55-51. In total, McIntosh scored 13-consecutive points. Two McIntosh free throws, a McCloud 3-pointer followed by a Reggie Lynch layup lifted ISU ahead, 64-56.
The Blazers cut Illinois State’s lead to 70-68 at the 3:47 mark with a 7-2 run. Back-to-back baskets by Akoon-Purcell and Knight increased ISU’s advantage to 74-68 with 2:22 remaining. UAB pulled within 74-73, and had the ball with less than a minute to play. However, the Redbirds held the Blazers without a field goal, and Tony Wills went 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final six seconds, as ISU held on for the 78-74 victory.
After returning to Normal for ISU’s final exams week, the Redbird will travel to DePaul Sunday, Dec. 14 for a 3 p.m. CT tipoff in a game televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
Four Earn All-Region Honors, Myers Named Region Coach of the Year
The Illinois State volleyball team landed four players on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-North Region team, while head coach Melissa Myers was named the North Region Coach of the Year, the AVCA announced Tuesday.
Kaitlyn Early, Emily Orrick and Jaelyn Keene were named all-region first-team selections, while Keene was additionally named the North Region Freshman of the Year. Junior Ashley Rosch was an all-region honorable mention selection.
The Illinois State volleyball team had a banner season this fall as the Redbirds won their first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles since 1997, and became just the third league team to post a perfect record during conference play. Illinois State also made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007 and won its first NCAA Tournament match since 1996. The Redbirds won 23-straight matches from Sept. 12 to Dec. 5, setting an Illinois State volleyball record.
Early, a senior from Wildwood, Missouri, was named both the MVC Player of the Year and Setter of the Year after Illinois State’s unblemished MVC campaign.
Orrick, a senior from Mackinaw, Illinois, was named the MVC Libero of the Year for the second-consecutive season. Orrick was a five-time MVC Defensive Player of the Week selection in 2014.
Keene, a freshman middle hitter from Jacksonville, Illinois, was a MVC First-Team All-Conference and All-Freshman Team selection. She ranked among the MVC leaders in multiple categories, including hitting percentage (.353), kills (364), aces (29) and blocks (127).
Rosch, a junior outside hitter from Fox River Grove, Illinois, was an MVC First-Team All-Conference selection for the third-straight year.
Myers, in her seventh season at the helm of the ISU volleyball team, guided the Redbirds in the record-setting season, and was named the MVC Coach of the Year. She coached the MVC Player of the Year, Setter of the Year and Libero of the Year, while a school-record four players earned first-team all-conference honors. The Redbirds set a school record with 39-straight matches in which the team won at least one set, dating back to 2013, and won a school-record 20-straight sets from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15.
All four players will be eligible for AVCA All-America honors, which will be announced Dec. 17
Redbird Women's Basketball Report
UT-Martin’s Balanced Attack Too Much for Lady Redbirds
The Illinois State women’s basketball team fell 79-46 to UT-Martin Sunday afternoon at Redbird Arena, dropping the Redbirds to 0-7 on the season.
Octavia Crump led the way for ISU, tallying a team-high 21 points. It’s the fourth time this season that Crump has finished in double-figures and the 17th time in her career. Colleene Smith also recorded double figures with 10 points. Crump and Smith combined to shoot 57 percent, while the Redbirds shot 34 percent as a team.
For the game, Illinois State shot 19-of-56 and were 0-of-11 from beyond the arc. ISU also struggled from the charity stripe, finishing 8-of-21. In contrast, UT-Martin buried 11-of-28 three point attempts and hit 16-of-22 free throws.
The Skyhawks held a slight advantage in rebounds (44-40) and points in the paint (26-24). UT-Martin moved the ball fluently on offense, assisting 17 of their 26 baskets while the Redbirds assisted seven of their 19.
The Skyhawks’ bench also tallied 32 points, and the team converted 21 points off of ISU’s 19 turnovers.
In the first half, Crump’s hot start of 5-of-5 from the field helped ISU to an early lead. During a UT-Martin 15-0 run, the Skyhawks nailed seven-straight shots while ISU went 0-8. The Redbirds led for the first seven minutes of the game, but a 15-0 run by UT-Martin gave the Skyhawks a lead that they would not relinquish.
The Redbirds snapped the run with a bucket by Stekara Hall, but turned the ball over three times within a minute allowing UT-Martin to stretch the lead to 11. The Skyhawks would lead by as much as 14 and went to the break with a 38-24 lead.
UT-Martin spread the wealth on offense with four players finishing in double figures. Katie Schubert led the Skyhawks with 18 points on six three-point field goals. Jessy Ward, Danielle Woolfolk and Monique Jackson also finished with double figures.
The Redbirds will have more than a week off before hosting Arizona State Dec. 16, at Redbird Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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