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Freeburg volleyball heads to state looking for school's 5th volleyball title

Volleyball is a big deal in Freeburg, and they could add yet another state title to the trophy case this weekend.

FREEBURG, Ill. — Volleyball is a big deal at Freeburg High School.

With four state titles (1979, 1982, 2008, 2009), Freeburg can boast one of the best programs in the Metro East. And in 2022, they're looking to add another one.

Freeburg will head to the state tournament in Normal to face Elmhurst Catholic in the state semifinals at Redbird Arena.

Although they have an impressive 33-7 record on the season, it hasn't always come easy this year.

"We've had a lot of injuries and setbacks this season and I've had girls who have stepped up in major roles to overcome those obstacles and their mindset. They haven't let anything rattle them," Freeburg head coach Brooke Kloess said. 

"As a coach you always stress to all of your teams the importance of teamwork and team chemistry, knowing your role and how important leadership is. This is a group that's talented and they grasp all those other concepts. And to have all those pieces has been what has resulted in a trip to state," Kloess said. 

"I like the faith we have in each other. I think a lot of times it's easy to get caught up in personal success... but we're never thinking about that," senior libero Kylie Kisgen said.

Kloess has been leading Freeburg for the past eight years and said this season has been the one they've been waiting for, knowing it was within their grasp.

"We've been good in those eight years, but we've just never been able to get over that hump in the postseason, and we've had a lot of disappointments in the postseason. And this is the time. We've had a strong season throughout, but we've gotten really hot in the postseason, and they're continuing the Freeburg powerhouse tradition in volleyball," Kloess said.

"Last year we lost our first round of postseason, so being able to transform this team and go to state has been a dream come true," Kisgen said.

And in Freeburg, this team has certainly captured the attention of the community.

There are volleyball watch parties at local bars and when the team arrived late from their super-sectional win, there was a crowd waiting in the rain to welcome them home.

"We've definitely felt the support of the community. We had back-to-back state titles in '08 and '09, so to have alumni and the community behind us has been really special to be a part of. I think that's half the reason we've been so successful. The town of Freeburg is like no other. We have support from everywhere," senior setter Ella Gagen said.

And while a state title is obviously the goal, there's already a lot to be proud of in Freeburg.

"I just don't want that pressure to be on them. Right now they're playing like they have nothing to lose, and they're always playing like it's their last match. Regardless of the outcome, we're going to be proud being in that final four, but obviously bringing home that state title is the goal," Kloess said.

"It would be a dream come true... I play two other sports, too and a big dream of mine has been to play in Redbird Arena. And to actually be able to get to do that, there's nothing like it," Gagen said.

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