Hononegah boys’ volleyball and baseball made it to the playoffs


Hononegah Community High School

Hononegah boys’ volleyball and baseball teams closed out both of their seasons with near misses in the playoffs. Boys’ volleyball lost to Wheaton at the Elgin (Larkin) sectional finals 25-20 in the first match and 25-10 in the second. The baseball team lost their game in the Hampshire sectional quarterfinals against Hampshire, 1-3.

Hononegah’s boys volleyball team often gets overlooked as a less popular sport, and yet they perform better than many of those that get the attention. This year they got second in the NIC-10, going 13-3, and 24-12 overall. The team won 15 of their games with consecutive victories in the first 2 sets for a 2-0 final score each time. This totals to an approximate 41.67% shutout win rate. Hononegah came in second to Guliford in both conference and Rockford rankings. In their first playoff match, Hononegah crushed Belvidere North with 18 and 19-point differences in the first and second sets. The regional championship was a nail-biting game that ended with a 35-33 score in the final round. Hono took the first set by four points, 25-21, but Streamwood narrowly captured the second by only two points, pushing the match into an extended third set. Their season was cut short at the loss against Wheaton St. Francis in which the team was truly outplayed, losing by five points in set one and 15 in the second.

Coach Annie Curran and players all could see that this was a building season for Hononegah, so they are taking the loss lightly and with expectancy for next year.

In terms of individual skill, Hononegah had multiple players ranking in the top three in the NIC-10 and one at the state level. Junior Owen Rollinson placed 12th in Illinois for assists with an impressive total of 734 throughout the season. He also claimed first place in conference for assists and serving aces. Hononegah dominated the leaderboard for serving aces with ten players being in the top 36, three of which took up first, second and third place. Sophomore Jack Allen earned first place for kills with 269 and second for serving aces, only three short of taking Rollinson’s spot. Allen averaged 3.2 kills per set for the season, leading the team. Junior Will Dennison placed second for total blocks with 68 and third for kills. Another junior, Noah Duer ranked second for digs with 251 total, only 25 shy of the top spot. On the team leaderboards, junior Carter Freedlund proved himself as a solid player, taking second place for kills and digs per set in addition to taking third for serving aces and aces per set.

Despite the losses this year, the program still has one of the highest chances in the NIC-10 to reach a state title. Hononegah is still the only team in our conference to ever obtain a sectional championship. Last year the team’s stellar outside hitter, Braydon Savitski-Lynde graduated, which was a major blow to the team’s overall strength. Savitski-Lynde is a prime example of the talent that Hononegah produces. He was a conference MVP twice during his high school career and went All-State senior year. Through Hononegah’s already impressive boys volleyball program, Savitski-Lynde paved the way for future players, being the first ever NCAA Division I recruit.

It is safe to say that in the coming years, Hononegah will be paying more and more attention to this blossoming team as it grows into the best volleyball program in the NIC-10.

Varsity baseball also had a strong season going 17-1 in the NIC-10 and 24-7 overall. Their one conference loss was the first game against Boylan Catholic, 9-20; however, the team gained redemption two days later with an 8-1 victory. Their highest scoring game this season was a remarkable 24-0 win over Rockford East. Hononegah ended up placed third in the Rockford rankings. They won their fifth consecutive NIC-10 championship title this season. The team was neck and neck with Boylan for the majority of the season, vying for this spot.

Prior to the start of the 2024 season, sophomore Jackson Stahl, Hononegah’s star pitcher, sustained injuries that prevented him from pitching. He proved himself and his expertise on the mound as a freshman who managed to lead his team to a sectional title. Even getting onto varsity at his age was proof enough of Stahl’s skills; this year, third and first baseman as well as pitcher, Luke DeLeo was the only freshman who made the team. This group of young men did not let the loss get them down, though. Coach Matt Simpson was able to rally a total of 15 players able to pitch to fill Stahl’s absence.

It would appear as though they did all right when you realize that Hononegah amassed nine shutout games this season and eight additional games in which they only let one run get past them each time. With a notable six players going all conference and our head coach winning NIC-10 coach of the year, it was a great baseball season for Hononegah.

More News from Rockton
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified