GALESBURG, Illinois - The 2021 volleyball season officially begins on September 1 as Knox heads to Eureka College. Head coach Pat Barry is entering his third year with the Prairie Fire.
“We are excited to be back in action,” said Barry. “We have a strong group of returning players and some exciting newcomers. We have been working hard these last few weeks to get ready for the season.”
The volleyball team will consist of 13 returners and five newcomers. The Prairie Fire will be led by a strong group of seniors in Katie Anderson (Zionsville, IN), Kaitlyn Haase (Kelso, WA), Catessa Duran (Albuquerque, NM), Sally Bessette (Antioch, IL), Autumn Schneider (Carmi, IL), and Maika Padilla (Albuquerque, NM). Other big returners for the Prairie Fire include juniors Kaitlyn Haase (Grants Pass, OR) and Thao Luong (Fremont, CA). Sophomores Ellie Courtemanche (Queen Creek, AZ), Olivia Hukel (Cape Girardeau, MO), Emma Curry (Abingdon, IL), Peyton Balfour (Raymore, MO), Maya McEwen (Sheldon, IL), and Loraya Rocha (Tucson, AZ) will also look to play their first full season.
Duran will be a player to watch this season after an exceptional season in 2019 placed her among the conference leaders in kills and blocks. Duran racked up 91 total blocks, just one off the Midwest Conference leaders. She also finished seventh in the league with 307 kills.
In 2019, the Prairie Fire ended their season 11-18 overall and 2-7 in conference. With the return of so many contributors, the volleyball team is looking forward to growing and bonding with each other as they continue to improve.