Potters improved in season’s second half

Bryan Veginski

The Morton volleyball team finished strong under first-year head coach Michelle Hahn.

After a 2-13 start to the year, the Potters went 12-7-1 the rest of the way to post a 14-20-1 overall record in 2010.

Morton also rallied in the Mid-Illini Conference, winning seven of its last 10 matches to wind up 7-7, good for a fourth-place tie with Dunlap.

“I honestly was really pleased with it,” said Hahn of the season. “It was a little bit challenging learning a new school ... The girls were great and they helped me along. I still think we had improvements.”

The Potters were involved in a slew of close matches. They started winning more of those in the second half of the year.

“Make sure you continue to work hard and battle the whole game through,” Hahn said she told the girls.

The close loss to Limestone in the Class 3A Morton Regional semifinals was a contest that stood out for Hahn.

“They worked hard and tried the whole game through. They did at the last game what I asked them to do the whole season,” she said of the players.

The seniors exiting the program are: Heidi Schoenbein, Shelbi Ummel, Kathryn Hess, Kayla Gray, Courtney Boster and Allison Altenberger.

“We’ll surely miss the seniors that are leaving, but with who I have coming back, I’m excited,” Hahn said.

The Morton kills, assists, aces and digs leaders all are eligible to return.

In order to get over the top and win more of the coin-flip matchups, Hahn said the athletes need to work on the mental part of the game.

Sophomore Sarah Livingston led the Potters with a school-record 82 aces and 253 kills. She also was second with 198 digs.

Schoenbein topped Morton with 48 blocks and was No. 2 with 165 kills.

A pair of juniors, Kristin Hoecker and Janie Backs, also paced the team in a statistical category. Hoecker distributed 388 assists and Backs reached for 209 digs.

The Potters will be aided next year by having a coach in her second season, access to their main gym for the whole season and, they hope, fewer injuries.

“We overcame some of that in the end,” said Hahn.

The Morton tournament line-up is expected to remain the same with appearances at Edwardsville, Jacksonville, Moline and East Moline.

The Potters will be motivated in ’11 to post a winning record as they did throughout the previous decade and return to a position in the conference’s top three.