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La Salle-Peru senior Jess Suarez (seated, center) announced she will play volleyball next year at Elmhurst College. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Dave and Lynda (seated), L-P coach Mark Haberkorn (standing, left) and L-P assistant Lynne Strand. NewsTribune photo/Kevin Chlum
La Salle-Peru’s Jess Suarez is accustomed to winning.
In three years on the L-P varsity volleyball team, Suarez helped the Lady Cavaliers to an 84-25 record and two regional championships.
Now she’s joining a winning college program.
Suarez announced Friday she will play volleyball for Elmhurst College.
Last season, the Bluejays went 33-8, won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament semifinals.
“I chose Elmhurst because they have a very strong volleyball program and coach in coach (Julie) Hall,” Suarez said. “All the girls are so nice and the campus is absolutely beautiful. My friend from volleyball at Illini Elite is going there, too. We’re really close, so everything fit together and it was perfect.”
As a senior, Suarez was fourth in the area in kills with 2.9 per set. She also was third in the area in points at 3.8 per set and led the team in aces with 0.5 per set. Suarez was a NewsTribune All-Area First-Team selection and a unanimous All-Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division pick.
“Jess really had a tremendous career at La Salle-Peru,” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said. “She was a very consistent player for us, a player who we knew if we needed a sideout or point, we could go to her.
“She is very coachable. She has great court awareness. I think that’s going to help her at the next level. She has a great passion for the game. She’s just an outstanding individual on and off the court. She’s always looking to get better. These are all things that will connect at the next level. Her skills will get better with the competition, the reps and the coaching.”
Suarez said she will play right-side hitter at Elmhurst like she did at L-P. She plans to study accounting.
“I’m really excited and I can’t wait for next year,” said Suarez, who chose Elmhurst over Millikin University and North Central College.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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