Kelsey Augustine?s volleyball career at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville got a rough start.
?My nerves were so bad as a freshman, and I was sick with strep throat the first two weeks,? said Augustine (Geneva). ?Fortunately for me, it went away very quickly.?
Also fortunate was SIU-Edwardsville.
Augustine posted 137 kills and a .193 hitting percentage as a freshman.
It only got better. In each of the following three seasons, the 6-0 middle blocker had 260 or more kills. She also hit .242 or better in each of those seasons.
?When I would make a kill, I would try to find the slowest player on the other team,? said Augustine.
?The time commitment is something that has to be experienced. You don?t understand it until you are living it. To play Division I volleyball, you have to love it.?
As a senior, she finished with 328 kills and a .281 hitting percentage. She also had 95 blocks (16 solos), 87 digs, 12 aces and four assists.
SIUE (14-18) finished 8-8 in the Ohio Valley Conference and earned a trip to the conference tournament. The Cougars, who started the tournament ranked seventh, advanced all the way to the title match against Morehead State, where they lost 3-0.
?Getting upset wins over Belmont and Eastern Kentucky was really special,? said Augustine, who earned all-tournament honors. ?We earned a ton of respect because of how we played in that tournament.?
For her career, she finished with 1,012 kills and a .259 hitting percentage. She is only the eighth player in school history to post 1,000 kills.
Augustine is the first SIUE player in the NCAA Division I era to reach the milestone. She finished with 351 blocks (51 solos), 304 digs, 59 aces and 20 assists.
The daughter of Mary and Cliff Augustine of Geneva earned a degree in business marketing in May. She was named to the dean?s list twice.
If there is one thing that Connor Dougherty (Waubonsie Valley) will be remembered for during his volleyball career at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, it will be his prowess as a hitter.
Dougherty finished his senior season with a .428 hitting percentage ? 196 kills, 93 blocks (four solos), 18 digs, 12 aces and four assists.
?I always tried to hit around the block,? said Dougherty, who stands 6-6 and weighs 180 pounds. ?I wanted to see what was open behind the blocks, but I always noticed the blocks first.?
Dougherty finished with a hitting percentage of .298 or better in each of his four years. He had 438 kills and hit over .400 in each of his final two years of college. He also had 197 blocks (16 solos), 83 digs, 26 aces and 12 assists.
?The best moment of my career was beating Ohio State in the first round of the MIVA Playoffs,? said Dougherty of the final victory during his junior season. ?They were so good they usually got a bye through the first round. Getting beat by Lewis in the final three matches of my career was the worst. We could not figure out how to get beyond them.?
The son of Jack and Tammy Dougherty earned his degree in psychology in May. He is working toward his masters in psychology. He was named to the MIVA All-Academic team all four years with an undergraduate grade point average of 3.8.
?I still have dreams of playing overseas,? Dougherty said. ?Athletes should never give up on their dreams.?
Since his career ended he has been playing in the Premier Volleyball League.
Dougherty will also coach boys volleyball at Great Hearts Academy, a prep school in North Phoenix, Ariz.
College Report: Geneva’s Kelsey Augustine develops into big hitter for SIUE … – Aurora Beacon News