Senior outside hitter Ally Dion set Huntley's single-season record with 404 kills, adding 398 digs and 117 aces to help lead the Red Raiders to their first Fox Valley Conference championship in school history.
Huntley – which went 27-8, the most wins for the team since 2011 (31) – won its third regional title in four years with Dion delivering a match-high 23 kills and 22 digs in a three-set win over McHenry in the Class 4A Harlem Regional final.
For her accomplishments and record-setting year, Dion has been picked as the Northwest Herald Volleyball Player of the Year, as selected by the sports staff with input from area coaches. Marian Central's Sydney Nemtuda and McKayla Wuensch also were considered strongly for the honor.
Next fall, Dion will play at NCAA Division-I Southeast Missouri State. She recently spoke with the Northwest Herald about her love for Bruce Springsteen, winning the conference title and more.
What is your favorite movie and TV show?
Dion: "The Sandlot" and "Grey's Anatomy"
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
Dion: Anthony Rizzo
Which teammate makes you laugh the most?
Dion: Marissa Deem. She's really goofy and always embarrasses herself in front of other people.
Which teammate inspires you the most?
Dion: Taylor Jakubowski. She has a lot of passion and love for the game.
What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
Dion: Probably my court awareness. I've been told I see the court very well, and that helps placing the ball and getting kills.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you play?
Dion: I don't have any, but as a team, we always sing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" before every game. I think it started my sister's senior year. We've been doing it ever since.
What’s a song on your iPod people would be surprised is there?
Dion: I have a lot of Bruce Springsteen songs because my dad (Bob) is a huge fan and kind of passed it down the family.
What is your favorite sports memory from senior year?
Dion: When we won the [FVC]. The past four years we haven't really been close to winning it, so it's kind of cool to finally do that my senior year.
What was your favorite match this season?
Dion: When we beat (Crystal Lake) Central the second time around. They're a very good team and we barely beat them the first time, so we knew they were going to want it more. We came out and showed that we have a lot of fight in us.
What's the best piece of advice you ever have received?
Dion: Just to go out and have fun, and not put too much pressure on myself. Just play for the love of the game and try the best I can.
Is there a special significance to your uniform No. 6?
Dion: For club, I'm No. 7, but my freshman year that wasn't available, so I chose my mom's number when she played (at Illinois-Chicago), and now it's No. 6.
What is your favorite pregame meal?
Dion: This year, we always would go to Tropical Smoothie Cafe before every game.
What are you looking forward to most about Southeast Missouri State?
Dion: I think being on my own. It's going to be different from always living at home and having my mom do everything for me.
What will you miss most about Huntley?
Dion: I'll miss all of my friends and family and the tight-knit community that Huntley is.
If you could have dinner with three people from any time in history, who would they be?
Dion: Bruce Springsteen, Anthony Rizzo and Michael Jordan
What would be your dream job?
Dion: Being a sports broadcaster. It would be cool to stay in sports. I might focus on journalism or physical therapy.
Who had the biggest affect on you as an athlete?
Dion: My sister (Amy), because I've always watched her growing up and she was a big role model for me.
If you could have a sandwich named in your honor, what would be on it and what would you call it?
Dion: I always just get turkey, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and lettuce. I would call it "D-D-D, Dion."
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Dion: When people walk really slow in the hallway or talk to their friends and stop in the middle of the hallway. That's really annoying.
Who is your hero?
Dion: Probably my mom (Sandy) because she does so much for the family and puts herself before others.