Brunstrum remembers longtime coach Doug Blundy always stressed the importance of being a family first. It’s something that has really stood out in this year’s group, she said.
“We spend so much time together that we really are a family,” Brunstrum said. “We fight, we bicker, we get along, we hug, we cry, we laugh.”
The Tigers are a family in more ways than one. Megan and Emily Kelly’s older sister, Sarah, played for Central from 2012 to 2015. Hausler’s sister, Cayla, was a 2015 grad and Lownds’ sister, Brittany, was on the 2015 team that won the program’s first 4A regional title.
The family ties don’t end there.
Freshman Madeline Timmerman’s mother played on the first Tigers team to reach state in 1989, sophomore Grace Levin’s mother played for Blundy, and freshman Madeline McCormick’s mother played against Brunstrum and assistant coach Jill Pearce when they went to state as players on the Crystal Lake South team.
Brunstrum said those family ties have absolutely fueled the Tigers program in recent years.
“I think the legacies that their sisters have, they kind of want to outplay them and set higher goals,” Brunstrum said. “We talked years ago when we moved to Class 4A [in 2012], it’s kind of a new ballgame. We just have to keep pushing, and we’ve been able to go one match further every season. It’s been a wild ride this week, but we’re just kind of soaking up every minute of it.”