Plain and simple, Jacqueline Twing has been the face of Rock Island volleyball the past four seasons.|
The setter has turned Rock Island volleyball from a laughing stock to a perennial power, a regional walkover into a two-time regional champ. The 30-6 Rocks set a school record for victories this fall as well.
She earned second team all-state honors from The Champaign News Gazette this fall, and is selected as this year's Metro Volleyball Player of the Year for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus for the second consecutive season.
In her career, she amassed more than 2,000 assists, which is just one of several school records she'll take with her when she graduates in June.
Sum up your senior year...
"It was definitely more than I expected. I knew we would have a good group of girls coming back, but we lost a lot of really talented girls, too. So, for us to break the school record for wins and to win three weekend tournaments was really an accomplishment."
Was this year's team a lot different?
"Definitely. We needed more leadership this year because we were a lot younger, and they needed someone to look up to. They were going to go off my energy. I played every game like it was my last game. The rest of the team started playing at a higher level, and they were expected to."
How have the expectations changed at Rock Island in regards to the volleyball team?
"When I was going into high school, Rock Island volleyball was just another sport there; it wasn't really looked at as a high-caliber sport. But now, people want to be playing for Rock Island and we're expected to be good. It's definitely fun to see how it's changed over the past years, and to be a part of that is awesome."
The season didn't end how you wanted it to, losing to Moline in regionals...
"I'm still not really over it yet. My team was there for me and we were all upset. It just stinks we couldn't have gone farther."
You set a lot of "firsts" at Rock Island. Is there anything you didn't do?
"I really wanted to be a conference champion and win sectionals. Those were on the top of the list, but it doesn't take away from all the good things we did."
What was the biggest "first" you accomplished?
"My sophomore year when we were the fifth seed at the regional tournament, and ended up winning the regional. That was when people started to turn their heads and think we could be good."
Your team summer trips are pretty unique. What makes them special?
"That's a great chance for us to bond as a team. It's so much fun and we do a ton of team-bonding activities. It also makes a lot of memories that we can look back on all of our lives."
Can you believe your Rock Island volleyball career is over?
"It's gone by so fast. … My freshman year, you're just starting out and now you're done and it just kind of hits you that, 'Wow, I'm not going to play at Rocky anymore.' In the third game of the Moline match, it was 22-15 and I looked up and was like, 'This could be the last game I ever play.'"
What do you hope your legacy is at Rock Island?
"I hope I'm remembered for being dedicated and a hard worker and that I wanted it more than anything. I hope girls look up to me and I hope I can be a role model."
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