The Rochelle Township High School volleyball team enjoyed its most successful campaign in program history this past season, and a major reason for the team’s turnaround was the experience and versatility of its seniors including three-year varsity player Maggie Duval.
Duval entered RTHS in 2016 after playing volleyball for St. Paul Lutheran School, where she formed close bonds with several teammates she competed alongside for the Lady Hubs. She was elevated to the varsity squad her sophomore season and remained with the team through her senior season, spending time at both the setter and right-side positions.
“I first started playing volleyball in fifth grade,” Duval said. “My older sister had played and my mom had grown up with the coach at St. Paul. I’ve loved volleyball since the day I went to my first practice… I really enjoyed the relationships I formed with my coaches and teammates. We were all friends and we shared the best memories together on and off the court.”
Duval and the Lady Hubs won a school-record 21 matches during the 2019 season including an enormous upset over eventual IHSA 3A Sectional finalist LaSalle-Peru. Duval’s rise to her breakout senior season began during her junior season, when she totaled 81 kills from the right side. Her all-around talents were on display this past fall, as she compiled 224 assists, second-most on the team, while adding 156 digs, 119 kills and 22 aces for the varsity squad.
“I learned how to persevere and not give up after one bad play or loss,” Duval said. “I learned how to always support my teammates and friends in life. Volleyball definitely became a safe place for me. Whenever I was playing, my stress from classes or life in general pretty much went away. I only focused on the game and improving myself for the team.”
Duval’s play her senior season warranted the Most Improved Player Award from the RTHS volleyball program. Duval, who has earned Academic All-Conference in each of the last two seasons, will be attending Wheaton College this fall to begin her academic studies. While she’s currently undecided on a major, she said she aims to minor in Spanish, and she said she hopes she can have a career that allows her to interact with others and bring out her social side.
“Breaking the single-season wins record was really exciting for us,” Duval said. “The team dinners we had were also really fun. I loved going to our summer league matches, even when the temperatures were around 100 degrees inside. Those matches were always a lot of fun… I feel like I improved the most during my senior year. I had the chance to work on my passing more often, as well as my other skills, which were more applicable to higher levels of play.”