Caitlin Hensley and her Lady Hub teammates needed to dig deep as they attempted to break Rochelle Township High School’s all-time single-season wins record this past fall.
The Lady Hubs took their home floor against Plano, cruising over the Reapers in the first set before nearly coming apart in the second set. Trailing 23-17 and looking to avoid letting Plano extend the match, Hensley entered the match from the bench to serve for Rochelle. Behind eight strong serves, four of which were aces, Hensley helped the Lady Hubs erase the six-point deficit and score eight straight points to take the set and notch a historic team victory.
“It was a very tedious match,” Hensley said. “We lost our confidence in the second set and the ball never seemed to bounce in our favor… I took the court strong and I knew my serves could change the outcome of the match. It was my favorite moment with the team.”
Hensley, who spent four years with the RTHS volleyball program, took up the sport when she was 7 years old. She went out for the St. Paul Lutheran School program in sixth grade, uniting with players she continued to team with throughout high school. With seven club and school seasons under her belt, Hensley said she’s forever thankful to her first volleyball coach, Kristen Edecker, for sparking her passion for the sport while she was studying at St. Paul.
“I always loved sports when I was growing up and volleyball always seemed to interest me,” Hensley said. “I’ve always loved the intensity of the sport and I’ve adored the sport since I first started playing… Being a member of the Rochelle volleyball program taught me how to always persevere, even when the circumstances are difficult.”
An Academic All-Conference honoree with the Lady Hubs, Hensley worked her way onto the varsity team as a back-row player her junior season, helping Rochelle win 16 matches in head coach Molly Sly’s first year running the program. Hensley returned to the back row her senior season, finishing with 25 digs and six aces. The Lady Hubs earned 21 victories this past fall, a school record, while reaching the IHSA 3A Regional Finals twice over the last two years.
“Over the last four years, I improved significantly in finding my confidence,” Hensley said. “I learned that I should never rely on anyone else to give me the motivation I need, but rather, I need to find that support from my inner self. As a player, I always felt comfortable in the back row and being as aggressive as I could to not let the ball touch the ground. Through club practices and training, my dives and my serve became great assets to my gameplay.”
Hensley plans to attend Northern Illinois University as a member of the Honors Program after high school. Hensley also said she aims to double major in actuarial sciences and finance in hopes of eventually advancing her education and pursuing a career as an actuary.