CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Following Illinois’ 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-19) win over Michigan on Senior Day, a long line of festivities was scheduled.
Seniors Raina Terry, Vanessa Pan, Kennedy Collins and Jessica Nunge along with medically retired Maddie Whittington and Sophie Gregus were celebrated.
Emotional goodbyes and thank yous were shared on the video board on the South wall of Huff Hall. At the end of it, the fans who stuck around for the festivities were greeted by the familiar face of Raina Terry.
It was a historic night for her, as she became one of just sixteen Illinois Volleyball players to ever hit the 500-kill mark in one season, but she also had one more thing to say...
Illini fans at Huff Hall took a sigh of relief before cheering. Terry always had the fifth-year option, but it wasn’t clear if she’d spend it in Champaign.
The Marengo, Ohio native is the Big Ten’s leader in total kills and total points. She’s second in kills per set and the leader in points per set.
In her fifth year, Raina Terry has the opportunity to become the school’s all-time aces leader. She’s currently 4th with 163, 17 behind Mary Egger’s 180, which she set in 1985-1988. The all-time kills leader is 1,972, set by Jocelynn Birks (2012-2015). If Terry has another 500-kill season next year, she’ll become the all-time leader.
Of the seniors honored today, Terry was the only one who had the fifth-year ‘Covid’ option.
“I know a little bit about [her decision], but we gotta let her make the decision when the time comes and we just go from there,” head coach Chris Tamas said before Terry’s announcement.
It’s safe to say he played his part in not spoiling her announcement.
Terry’s return spells trouble for Big Ten opponents, and also sets Illinois up for a strong squad next year that returns Caroline Barnes, Brooke Mosher and others.
Illinois picked up another important win on Saturday in their push for postseason volleyball, but perhaps the biggest win was the announcement that this year’s senior day wouldn’t be Raina Terry’s last.