A conference championship and loads of individual awards capped another successful season for Moraine Valley Community College volleyball.

Moraine Valley ended the season with an overall 19-8 record and went 7-0 for their second consecutive Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference championship. The team also was the NJCAA Region 4 District A Championship runners-up, falling to the only team in the region they hadn’t defeated this year.

Building on last year’s run to the national tournament, they faced several nationally ranked opponents while earning their own national ranking – 14th – in a preseason poll. A few injuries to key players put a damper on their momentum, yet they still captured a conference championship and narrowly missed another trip to nationals.

The 2023 Moraine Valley Community College volleyball team.

Several players contributed to the success of the Cyclones and earned honors for their work. Freshman outside hitter Mary Zielinski (Stagg) finished the season ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division II for points per set (6.0) and kills per set (5.21). She collected 443 kills overall, which placed her at No. 21. For her performance, she was named Skyway Player of the Year, Region Player of the Year and given nods to the All-Region 4 team and NJCAA Division II All-America second team.

Freshman Lily Avelar (Beecher) was named Skyway Libero of the Year and received nods to the All-Conference first team. Sophomore Brooklyn Condon (Lincoln-Way Central) was named to the All-Region team and All-Conference first team. Freshman setter Ava Pequette (Manteno) and sophomore outside hitter Kaila Butvilas (Shepard) collected All-Conference second team honors while Pequette also was named All-Region player.

In addition to the efforts of these five, the contributions from freshmen Sophia Davidson (Marist), Gracie Horkavy (Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences), Cayla Neville (Oak Lawn) and sophomores Colleen Clancy (Oak Forest) and Gianna DiMundo (Stagg) helped propel the team forward.

“While this season did not end the way we hoped, this team showed a lot of strength and promise. We faced a lot of adversity, especially with injuries, but battled through them. I am extremely proud of the team for winning conference,” said Head Coach Lauren Lorenz, who wrapped up her eighth season leading the program and earned Skyway Coach of the Year. “After losing the region championship with one of our key players out with an injury, the freshmen have a new fire lit under them. I am excited to see what next season has in store. They certainly have the drive to come back better than ever.”

For updates on Cyclones Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.


For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or Vizzam@morainevalley.edu.