WINDSOR -- Megan Schlechte’s volleyball career is one for the Central Illinois record books.
The Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg senior outside hitter finished this season with 495 kills and a hitting percentage of .387. In her career, which included a Hatchets’ Class 1A third-place finish in 2016 and a second-place finish last year, she recorded 1,599 kills, which places Schlechte ninth all-time in Illinois high school history, according to the IHSA website. That total is also most ever from the Herald & Review coverage area.
Schlechte took killing and made it an art form, making her the Herald & Review’s pick as the 2018 Area Volleyball Player of the Year, which she won last year as well.
The Schlechte volleyball family tree is tall at Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg. Megan’s older sister, Becca Schlechte, was a setter and the 2016 H&R Area Player of the Year and younger sister, Anna Schlechte is a sophomore defensive specialist. Their mother, Ronda Schlechte has coached them all since childhood.
“Megan has had an outstanding high school career," Ronda said. "When she is on the court she is a little on the quiet side, but her leadership took over with her consistency, and the team could count on her to put the ball down as needed. She set the tone in practices, set the tone for our team and helped make everybody better.”
In a career filled with many great games, one stands out for Megan Schlechte, her 29 kill performance against Durand in last year’s state semifinal.
“The record at state last year is probably my greatest accomplishment over the past four years. That game was really intense, three sets, it was really scary,” Megan said.
After two consecutive trips to state, the Hatchets were stopped by St. Teresa in the Effingham St. Anthony sectional final this season and Megan felt the team had many shining moments.
“The season definitely could have been better but I think we played better than last year at some points and we struggled at other times,” Megan said. “And obviously in the last game we didn’t play as a team and it didn’t work out but I’m still pretty happy with the season.”
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Schlechte had 21 kills, her season high, in her final game high school game. She and a talented group of seniors — libero Carson Cole, setter Mackenzi Tabbert and outside hitter Calla Roney — will leave some big holes to fill next season.
“They are all great teammates and terrific athletes. We have all pushed each other to be better throughout the years in every sport,” Megan said. “They are a great group of kids, I love all of them. It will be really sad to leave all of them next year.”
In November, Megan announced that she would continue her volleyball career and study nursing at Lewis University in Romeoville. Lewis has a strong volleyball program — it advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four last season — and offers some academic advantages that other schools wouldn’t.
“Megan had a lot of options but some of the schools won’t let you do nursing and play volleyball because of the conflict with the clinicals and other time constraints,” Ronda Schlechte said. “Even though you are going to school for sports you just don’t want to put your career on the back line to be able to play and at Lewis she is able to do both.”
Megan is looking forward to the challenges of her collegiate career.
“I think it is going to be a lot different than high school and I’m going to have to work a lot harder and put a lot more hours with it. I’m really excited for it,” she said.
Looking back, Schlechte is proud of her standing as one of the best volleyball players to have taken the court in Central Illinois.
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better since my freshman year with the help of my teammates and my mom, of course,” Megan said. “I feel like, yeah, it is really awesome to be an area leader in my stats with all the hard work I’ve put in over the years. It makes me feel really good.”