The East Peoria volleyball team tried this season to lay the groundwork for future success.
"I felt like this was definitely a building year for our program," EPCHS volleyball head coach Michelle Hahn said.
The young Raiders, who featured just one senior on the roster, learned new ideas in a first-year coach's system.
After this adjustment period, the team likely will be much farther along when next season commences.
"We've got a good core coming into next year already, plus we have sophomores moving up," said Hahn, who completed her third year in the Mid-Illini Conference.
East Peoria was 5-26 overall and placed seventh in the league with a 2-12 record.
All of the team's statistical leaders were sophomores or juniors.
Sophomore Emily Chapman topped the Raiders with 98 kills and 22 aces and was second with 25 blocks.
Bailey Burrell, a junior, led East Peoria with 186 digs and was the aces runner-up with 17.
Junior Sarah Finck's 264 assists were a team-high total.
Kaitlynn Mews, a junior, was the blocks leader with 27. Classmate Turner MacPhee was second with 170 digs and 94 kills.
Cheyanne Hasty was the sole representative from the senior class.
Others on the season-ending roster for the Class 3A East Peoria Regional included: juniors Cassie Shaw and Haley Wilson and sophomores Brooke Jacobs, Khloe Livingston and Whitney Adams.
Helping with the continuity in the program is that Hahn next month will begin tryouts in her first season directing the East Peoria Central Junior High volleyball eighth graders.
Serve/receive was an area Hahn cited as a strength throughout the season. Other coaches commented multiple time on that area in post-match interviews.
"That was always really strong with our team," she said.
Competing to join the varsity mix will be players from this year's sophomore and freshman squads.
"I feel like both groups were competitive with the other conference teams," said Hahn.
A renovation of the weight-room facilities in A building, which will include better equipment, is slated to be ready when school resumes after winter break.
The hope, Hahn said, is for weight-training programs to be in sync with coaches in other Raider programs.
"I've talked to the girls about what kind of athlete they want to be," said Hahn. "... It's going to take outside work to achieve those goals."
At this point, the one notable change on next season's schedule is a tournament in Lincoln, which will take the place of the Effingham Crossroads Classic.
"I'm looking forward to next year with so many returning players," said Hahn.