Harlem volleyball team is on the rise, wants to challenge NIC-10 elite

MACHESNEY PARK — The Hononegah and Belvidere North girls volleyball programs have a stranglehold on the NIC-10, with Belvidere North winning six league titles in a row and Hononegah winning 21 conference titles since 1985.

This year is no different. Hononegah (18-2, 9-0) has won 24 sets in a row heading into Thursday night’s match against Belvidere North (13-3, 8-1), which has won its last 20 sets in a row. North has won 87 of its last 88 conference matches. The lone exception is a loss to Hononegah in this year’s season opener.

“For people to beat those teams, they have to play smart and pick on their weakest players and pick on their weak spots,” said Harlem junior middle hitter Brooke Boettcher.

Easier said than done. North last year had an NCAA Division I Recruit at virtually every position, but graduated five of six starters after taking second in the Class 3A state tournament.

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