Compared to other sports in the state of Illinois, the sport of boys volleyball is still relatively new when it comes to state competition. Since the Waubonsie Valley varsity program began back in 1997 under head coach Al Lagger, there is still one name that stands out as the top player in school history. 2014 graduate Michael Simmons rose the ranks from honorable mention Conference as a freshman, all the way to Second Team All-American as a senior.
The outside hitter threw down ferocious kills the likes of which have seldom been replicated at Waubonsie or any teams in the Naperville area. The 6’4 Warrior was always the first name on the opposing team’s scouting report.
Simmons missed the majority of the 2013 season due to shin splints, but the junior returned for the post season and helped the 15 seed Warriors stun the number 3 seed St. Francis and the defending state champions Wheaton Warrenville South en route to the regional championship.
As a senior in 2014, Simmons and his Waubonsie teammates won the Upstate 8 conference as Simmons was named All State and 2nd Team All-American by the AVCA.
After graduation, Simmons was able to join one of the most elite college volleyball programs in the country. The Flyers of Lewis University.
After redshirting his freshman season, Simmons credited a position change for taking his game to a higher level, while helping the Flyers compete for National prominence.
As the team’s libero in 2018 and 2019, Simmons was an AVCA and VolleyballMag.com Honorable Mention All-American. As a redshirt senior in 2019, Simmons and his Lewis teammates won the MIVA conference crown, knocking off rival Loyola in the championship round. The Flyers then defeated USC in the NCAA quarterfinals before bowing out in the semis to eventual National Champion, Hawaii.
Although his college career had come to a close, there were still exciting opportunities ahead in the world of competitive volleyball.
Now, Michael Simmons is a Territory Specialist for Wilson Sporting Goods, which is based out of the Chicago area. Even though his competitive playing days are behind him, his new career still makes each day an enjoyable one.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell
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