From a young age, 17-year-old Madison Horin wanted to be a basketball player like her mother. Little did she know that she’d become one of the best in the country as she wracks up assists and blocks in another sport.
The 6-foot-3 middle blocker from Munster, Indiana, is set to take her volleyball career to the next level as she recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Southern California.
“I really tried hard to be critical of the school, but I couldn’t find anything wrong with it,” Horin said. “It really hit me when I was on the plane [heading home] and wanted to go back to campus.”
It took a lot of hard work for Horin to get to this point and committing to a nationally-ranked program. She began playing volleyball at 11 years old, but didn’t fall in love with it right away.
Growing up in Beverly on the South Side of Chicago, Horin loved basketball and wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Carrie, who went to the University of Illinois-Chicago on a basketball scholarship.
But not making the top team at the club Michio, when she was first started playing travel volleyball, stirred a competitive nerve she decided to commit to the sport.
“When I was 12, I literally made the lowest-level team for my age group,” Horin said. “Part of me is super competitive, so I worked really hard that season so I could make it on the best team.”
She did more than just make the top team. Horin moved up in age, playing for the top 14’s team when she was supposed to play for the 13’s team based on her age.
Once she realized her capabilities, Horin gave up her basketball career, choosing to pursue volleyball instead, quitting basketball altogether in seventh grade.
From there, her volleyball career kept moving forward. Once her family moved to Munster, Indiana, when she was 13, Horin switched clubs, playing first for Epic United and then later with First Alliance.
As she continued to grow as a player and become more well known, Horin was able to make other dreams a reality with her volleyball career.
Following a series of tryouts, Horin made it onto the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team, which traveled to South America to compete in the FIVB Women’s U18 World Championship for two weeks. While competing with the team last year, she received the coveted role of captain.
“I think this is one of the biggest accomplishments on any team,” Horin said. “It was my first year playing [on the team] and was named captain. I had emotions coming from every angle.”
But the girls met only two weeks before leaving to practice and prepare to compete at the highest level possible.
Following the two weeks of practice, they spent two weeks in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil, playing against some of the best teams in the world as the team finished seventh in the tournament. Horin got a lot more of the experience than just placing high on the world stage.
“Each country plays [volleyball] differently,” Horin said. “It was so beautiful to hear how they communicate on the court and see how their bodies play volleyball.”
Along with all of these other accomplishments, Horin added Player of the Year to her already impressive resume.
She finished the season with 310 kills, 70 aces and 88 blocks according to The Times.
“Coming into her last season, she was more than ready to finish as one of the top middles in the country,” said Brett Boden, head coach of Munster’s volleyball team. “She has such an energetic, genuine personality and was very driven on and off the court. Her teammates loved her and she gave her all to the Munster volleyball program. I can’t wait to see her compete in the Pac12. USC is getting a good one!”
Now that Horin completed her senior volleyball season for Munster High School, it isn’t quite over yet.
The volleyball standout also throws discus on the track and field team, and helps the community she’s in beyond athletics.
“She’s started for us since she was a freshman and has been a big part of our volleyball program for four years,” said Munster High School athletic director Brian Clark. “She also throws discus on the track team. Beyond that, she has great attitude and really nice kid. She’s always willing to help others and will be missed once she leaves.”
The standout for the Mustangs received another individual accolade: Under Armour First Team All-American.
“I was sitting at home eating Cheetos and about to start my homework when my mom called,” Horin said. “All she said was, ‘You’ve got some pretty big news, kid.’”
For Horin, this was a goal she’d worked toward throughout her career, and in some aspects, was an accomplishment she viewed as a dream. When looking at the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s website, 793 girls were nominated for this honor, with only 24 making it on the All-America First Team.
“I honestly can’t even put it into words,” Horin said. “Day in and day out, I was just doing my thing. Now that it’s all happening, it’s crazy. It means so much for me to receive the same award as women I’ve looked up to.
This prestigious award means Horin will play in the Under Armour All-America game in Minneapolis Friday.
But even as Horin continues to excel as a player, she stays grounded as she reminisces on her accomplishments and looks ahead to her future at USC.
“I am super thankful for the relationships, friendships and connections I made through this sport,” Horin said. “I am excited to move forward and be a part of the Trojan family at USC and be a part of the new culture the head coach has created.”
Photo at top: High school senior Madison Horin earned Under Armour First Team All-American honors and will attend USC to play volleyball in the fall. Photo courtesy of Madison Horin.
Israel Gonzalez is a decorated Chicago boxing coach. He fought “semi-professionally” until his career suddenly ended on Christmas day in 2003. Once Gonzalez got back on his feet, his journey as a coach began at Northeastern Illinois University, while pursuing an education. Today, Gonzalez is regarded as one of the top female boxing coaches in the city. Medill Reports caught up with Israel to find out how his dedication to leading students, specifically women, has turned his boxers into champions.
Photo at top: Israel Gonzalez coaching boxers before a tournament in Chicago. (Chris Cadeau / MEDILL)
As the final serve crossed the net on Nov. 18, Green Bay’s women’s volleyball team prepared their defense against Northern Kentucky. When the Norse sent the ball soaring out of bounds, the Phoenix hit the ground, celebrating a victory they sought for years.
With the help of sisters Taylor and Jessica Wolf, Green Bay won the Horizon League women’s volleyball championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Nov. 29.
“We stuck together, that’s really what the focus is,” said Green Bay head coach Abbey Sutherland. “I am almost speechless. I am so happy and so excited.” Continue reading →
After two semi-final matches Saturday, the championship match for the Horizon League women’s volleyball championship has been decided. The University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and Northern Kentucky will face off Sunday at 2 p.m. to decide who wins the conference and gets the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
In the first match of the day, the No. 1 Phoenix took on the No. 4 UIC Flames, winning 3-1. The first three games were close matches, with both teams getting at least 20 points, while the fourth match ended 25-16.
Sophomore Taylor Wolf, who was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Year on Friday, led the way for Green Bay, tallying 24 kills and 11 digs. Her sister, Jessica Wolf, was second on the team in kills, finishing with 17.
“I’m just proud of us,” said Green Bay head coach Abbey Sutherland. “We’re going to continue to learn and continue to get better. That’s the goal.”
The UIC women’s volleyball team swept Milwaukee during their final match in the Flames Athletic Center Thursday. It took only three sets for the Flames to secure the win, with two UIC players finishing with double-digit kills.
“The win, the loss, that’s going to be a result of everything we put in during the game, but that of course is a reflection of practice,” said head coach Justin Ingram. “I think we had a decent week of practice and I think we are building from that.”
Milwaukee began the first set with the serve, but it wasn’t long before UIC libero Manuella Conte took the ball. During her first serving run of the match, she went on a five-point serving run from the help of teammates Kiera James and Ali Witt.
James recorded three kills during Conte’s run, while Witt also registered three kills during the first eight points of the set.
From there, the Flames and the Panthers exchanged points throughout the set, with UIC keeping a four-point lead. Not until Milwaukee’s Rylie Vaughn started serving did the Panthers bring themselves back into the set.
The Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines will battle for Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament title after dispatching Maryland and Wisconsin, respectively, in the semifinals on Friday.
Indiana, the number one seed, tied Friday’s early game 1-1 in regular time, advancing 4-3 on penalty kicks. In the other semifinal, an early penalty kick for Michigan proved to be the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory.
The Hoosiers and Wolverines last played on October 7, with Indiana winning a crucial road game 1-0 on a Rece Buckmaster goal.
But Friday, it was Buckmaster’s defensive counterpart, senior Andrew Gutman, who stole the show. Gutman scored Indiana’s lone goal of the day after an incredible individual display of skill gave the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead. Gutman dribbled through almost eight defenders on his way to his 10th goal of the season.
After the game, Gutman said that irrespective of the opponent Sunday, Indiana needed to focus on one team – itself.
Fans packed the Flames Athletic Center for the Nov. 2 game to honor two women who committed four years to the UIC women’s volleyball team on Senior Night. Hoping for a win, the Flames were unable to deliver, losing to Northern Kentucky in three sets.
“I wish we felt like ourselves,” said head coach Justin Ingram. “I think that part of our issues this year is growing up.”
When the young team took to the court Friday evening, the Norse started the match with the serve. Northern Kentucky took the the lead but the Flames kept it even for most of the game. Continue reading →
Anthony Marquez, actor and decorated martial arts instructor, starred in the Mortal Kombat (Kung Lao) video games and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies in the 1990’s. Today, Marquez is using his passion for martial arts to influence his students in his training facility (Extreme Martial Arts) in Chicago’s North side. Medill Reports spent time with Marquez and learned about the moment he decided to stop focusing on his own professional success and start educating and motivating others.
Photo at top: Anthony Marquez (right), EKF owner and head coach, teaching a martial arts defensive tactic to his student Jun Phan. (Chris Cadeau / Medill)