CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Both are brand new to the Illini volleyball team, but there might not be anyone on the team more familiar with Champaign than Mica Allison and Rylee Hinton.
“It’s been great, she’s my roommate so we are very close and I love her,” Hinton said about Allison. “It was really nice having someone come at the mid-year, same time that I did, so that helped a lot and Mica is just the best. She’s one of my closest friends here.”
“It’s actually kind of funny because Rylee and I weren’t really that close throughout high school,” Allison said. “We played on the same club, we still really weren’t that close but now we’re definitely really close.”
Allison graduated from St. Thomas More, then transferred to Illinois after one season at Auburn. Hinton enrolled early with the Illini after graduating from Central.
“I’m pretty sure we beat them every time we played them,” Allison joked about the braggin’ rights between the two.
“We are the Champaign High School,” Hinton responded. “That’s all there is to it, that’s all that needs to be said.”
None of that matters now that they’re teammates. In both cases, it’s a jump up in competition. For Hinton, it’s high school to college.
“It’s a lot harder,” she said. “The volleyball is just genuinely harder and it was a big adjustment and I wasn’t mentally prepared for that when I first came in but I think I’m adjusting pretty well. I feel good now.”
In Allison’s case, it’s SEC to the Big Ten.
“Just knowing that I’ve been in this position before, it wasn’t like the first time I’ve ever played in a college match before so I think that helped a lot,” Allison added.
Both players took a trip to Japan this summer. Hinton traveled and played with the Big Ten Foreign Team Tour from June 14-26. Allison was a member of the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team, along with Illini outside hitter Jacqueline Quade from May 19-30.