Lemont volleyball players sound off after last-minute disqualification from playoffs

The Lemont volleyball community is sounding off, saying their run for state has been stolen. 

The players went from the excitement of being the number one sectional seed to complete heartbreak.

After being undefeated all season, the girls were disqualified from the state volleyball tournament. 

The players got the news just a few hours before they were supposed to play their first playoff match on Tuesday night. 

The disqualification is due to an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) rules violation regarding matches played.

IHSA rules allow for 35 regular season matches, but Lemont High School played 36 matches. 

Parents and players say they didn't know about this rule, nor did they know that there were too many games on the schedule. So, on Tuesday night, the girls had no choice but to forfeit a game against Back of the Yards.

"We're ranked first in our region, and all our girls wanted to do was play. They feel very hurt that they are suffering for a mistake that was not made by them. A mistake that we definitely do not believe was malicious, there was no ill intent," said Amy Duvall, mother of a volleyball player.

"People started breaking down crying, especially the seniors because it's like, ‘oh my god, I just played my last game and I had no idea,’" said Riley Conry, senior volleyball player.

In a statement from the school, Lemont's Director of Activities and Athletics, John Young, addressed the situation, saying in part:

"Our student-athletes did nothing wrong. I am very sorry our players are forced to pay for my mistake. This was an inadvertent scheduling oversight and not an intentional act made in an effort to subvert IHSA rules."

The girls said no matter what happens, they are proud of what they've accomplished this season and will ensure this never happens to another team again. 

The school district and IHSA met for a hearing at 2 p.m., where the ISHA Board of Directors listened to the district's appeal. However, the appeal was denied.

The district says it is now pursuing legal options. 

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released the following statement:

"The season limitation by-law exists in every IHSA sport in order to provide competitive equity among the schools as they enter into competition in the IHSA State Series. As unfortunate as the result may be, these teams received a competitive advantage that no other team in the tournament received, and there is over 40 years of precedence dictating that violating this rule excludes a team from State Series participation. Neither myself, the IHSA staff, nor the IHSA Board of Directors derive any joy in delivering this decision, but we are tasked with upholding the rules our member schools put into place."