Volleyball community joins UNO as it mourns the tragic loss of Alonnah Nance

Alonnah Nance, a student at Joliet West and member of UNO’s 16 Elite volleyball team, died in a mass shooting at her home in Joliet earlier this week. (Photo courtesy of UNO VBC).

By Phil Brozynski
Illprepvb.com Editor

Death, any death, is always tragic. But the senseless loss of a young life is particularly difficult to understand.

Alonnah Nance, a student at Joliet West and member of the UNO Volleyball Club family, was only 16 years old when her life was cut tragically last weekend in a senseless mass shooting that also claimed the lives of her mother, two sisters, a brother, and an aunt and uncle.

Nance was remembered fondly by her club, her school and throughout the volleyball world.

“Alonnah was the epitome of perseverance,” said UNO club director Terri Baranski. “She was a phenomenal teammate and worked so hard for everything, not just in volleyball.”

Nance’s team is scheduled to compete in the 2024 Windy City Power League at the Community Sportsplex in Plainfield this weekend. Despite the immensity of the loss, most of her teammates have decided to try to play, Baranski said.

UNO also released this statement on its Instagram account:

“Words cannot begin to express the pain and sorrow our Uno family is feeling after learning of the tragic passing of one of our own, Uno Girls 16 Elite player Alonnah Nance,” the statement read.

“While it is impossible to comprehend how something like this could happen and painful to enter the gym knowing she won’t be there, not a day will go by where we won’t honor her, play for her, and find the love and joy in the game like she did.

“Alonnah’s passion, genuineness and spirit will live on and she will surely never be forgotten,” the statement continued. “We play for you #31 and miss you more than you could ever know.”

Joliet Township school officials also released a statement about the tragedy, which furthermore claimed Alonnah’s 20-year old sister, Alexandria, a 2020 graduate of Joliet West, and her 14-year-old sister Angel.

“Our hearts are breaking for Alonnah, Alexandria, Angel, their family, friends, and for our students and staff who knew and loved them,” read the statement from the district.

“Our community is hurting as we all work to process such an evil act,” the statement continued. “There is so much healing that needs to take place. Please know that we are here for our students, families, and staff during this unimaginable time.”

Alonnah’s death is also being felt throughout the volleyball world. Tribe Volleyball Club in Deerfield Beach, Florida, posted this statement on UNO’s Instagram account.

“UNO’s loss is felt around the entire country,” the post read. “We’re sending Alonnah’s family and friends all the love in the world from South Florida.”

An Instagram post from Pure Passion Volleyball Club in New Haven, Connecticut, read, “Sending our prayers to everyone at Uno.”

Alonnah was one of seven family members victims who were found shot to death in two homes in Joliet.  A motive for the shootings has not yet been determined.

Funeral arrangements are pending. For more information, visit Minor-Morris Funeral Home, Ltd., in Joliet, at https://www.minormorrisfuneralhome.com.

“People who’ve experienced the sudden and unexpected death of someone they know can tell you just how short and unpredictable life can be. Even when their lives were going according to plan, one shocking and tragic event was all it took to change their perspective on life. Although challenging to swallow when it happens, these lessons teach survivors not to take life for granted and that nothing in life is guaranteed. The result can lead to a person becoming fearful and depressed about life, or it can give them the necessary courage to go out and make the most of their lives.”

Dr. Alejandra Vasquez, JD, CT
Certified Grief Counselor
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