Megan Schlechte has already reached the heights in the Windsor/Stew-Stras athletic program. Now, she is preparing to soar even further with the Flyers of NCAA Divison II Lewis University.
Schlechte signed recently to play volleyball for the #25 nationally ranked D-II program.
While playing for the Windsor/Stew-Stras co-op, Schlechte went to Class A State in junior high softball, placing 3rd. WSS were regional champions in volleyball her freshman year. She went to the IHSA Class 1A Volleyball State Tournament as a sophomore (2016). WSS placed 3rd.
Her older sister Becca Schlechte was a setter on that team. Becca graduated in 2017 and is currently playing college volleyball at University of Indiana/ Purdue University. She dished 573 assists this year with 296 digs and 25 kills.
Megan and the Hatchets returned to the Class A State Volleyball Tournament as a junior (2017). WSS placed 2nd in the State. Schlechte broke an all-IHSA state record for the most kills in a match in the state semifinal. The old record was held for 21 years, since 1996. Schlechte hit 29 kills, the old all-IHSA record was 28 and the old Class A record was 27.
After volleyball's runner-up season last year, Schlechte was the leading scorer on the WSS basketball team and was named All-State Honorable Mention. She scored 453 points (16.8 ppg) and 237 rebounds (8.8 rpg), with 34 assists, 89 steals, and 55 blocked shots. She shot 43% from the field, 62% from the line.
In softball last spring, the WSS Hatchets followed up their State Runner-up in volleyball with a State Championship in Softball. Schlechte was a shortstop and one of the two aces on the team. The WSS volleyball team won their 4th straight regional and finished Sweet 16.
Schlechte will be joining a Flyer program at Lewis University, which is also used to winning. The #25 Flyers (28-7) knocked off #22 Rockhurst (32-7) to win the Midwest Regional Championship this season. It was their second regional title in 3 years. They were 15-3 in the conference this year.
Lewis was 31-2 in 2017 and 17-1 in the conference. In 2016 they were 29-8, 17-1 in the conference. In 2015, they were 31-5, 15-3 in the conference. In 2-14 they were 22-8 and 14-4 in the conference. In the last 5 years, they have a record of 141-30, 78-12 in the conference.
Schlechte finished her prep volleyball career with 1,492 kills and 1,100 digs, with 238 service aces. She was a team leader in those areas almost every match. She was an All-National Trail Conference pick all 4 years of high school and was the Most Valuable player this season. WSS' record for Schlechte's 4 years as a starter was 128-30 (.810). They were conference champions every year with no NTC losses during her tenure.
It seems like a no-brainer, why Schlechte would look at Lewis and Lewis would select Schlechte. They are both winners.
"They have a good program," said Megan Schlechte. "And they are going to let me pursue nursing while I'm playing. There are not a lot of programs that will do that, because of the nursing clinicals."
Lewis wanted Schlechte for what they saw, when they watched her play.
"Megan is a very talented athlete and especially gifted in volleyball," said Lewis head coach Loralee Smith. "She has an explosive jump as well as a calm first ball contact. These two attributes are rare to find in the same individual and mirror our current All-American outside hitter. I was also impressed with Megan’s desire to still work for improvement after we told her we would like to make her an offer. She had questions about how to become better. That showed us she is a hard worker and will always want to grow as a player no matter her success. I think she will fit in perfectly with our family at Lewis."
As one could imagine, Schlechte had a host of offers for volleyball and softball from Division I and Division II schools and a lot of D-IIIs. She looked at the University of Illinois-Springfield, but was sold on Lewis.
"Before my junior year I went to volleyball camp there and have visited 5 times. I love it there," Schlechte said.
When she gets to Lewis, she hopes to play even as a freshman. She will be rooming with another incoming freshman volleyball player from Missouri, a libero.
As for Lewis, they also thought there could be room for Schlechte in the starting line-up, even as a freshman.
"I recruited her with an all-American goal," said Lewis head coach Loralee Smith. "We are graduating the player that plays Megan’s position. So the door is open for her. However we do have 2 players on the team returning for that same position. So basically there will be three players fighting for two spots. From what I have watched with Megan, she has all the talent to take the spot.
"Making speed and college level adjustments will be what determines her impact as a freshman. I’ve never been good at projecting which freshman will start and which will take a few months to adjust.
"We had a three time all-American middle that started as a freshman, but until day 10 of preseason I thought she should red-shirt. Then one day everything clicked for her and she beat the others out. It will really come down to work ethic, inner confidence and the ability to make adjustments, because Megan has the ability."
The courtship that Lewis and Schlechte engaged in lasted a couple of years, but now it is official.
Schlechte has been the top WSS hitter all through high school and for the Shelbyville-based Rapid Fire Club Volleyball Program.
Veteran coach Lisa Peifer (19 years, 480-244), who has taken Shelbyville High School to the state tournament 3 times (4th, 2015), was Schlechte's coach at Rapid Fire.
With over 20 years of coaching, Peifer was asked to rank Schlechte among her pantheon of great hitters.
"Oh, boy," Peifer said. "I'd have to say among the top 5% of all the hitters. In terms of athletic ability, comparable to Shannon Boone. Shannon hit hard and Megan can hit that hard. She has a little more finesse and can work around people, where Shannon would hit through them."
"Ryann Ambrose had the same qualities. She has a fast swinging motion and she is a great offensive and defensive player. She worked really hard on her defense and her passing."
Peifer talked about Schlechte fitting into the Lewis program.
"D-I and D-II coaches are recruiting 6 position players with all-around athletic ability like Megan," Coach Peifer said.
You'll never guess who the first name was off her lips when asked who she wants to thank for getting her to this point.
"My mom," Megan said.
Ronda Schlechte has been her 3 daughters' volleyball coach ever since grade school at Stewardson Trinity Lutheran. Becca, a setter and college sophomore, is the oldest, Megan, a hitting senior, is the middle daughter, and Anna, a sophomore defensive specialist, is the youngest.
Ronda led the Trinity team to a Southern Illinois State Title in 2011 with her daughter Becca and 2-time Junior College National Runner-up hitter Kendall Knop. Trinity was 2nd in the State in 2013 with Ronda Schlechte coaching all three of her daughters on the state runner-up squad.
Ronda Schlechte became the Stew-Stras coach in 2011. She has coached there 8 years with a record of 214-94 (.695). Her first season was below .500, but every other year has been a winning season with postseason accomplishments.
Megan also wanted to mention others who have got her where she is.
"My dad, my teammates," she said. "My sister, Becca. She made me want to be better than her."
Megan Schlechte has been a starter on basketball, softball and volleyball. When asked what sport she liked best growing up, volleyball was it.
"I like all of them," Schlechte said. "I love sports. I don't know what I'd do with my time if I didn't. But, I loved volleyball the most. I like hitting, and scoring, getting kills."
There is an outside chance Schlechte could be a 2-sport athlete at Lewis, playing softball, as well, but she was clear that volleyball and nursing come first.
2018 Schlechte sr. volleyball stats: 85 sets played, 60 aces, 287 serves (20.9%), 33 err (88.5%), 166 pts, 495/967 kills (51.2%), 121 err (.387%), 44 blocks, 307 digs, 31 assists (91 BHA) 4 err, 365 receives (23 err)
2018 Schlechte jr. softball stats: Batting-G 31, Avg .432, *PA 118, AB 95, Hits 41, 1B 23, 2B 8, *3B 6, HR 4, RBI 41, R 41, ROE 4, FC 2, BB 17, K 20, OBP .514, *SLG .768; Pitching-(13-2) G 18, GS 13, IP 75.2, ERA 1.573, Hits 51, R 25 (ER 17), BB 27, K 105, HBP 4, WHIP 1.031, BF 318, K% .660, K/G 9.714
2017-18 Schlechte jr. basketball stats: 27 games, 453 points - 16.8 ppg, 237 rebounds - 8.8 rpg, 34 assists - 1.3 apg, 89 steals - 3.3 spg, 55 blocks - 2.0 bpg, 180/415 Total FG - 43%, 93/150 FT - 62%
2017 Schlechte jr. volleyball stats: 525 kills, 43 blocks, 51 aces, 27 assists, 323 digs
2017 softball stats: Batting-Avg .370, G 33, PA 119, AB 100, H 33, 1B-*34, 3B-3, TB 43, RBI 28, R 48, HBP 1, ROE 11, FC *7, BB 14, K *8, SB 29/31 (.935), OBP .488, SLG .430; Pitching-(12-1), IP 83.2, G 17, ERA 1.17, R 22 (14 ER), H 61, BB 24, HBP 5, K 112, WHIP 1.016
2016 Schlechte so. volleyball stats: 344 kills, 41 blocks, 64 aces, 29 asst, 254 digs
2016 Schlechte fr. softball stats: Batting-M. Schlechte 30 G, 119 PA, 93 AB, .366 BA, 45 R, 34 H, 28-1B, 3-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 22 RBI, *22 BB, 13 Ks, 2 HBP, *24 SB, *2 sac, .496 OBP, .452 SLG, 5 ROE, 3 FC; Pitching- (7-2) 180 IP, .980%, 3 ERR, 149 CH, 99 PO, 47 Ast, 10 SBA, 3 CS