Taylor Tashima, New Trier out to settle unfinished business

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New Trier’s Taylor Tashima got a glimpse of the future this summer while training with the U.S. Girls Youth National Team in Anaheim, Calif. prior to its participation in the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) Girls’ U18 World Championship in Thailand.

“We got to meet the U.S. national team,” said the 6-foot senior setter, who helped lead the United States to a second-place finish in the event. “It was an incredible opportunity. We practiced six hours a day, and we were separated from the national team by only netting.

“You say to yourself, ‘Wow. Those are our players,’ ” she added. “They’d come up and talk to us, share some words of wisdom. That’s definitely where you want to be someday. Hopefully after college, after training harder and harder, hopefully everything will come together.”

Before she pursues her dream of playing for the national team, however, Tashima has a little business to finish in Winnetka. She is hoping to lead the Trevians back to the bright lights of Redbird Arena, where their 2012 season ended in the Class 4A title match after they could not hold onto a 25-21, 20-16 lead against Benet.

“That was devastating,” Tashima said. “I remember it like it was yesterday.” Thirty-nine of New Trier’s 41 opponents in 2012 remember it another way. They remember Tashima’s 632 assists, 74 aces, 164 kills and 41 blocks that powered New Trier to a 33-1 regular-season record including championships at Prairie Ridge, Glenbrook North and their own Summer’s End tournament.

Mother McAuley probably remembers her 24 assists, seven digs, five blocks, four kills and ace that helped the Trevians rally for a 16-25, 25-22, 25-19 Class 4A state semifinal victory last November.

Tashima’s kill at match point ended the Mighty Macs’ bid for a 10th state title.

“We’re not looking to go on another amazing run like last year,” said Tashima, who has committed to Northwestern. “If we do, great. Our goal is to get ready to go back to state.”

If Tashima and the Trevians do return to Redbird Arena, however, the oldest of three children will have a family member along for the ride. Younger sister Isabelle, a 5-foot-7 defensive specialist, made the New Trier varsity team as a sophomore.

“This is the first time, and probably the last time, we’ll play together,” Tashima said. “She’s a great player. There are already colleges looking at her.”

Meanwhile, Tashima is eyeing a run at a national team berth after her high school and college careers are over. Growing an inch or two might help her chances.

“I still think I’ll grow a little more,” Tashima said. “Six-foot-one would be perfect, on and off the court. I’m taking my dad’s advice. I’m drinking a lot of milk.”

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