Women’s volleyball defeats GBN, Loyola with help of large senior class

Marley Hambourger

CAN YOU DIG IT?: Celebrating after winning a rally against Waukegan on Sept. 23, the women’s volleyball team has started this season with a 16-6 record and key wins against Loyola and GBN

Sam Casey, asst. sports editor

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The women’s volleyball team is beginning the season with an exciting and successful start, according to head coach Katie Hoover. The team  currently has a 16-6 record, including wins over Loyola and GBN, Hoover said.

“I think we have had one of the best starts that our program has had in several years,” Hoover said. “We were 20-17 [overall] last year.”

This year’s team is different from past years due to a large senior class, according to Hoover. There are also three very competitive sophomores on varsity this year in addition to the nine seniors. The team is also focusing on prioritizing defense before offense.

“[Relying on offense] is something we’ve done in the past few years and we haven’t seen as much success as we were hoping [for],” Hoover said. “I think this team definitely recognizes how important defense is to [our] success.”

Sarah Wojick, sophomore right side, agrees that the team’s offense is very strong at the moment, but they need to work on their defense.

“We need [to work on] covering blocks,” Wojick said. “Personally, I need to work on my back row, having less errors and [being better at] moving my feet [to get to] the ball.”

Hoover also attributes some of the team’s success to their bond as athletes and as friends.  Senior co-captain Sarah Prenner agrees that the team has a lot of chemistry on and off the court.

“We all get along really well,” Prenner said. “[Even though] we come from different friend groups outside of volleyball, when we are at practice it is a [special] friend group [for just the team].”

According to Prenner, she knew with younger girls on the team she would need to assume a leader’s position.

“I just try to help out wherever I can, whether it’s calling shots for people to take or just keeping everyone positive,” Prenner said.

Hoover believes the teams shows a lot of chemistry because there is no confusion on the floor and the players have trust in each other. Wojick agrees that  on the court, the team is very serious. Off the court though, they are silly and get along well, Wojick said.

“When the pass isn’t perfect, which it usually isn’t, there is a lot of trust that the setter is going to come in and make a great play or someone is going to step in,” Hoover said. “We almost always attack that third ball and we hardly ever send free balls over the net. I think that the team chemistry comes from a lot of work we did over the summer together.”

Over the summer, the team went to an overnight camp and spent time running drills and playing scrimmages to prepare themselves for the season, according to Hoover.

Prenner also feels that the work over the summer has contributed to the team’s good start to the season.

“This year, we took an initiative to use the summer [so we could] figure out what we wanted to be as a team,” Prenner said. “[That way] we wouldn’t lose to any teams early on that we should have beaten.”

South has beaten Loyola twice so far this season, once in a tournament and once at home, according to Wojick. The second time GBS played against Loyola was a close match with GBS winning the first game 25-22, then losing 25-22 and finally winning 25-22.

“My favorite match was against Loyola because it was very intense… and it was one of the tougher teams we will play this season,” Wojick said. “Even though it was non-conference, I had friends on the team and so did some of my other teammates. [Also, Loyola is] big competition, and we knew they would be hard to beat but we pulled through and everyone was really energetic and into the game.”

Some other goals that the team has set are playing well in conference games, using practice time more efficiently and not being afraid to run risky plays that may be out of a player’s comfort zone, according to Hoover.

Their next game is the Dig Pink-Breast Cancer Awareness Game against Niles West on Oct. 6.

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