By Mike Miazga
The IC Catholic Prep girls volleyball team went toe-to-toe with some of the area’s larger schools this summer.
The Knights took part in a pair of summer leagues at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora. IC played in a Tuesday and a Thursday night league.
“The summer league went well,” said IC coach Nancy D’Amore. “We finished in the top third of teams in the Tuesday night league, which is a very good finish for us. A lot of the schools we face there are the bigger public schools from the far western suburbs. It’s nice to get a chance to play against those bigger programs. For us, our girls are able to try out different things and we can be a little looser in terms of lineups and trying different people next to each other. When the season starts we’ll know a lot about where people are and we can focus in on things right from Day 1.”
IC made it to the top bracket in the Thursday night league at Great Lakes.
“I tell them all the time in some of these matches they are going up against some of the best hitters in the state and they are holding their own,” said D’Amore. “That’s a good sign. It exposes your weaknesses a lot faster and the girls get a good idea of the things we need to work on and they get a better understanding of what’s going on much quicker. We’re playing teams where their front line is 6-2 across and they have great defenders. You have to be able to run your offense and put good defense on the floor in those situations and we were able to do that.”
D’Amore saw plenty of positives throughout the time she had with her kids in the summer.
“I’m still not 100 percent sure where we are going to land in terms of lineups,” she said. “We have some returning girls who have experience and are strong players and good leaders. Hopefully they will spark us. We know our conference is pretty tough across the board with teams like Glenbard South and Wheaton Academy. We know we are going to have to step up to play every night in conference.”
D’Amore noted IC returns five players who saw regular rotation action last year in Claudia Koch, Tess Reardon, Katie Harvey, Kerry Mulligan and Katie Hendricks.
“We were able to move the puzzle pieces around and see what combos work,” said D’Amore. “When we come back in a couple weeks the girls will continue to focus and work hard. They are excited and ready to go, but first they get to enjoy a break after a lot of volleyball.”
IC also ran its usual high school camp and its youth camps, which drew strong numbers.
“We had a record number of kids in the youth camps,” said D’Amore. “We have over 200 kids participating in 110-plus hours of camps in three weeks.”
IC opened the 2015 season with the start of fall practice earlier this week.
By Mike Miazga