2014 Volleyball Preview: Kaneland volleyball rolls on despite reset button
Seniors Brittany Grider and Elle Dunn (right) work on a blocking drill at last Friday’s practice. Junior Makenzie McMullan (below) taps the ball over the net in other practice action Friday. Photos by Patti Wilk
Violett returns to head coaching spot with consistent talent pool
KANELAND—It’s a similar story in some aspects to begin the 2014-15 season for Kaneland volleyball.
After an exciting postseason, the Lady Knights have to begin battle on the court with a new head coach once again.
Luckily for KHS, it’s one who’s had the exact position before.
Cyndi Violett, originally head coach from 1997-2001 and an assistant under both Todd Weimer and Kerri McCastland, takes over the head spot again after McCastland’s acceptance of a position within DeKalb High School’s administration.
The transition, due to Violett’s familiarity with the school, program and players, looks to be as seamless as it can get.
“There’s not really much of a learning curve for me. I’m just excited to be back,” Violett said. “I worked under Todd and Kerri and learned a lot from them, but I’m definitely excited.”
A seamless change is beneficial for both parties involved: coach and roster.
“The biggest challenge was not to change too much. We’re going to keep going so there’s not much change for the girls,” Violett said.
KHS comes off an interesting year, which saw one senior, Jenny Lubic, on a squad that took Sycamore to three games only to lose the Sandwich Regional as a No. 1 seed. The Lady Knights ended at 16-16 after a 23-13 mark in 2012 and a sectional appearance.
“We play a lot of bigger schools during the season, so that contributes to some losses, but we’re competing with them. We’re going to still have some of that, and we’re changing some tournaments up,” Violett said. “It’s great competition.”
Taking the mantle this year are seniors like future Ball State player Ellie Dunn and future Greenvile College athlete Riley Hannula, both captains in 2013. Other seniors include Anna Senese, Brittany Grider at DS and Rachel Kintz at right side hitter.
“It’s a good core group of seniors,” Violett said. “I’ll lean on them and others a lot.”
Junior Kathy Nguyen brings quickness and court sense at the libero position again, in the footsteps of Kylie Siebert.
Setters picking up the slack for Lubic include sophomore Hannah Nauert and junior Holly Fedderly.
“They are great and hardworking this offseason, you’re going to be wowed by them,” Violett said.
Looking to do damage in the refurbished Northern Illinois Big XII East division, Kaneland sees the usual suspects for conference supremacy.
“Sycamore and DeKalb will be our tough matches. A lot of our girls play club with DeKalb kids. That’s going to be some good volleyball there,” Violett said.
KHS begins the 2014-15 journey on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the usual Wheaton North Tournament stop, with the first NIB-12 match on Tuesday, Sept. 16, vs. DeKalb.