Photo: Lady Knights participate in blocking drills last week in Kanelandâ€™s East Gym. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”Sixth-year Lady Knights volleyball coach Todd Weimer is counting on his girls tasting victory plenty in 2010, despite the sour end to the 2009 campaign.
On Oct. 29, 2009, the Lady Knights were upset by DeKalb in two games to end the season in Burlington.
KHS looks to springboard from last year’s 16-18 (6-8 Western Sun Conference) and a 13-21 (5-9 WSC) record in 2008. They’ve already improved by leaps and bounds from Weimer’s first three years in the program, which produced just seven wins combined.
It begins with four-year starter and setter Jessica Lubic, who has committed to Northern Illinois University. Lubic produces assists and the occasional ace, among other intangibles.
“(Junior) Kylie Siebert, (senior) Taylor Bradbury, (junior) Katy Dudzinski and Lubic are returning. They definitely remember the end last year,” Weimer said about the season-ender which featured Lubic going down in the first game with an ankle injury. “The motivation and desire are extremely high.”
Bradbury handles setting, while Dudzinski performs at outside hitter and Siebert at libero. “They aren’t only looking at the first match or first tournament of the season, they’re looking at the last match and going into regionals,” Weimer said.
Weimer mentioned Siebert as one who could impress the KHS faithful.
“Siebert is digging like you wouldn’t believe and it’s like ‘whoa, where did that come from?”
So far, the initial stretches of practice are what Weimer wants to see.
“So far, we’re excited. From the freshmen to sophomores to the varsity team, they are just very talented. Last time I saw them was November and just to see them come around is awesome,” Weimer said.
Kaneland will need the returnees to lend their considerable talent in order to get wins, and to influence the new varsity additions. “They all bring young and new energy, they bring court awareness and volleyball I.Q,” Weimer said.
The Lady Knights will also welcome back MacKenzie Curran to the sidelines, who flourished as a junior middle hitter but is recovering from brain surgery this spring.
“With what happened to MacKenzie, I think our motivation and desire quadrupled. We want to do really special things for our program and for her. We know she’d be playing on the court busting her butt,” Weimer said.
With a new year, comes a new 12-team conference in the Northern Illinois Big XII and an East division that includes DeKalb, Morris, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.
“I definitely like it. I think the competition and with what we’re facing I think we’ll be right at the top of our division. DeKalb’s looking pretty good and Sycamore’s looking good,” Weimer said.
The Lady Knights serve first at the Wheaton North tournament next week.
The first NIB-12 matchup comes on Saturday, Sept. 4 against Geneseo, while the regular season ends with Spikefest on Saturday, Oct. 23