Photo: If they play with the same intensity, The Lady Knights volleyball girls can improve even more over the last two seasons’ combined 38 wins. In coach Todd Weimer’s (right, center) regime, the fact that Kaneland was one point away from a regional match victory shows the significant progress KHS has made on the court. File Photo
Lady Knights use last year’s semifinal loss as motivation
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND-—Last year’s Class 3A regional semifinal against Glenbard South had a little bit of everything.
If you were a Kaneland volleyball fan, it had everything except a win.
Just one point away from getting to the regional final, it leaves the remaining players from the 2011 squad and returning coach Todd Weimer hungry.
“We want to win. No one is happy and we’re making sure we work hard on overcoming that tough loss versus Glenbard South,” Weimer said.
Weimer has seen much improvement in the program since he took over seven years ago, and the Lady Knights have put together back-to-back 19-win seasons.
They’re looking for more from the returnees.
“The qualities and skills are there from all of the girls. While we graduated some great kids, we have a lot of awesome newcomers. Our veterans are doing terrific so far,” Weimer said.
The great kids Weimer refers to are players like Northern Illinois Big XII player of the year Kylie Siebert, current Wichita State University Shocker Katy Dudzinski, Kourtni Bingley and Malory Groen.
While that group of players lost to graduation is significant, a solid core returns to the Kaneland roster.
The Lady Knights are lifted by senior captains Ashley Prost and Lauren Banbury, and junior captain Jenny Lubic.
Senior returnees also include Keri Groen, Lyndi Scholl and Rachael Clinton.
Varsity newcomers include juniors Ellie Strang, Meredith McCaffrey, Casey Jacobsen, Brin Wilk and Emily Laudont.
Two other newcomers to the Kaneland ranks are expected to produce big things in the form of senior Metea Valley transfer Shayna Tucek and sophomore Ellie Dunn, sister of volleyball alum Ashley Dunn.
“We just need to play great defense and work together. The stronger we work together, the more we can accomplish,” Weimer said.
The Lady Knights wish to get things going right away in regular season and conference play, and improve on their third-place finish a year ago.
“We lost four conference matches last year, two to DeKalb, one to Morris and one to Yorkville. It’s wide open and anybody’s conference. We have the tools and weapons to bring it. It’s a matter of finishing it and getting the end result in our corner,” Weimer said.
The Lady Knights opened their season at the Wheaton North Tournament this week, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 25. Their home opener is against Burlington Central on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Varsity Volleyball Schedule
• Wednesday, Aug. 22; 4:30 p.m.
At Wheaton North Tourney
• Saturday, Aug. 25; 8 a.m.
At Wheaton North Tourney
• Tuesday, Aug. 28; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Burlington-Central HS
• Tuesday, Sept. 4; 7 p.m.
At Hinckley-Big Rock HS
• Thursday, Sept. 6; 6 p.m.
At Streator High School
• Saturday, Sept. 8; 8 a.m.
At Bartlett Invite
• Tuesday, Sept. 11; 6 p.m.
At Morris High School
• Thursday, Sept. 13; 6 p.m.
Home vs. DeKalb High School
• Tuesday, Sept. 18; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Sycamore High School
• Wednesday, Sept. 19; 6 p.m.
At Rochelle Twp HS
• Tuesday, Sept. 25; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Yorkville High School
• Wednesday, Sept. 26; 5:30 p.m.
At Geneva High School
• Thursday, Sept. 27; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Ottawa Twp HS
• Thursday, Oct. 4; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Morris High School
• Saturday, Oct. 6; 8 a.m.
At Bettendorf Invite
• Tuesday, Oct. 9; 6 p.m.
At DeKalb High School
• Thursday, Oct. 11; 6 p.m.
At Sycamore High School
• Tuesday, Oct. 16; 6 p.m.
Home vs. Rochelle Twp HS
• Thursday Oct. 18; 6 p.m.
At Yorkville High School
• Saturday, Oct. 20; 8 a.m.