Girls’ volleyball makes it to sectional championship

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Girls’ volleyball makes it to sectional championship

Girls volleyball after winning regionals

Girls volleyball after winning regionals

Girls volleyball after winning regionals

Girls volleyball after winning regionals

Calvin Roe, Staffer

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When head coach Kelly Collins entered this season, her volleyball squad had five returning seniors. Months later, these players would lead the team to win regionals for the second straight season.

“The seniors have all been on varsity for three or four years,” says Collins. “They did a really nice job leading the younger kids on our team.”

Co-captains Natalie Chizzo and Alex Weisman were both tasked at the beginning of the year with taking leadership roles. “The culture Alex and I wanted to create was always very competitive,” says Chizzo. “It’s one thing to hear it from a coach and it’s another thing to hear it from a senior.”

Chizzo, who is committed to play at Northwestern, also pushed the team’s motto of “one way, our way.” “We were never beaten by teams; we were beaten by ourselves. We needed to find our true identity,” says Chizzo.

The team’s regular season was highlighted with a match against cross-town rival Fenwick. Last year, OPRF lost in three sets at home to Fenwick, but this season came back with a win on the Friars’ home court.

“That atmosphere was really loud,” says Collins. “It’s a small gym and the fans are as close as they can be.”

With the win against Fenwick, the Huskies improved their record to 13-12, adding momentum to their playoff run with a new winning record.

Sophomore Cate Wollmuth, who got her first varsity playing time during the playoffs, immediately got a sense of the seniors’ character. “The seniors were always kind but serious when they needed to be,” she says. “Their spirit and energy transferred to everyone else on the team, making everyone play better.”

Earlier in the season, OPRF lost to Lyons Township, both home and away. But in a rematch for their regional championship, they didn’t miss a beat. “The kids had a great sense of urgency to come out strong,” Collins says. “Playoff atmosphere always feels and looks different, just because everyone knows it’s win or go home.”

OPRF dominated the first set, winning 25-14. Even after a late timeout, the third-seeded Lions couldn’t stop the Huskies, who won with a 25-13 set.

The following game, the sectional championship, against Mother McAuley would end the Huskies’ impressive playoff run. Despite the loss, the seniors’ legacy provides the program the foundation for a strong future for OPRF girls volleyball.

“The legacy for our class is leadership,” Chizzo says, “laying the foundation to show OPRF volleyball is a competitive program for years to come.”