Girls volleyball: Talented Hersey has great expectations
Six starters back.
No wonder Hersey girls volleyball coach Nancy Lill believes this could be a special season for the defending Mid-Suburban East co-champions who were 9-1 and 29-10 overall after falling in a tough three-set match to Loyola in the 2018 Class AA sectional semifinal.
"Our expectations are very high," said Lill, who is just 22 wins shy of reaching 1,000 wins in her 32nd season in charge. "Our goals are to be MSL East Champions, conference champions and make a very long state run."
Leading the way is 5-foot-11 senior Kati Kaburov, the 2018 Daily Herald All-Area Team Captain who has already committed to Boston College.
She's got a splendid supporting cast with senior middle blockers Janine Boyan and Juliette Vandenherik, setter Kayla Eshoo, libero Maddie Mullen, and outside hitters Nora Zielke and Kate Lubbe.
Kaburov is enjoying an outstanding four-year career at Hersey. After putting down 420 kills last fall, she is on track to pass Hersey great Megan Fesl (Notre Dame) for the school's all-time kill record.
The 6-foot-1 Vandenherik, an Emery Riddle (AZ) recruit, put down 116 kills and 97 blocks while Boyan clubbed 102 with 79 blocks. Both have started since their sophomore year.
Running the offense will be Eshoo, a senior who was all-conference last fall as she handed out 622 assists and served 42 aces.
The 5-5 Mullin, a junior, returns in the backcourt where she collected 412 digs last year.
Zielke, a 5-9 St. Olaf recruit, saw action as a starter for nearly half of last season, registering 65 kills. The 6-foot Lubbe had 61 blocks as the starting right side hitter.
"We have nearly the entire team back from last year," said Lill, whose newcomers include Olivia Mellen (5-5 So. DS), Allie Korba (5-8 So. S), Sydney Pape (5-7 Sr. DS), Ellie Muglia (5-9 Jr. OH), Kayla Kamp (5-7 Sr DS), Morgan Breden (5-10 Sr. MH/RH) and Lauren Lubbe (6-0, So. MH).
"We have a tall, experienced and powerful team," Lil added. "Our backcourt play will be crucial to our success this year. Everyone has taken the next step from last season so we are very excited about the potential of this team. We have had a great summer and are ready to go."