Wildcat Girls’ volleyball team plants seeds for future success

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Photo by Wego Volleyball Twitter

The 2021 girls’ volleyball team poses after a win.

By Chuck Baumgartner, Reporter

The West Chicago girls’ volleyball season ended on October 28 at the regional final at Addison Trail High School. They played a hard-fought game against Wheaton Warrenville South, but came up short in 2 sets.

The girls’ Varsity volleyball team finished 25-9 overall. In conference, they finished second with a record of 8-1. The Wildcats ended with 4 Upstate Eight all-conference players: junior Brianna Gromos, and seniors Brianna Pechman, Lyniah Lee, and Marie Lowell.

The girls’ volleyball team’s defense was strong this year.

Coach Pam Pater praised the team: “In the past, teams didn’t expect a whole lot out of West Chicago Volleyball, but this team changed that reputation.  Teams started talking about us and knew that we were always going to be a tough opponent.” 

The team attributed much of their success to the connections between its players. Senior Marla Chavez stated, “Our team bonded instantly – it was pretty cool! We had a great season and I am proud of the team and so grateful I was able to be a part of it.”

In addition to the bond between the players, this season’s  Wildcats specialized in defense. The defense was led by the Lowell sisters, senior libero and team captain Marie, who had 421 digs and 311 serve receptions, and sophomore Ava, who finished with 159 digs. Defensive player Gromos had 198 digs and 135 serve receptions.  

The Wildcats also had strong hands at the front: Pechman led the team in total blocks with 30, and Lee followed with 29 total blocks.

Manager Ethan Martins, senior, praised the team: “Their defense is really good. Trying to cover all open spots on the floor, setting up an efficient offense.”

That said, the offense was also solid in 2021. Varsity’s offense was led by Gromos who had 202 kills on the season, and Lee completed the season with 118 kills, and an attacking percentage of .244. Sophomore Trinity Nelson, a distributor, had 525 assists on the season, averaging 7.8 assists per set.

When asked about the offense, Nelson reflected, “We set a lot more back row attacks this season. We ran back sets for the middle hitters to trick the middle blockers. We also had the right side hitter hit middle to get the opposing blockers out of sync. We had very strong and aggressive hitters.”

The 2021-22 girls’ volleyball team. (Photo by Charlie Baumgartner)

The team – which also includes seniors Natalie Larson and Kaila Palczinski, juniors Katie McGlynn and Kayla Sennese, and sophomores Gia Rotger, Regan Miessler and Maggie White – clearly hit its stride this year.

Photo by Charlie Baumgartner

Pater stated, “This team has been one of the best teams I have coached. They never stopped working for each other and the coaching staff.  They had so much fight and determination throughout the entire season, it was so fun to watch them play.”

With a great season behind them, the girls’ volleyball program looks to build off of the momentum for years to come. 

Junior Brianna Gromos said she looks forward to “making new friends, excited to have another good season and try to get a good record” next year.

While the Wildcats lose many important seniors at the end of the year, they still have a strong foundation returning next year in the underclassmen, who will continue the success of the program. It will be interesting to see who steps into leadership positions following the seniors’ departure.

Pater said, “I will miss this group of girls, but I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for West Chicago Volleyball.”