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Volleyball (Girls Varsity) Cathedral High School

Season Preview: Girls Volleyball

By Tyler McClure | Aug 21, 2023 9:42 AM


Aspirations are high, and the future feels bright. Cathedral High School girls volleyball, one of the state of Indiana’s most tradition-rich programs, has a chance to add to that success in 2023. That’s a good feeling, and Karrie Quenichet said it’s an optimistic outlook the ’23 Irish have earned. “Credit to them,” Quenichet said. “I can't coach them in the offseason, but they took the things they needed to improve on and it's impressive. As coaches we're all like, ‘Yes. Nice.’’’ The Irish, who went 23-10 and advanced to the Class 4A regional tournament in 2022, enter their second season under Quenichet in 2023 and started the season 6-0 through August 19. If the first season under Quenichet was about reestablishing a strong culture to blend with tradition, she said Year 2 is about further solidifying the program and taking advantage of a strong roster with potential for a deep postseason run. The Irish in ’23 will be led by a strong senior class, one Quenichet assumed leadership roles in the offseason.” “They want to commit to each other, from seniors down to freshman,” Quenichet said. “That was an emphasis last year and we want to keep that going. That’s how the seniors want to keep reestablishing the Cathedral tradition. We really wanted to emphasize that everybody can be a leader.” The coaching staff’s theme for the season focuses on the same commitment theme, with an added focus on going from a competitive program that went 6-5 in five-set matches in 2022 to one that wins competitive matches consistently in the biggest situations. That’s why the team’s ’23 practice shirts say, “Nothing comes easy.” “We’re trying to push that leadership as that ‘it factor’ to get us over the hump and give us some of that grit and resilience that we're aiming for this year,” Quenichet said. “We were definitely seeing what needed to happen and the girls really bought into that.” Quenichet said she was pleased with the progress in her first season in many areas, including reestablishing and building on the family feel of a program that has won eight Indiana state girls volleyball titles. “It's something that's very special and can't be created everywhere,” she said. “I wanted to capitalize on that last year, tap back into that, and make sure the girls felt proud of that history and that it wasn’t something that they wanted to shy away from. There was a feeling of, ‘Hey, we want to get back on the map.’ “We were trying to get away from operating as individuals, kind of coming to the table with individual goals and reestablishing that we can hit our individual goals by striving for our team goals.” If team goals entering ’23 are high, Quenichet said it’s because the Irish’s potential is “state-championship-caliber.” “It really is,” she said. “For those girls to go work on those things and come back … they're high achievers. They want to put the work in.” The ’23 Irish will be led by a group of solid seniors, including Taylor Lewis, who will play collegiately at Villanova and who enters the season as one of the area’s top players. She transitioned from middle to outside hitter last season and Quenichet said she has “dramatically” improved since the ’22 season. “She’s a big producer on our team,” Quenichet said. Also key: Senior setter Kamryn Utley, an athletic player who has committed to Lehigh and is one of the area’s top setters, and two underclassmen middles: Sophomore Avery Lewis and junior Josie Myers. “They were sink or swim last year for them,” Quenichet said of the underclassmen. “They've risen to the occasion and also put the work in the offseason. Where other teams didn't have to worry too much about them with their offense last year, this year they're going to definitely have to worry about them.” Also key for the Irish in ’23: A strong freshman class that will feature two varsity players and two dual varsity/junior varsity players. “They're pretty good and they're going be able to be impact players right off the bat,” she said. Senior outside hitter Jordan Peter and Addie Bakemeyer also will provide depth and leadership, as will junior Kate Kubacki, with sophomore Annabelle Hoban the likely Libero after a strong summer of improvement on a team that improved and prepared for what could be a strong ’23 season. “They put in the work in, all of those pieces have come back to where we're a very dynamic offense,” Quenichet said. “We have a nice attack out of middle back and can even offer a swing on and right back as well as all three positions in the front row. We have a setter that can move the ball around really fast. That's exciting and that's only going to get better and that's going to make us very hard to defend. Our defense is what needs to catch up now. “That just comes with being on the court together. They've all been playing club for different teams. They kind of have a different defensive system and they're playing against different girls and then they come back to us and they have to get used to playing next to each other again. “That’s where resiliency and that grit piece need to come in.”

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