HERRIN (WSIL)-- Going into the program’s 5th season Head Coach Karen Jurich says everything is finally coming together. The emphasis is on building team chemistry and finding a way to win.
"Nowadays everybody practices, everybody puts the time in to win, everybody plays in the summer,” said Coach Jurich. “Last summer we played 35 matches in the summer. Everybody is doing all of that. What is the difference that is going to make you stand out from another team? Everybody is practicing everybody is playing the games. It’s going to have to be the bonding and the teamwork and finding a reason to push on when you don’t feel like it."
Last season the Tigers made it to the regional finals. Coach wants to build off previous success.
"We’ve been right at the 500 mark the first 3 years and then last year was a breakout year," said coach Jurich. "We did have the 21 win season. We do have a lot of returning starters, lost a few key players, but I feel like I have younger players who have bought into the program and believe that if you are in the gym you are getting better and have worked very hard to be ready to go. So, were going to be counting pretty heavily on a couple of freshman also, but I think it is going to be a good mix with the experience we have returning."
The tigers have 6 seniors that ready to put the team first the get the job done.
“There is a lot of leadership involved in being a senior and there are 6 of us so I think we can do that very well,” said senior middle hitter Julia Mohr. “ We work together very well as a team. As far as the guidelines and stuff I feel there is more of a responsibility because so much more guidance and rules as to what we can and can’t do as a team. “
“As a senior, I just want to step up and be a good role model for the younger players and just lead the team in general just by being motivating on and off the court at practice, at games, at everything,” said senior libero Kelsey Jurich.”
The lady tigers are happy to be back experiencing their favorite parts of the game
“I just love passing, getting to dive all over the floor and just going for everything,” said Jurich. “It’s just the best ever.”
“The rush whenever you go up to block or hit the ball and you’re placing it and you just see the court from above and deciding where you are going to put that hit,” said Mohr.
“There all my pretty close friends, we’ve come really close over the years and I just want to enjoy the last year that we have together and play with all we got,” said senior middle hitter Ansley Farmer.
This team’s quick offense will be one to keep an eye on with four year varsity setter Whitney Keel at the helm.
“That’s a luxury that a lot of school’s don’t have. So, we’re looking forward to her running the offense. She knows the system. She knows the hitters. She is like our quarterback out there. She is a leader. So new are looking forward to the seniors knowing the drills and what to say when I’m not around and I think that is the most important part."
For Karen Jurich this year is special. It's her final season coaching her daughter. Going into her 29th season of coaching, she’s been a big part of her daughter’s athletic career.
"Always," said Jurich. "Even before high school volleyball, junior high volleyball, soccer, little league literally everything."
"It’s just a unique experience," said Coach Jurich. "It was a little difficult I think in the beginning, but we have kind of reached a goal where we both want to win.We are both very competitive and I think we have been able to work through some of the issues that come up. I have watched videos of other professional coaches that coach their kids and I just know you’re going to have some disagreements sometimes. But, she knows I want the best for her and she knows that I expect a lot out of her. I don’t give her praise if she doesn’t deserve it. So when she does get praise, she knows she has earned it."
"Sometimes its hard to separate mom and coach but in general it’s really rewarding because I get to spend time with my mom that most people don’t get to spend with their mom," said Jurich. "And I appreciate that time I get to spend with her so I do love having my mom as my coach but it is hard sometimes and I have tow work through that and she has to work through that. But I know I am helpful when she forgets how to do a drill and I help remind her how to do the drill so it works good both ways."