Girls Volleyball: Butler University right fit for Libertyville’s Webb
Libertyville's Kristen Webb (left), seen here during high school season, will play at Butler University. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:10AM
LIBERTYVILLE — As Kristen Webb tried to drum up interest from NCAA Division I collegiate volleyball programs, she saw teammates from both her high school and club teams being recruited, and started to become a little frustrated.
Back-line players — Webb is a defensive specialist entering her senior season at Libertyville High School — typically get recruited much later than hitters and setters. So Webb continued looking for the right fit, and once Butler University brought her to Indianapolis for a campus visit, she immediately became enamored with the school.
“I chose Butler because I fell in love with the campus, first of all,” Webb said. “Right when I walked on campus, I said, ‘Wow, this is a great environment.’ It was so clean and beautiful, and I could just see myself going there for four years. Then, I got to meet the coaches and the girls. I love the coaches. They made me feel so welcome and at home at Butler. At the end of the day, I fell in love with Butler and the program.”
Butler presents a number of benefits for Webb beyond an alluring campus and a quality volleyball program. The campus is located about three hours from Libertyville, which will allow Webb’s family to watch her play — and make it easier for Webb to return home for visits.
Beyond that, Butler will make the transition from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10. While the school’s shift in conferences means the Bulldogs won’t playing UIC and Loyola University in Chicago, it will allow Webb to play against former Libertyville outside hitter Catie Steffen and several of her Sky High club volleyball teammates.
“When we were talking to the coaches, we knew there was a possibility that (Butler would switch),” Webb said. “Either way, I was completely fine with it. The Horizon League has a lot of competition close to home and everything, but Catie Steffen, I’ll get to see her in college and I’ll get to play against a couple of my club teammates in college, so I’m really excited.”
Webb is ecstatic about joining Butler’s program, yet she still has a lot of volleyball to play before leaving for college. Webb and her Sky High 17 Black team, which finished fifth in the country at AAU Nationals last year, have two more national tournaments this season.
Once the club season concludes, Webb will make the transition back to high school volleyball for her fourth and final year as a Wildcat. Webb will then pass to setter Cindy Zhou, a University of Michigan recruit, during the 2012 campaign.
Webb and Zhou were competitive in middle school before being called up to Libertyville’s varsity team as freshmen. As the only two frosh on varsity, Webb and Zhou’s relationship quickly blossomed into its current state: best friends who play volleyball together for nine months.
“We knew of each other, but we weren’t friends or anything (in middle school),” Webb said. “We were kind of, like, ‘Oh, I need to get that girl, I need to beat her’ and stuff. Then we go to high school and we’re on the same team, and now we’re just best friends. We do everything together. We had the same classes together last year, we were lab partners in chemistry. She’s one of my best friends and it’s so fun to play with her, both in club and in high school.”