Carmel’s Barry ready — and willing — to take charge
Carmel's Alyssa Armada celebrates a point during last week's match against Lake Zurich. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 4:09PM
MUNDELEIN — Just a few weeks after Carmel’s 2011 volleyball season had ended, one player couldn’t wait for 2012 to begin.
Right before Thanksgiving break in November, Corsairs coach Dave Pazely was speaking with Caitlin Barry, then a junior. And the conversation wasn’t about turkey and stuffing.
“She was asking questions, ‘what can we do in the offseason? Can we have open gym? What about weight-lifting and conditioning?’ ” said Pazely. “Ever since last season ended she’s been talking about this season.”
This is what leaders do. Speak out of turn for the betterment of the greater good. And while Barry was born with these qualities, they were developed through the powers of observation.
Sitting behind stars Taylor Pippen and Jessie Wayland on Carmel’s sectional-winning team of 2011, Barry learned the valuable concept of paying it forward.
“I was more the watcher. I had four senior setters ahead of me. It was my turn to watch and learn,” said Barry. “(This year) I’ll be able to help the girls who want to be in my position next year.”
More specifically, Barry understands volleyball is a game of emotion, where momentum can swing as frequent as a playground see-saw. That played out during the Corsairs’ two-set win over Lake Zurich Aug. 21. Down seven in the first set, Carmel rallied to win 25-23. Although the serving of Sierra Kepski kept the Bears off-balance, it was Barry taking charge in the huddle between points, encouraging the Corsairs to keep pushing.
“We talk about it all the time. When our energy is low we get in a rut and we can’t dig ourselves out,” said Barry. “So when we are down and keep making mistakes that energy brings us back up.”
Another offseason playing for the club team Net Force out of Waukegan has given Barry more strength with her sets. Now, she can push her sets further, closer to the front line for hitters Alyssa Armada and Grace Schofield to finish their swings.
This evolution of Barry as an athlete is an example of what can happen when one understands how to listen intently, wait your turn, then act on learned principals.
“She had definitely found her voice and has completely embraced that role,” said Pazely. “There is no hesitation in anything she does because (her teammates) trust her so much.”
Recap: Carmel has picked up where they left off in 2011, winning their first three matches. Barry led the team with seven kills in the win over Lake Zurich.
Last Thursday, the Corsairs hammered Bishop McNamara 25-9, 25-12. Armada and Schofield had six kills each. Armada added seven assists. Shauna Meagher had six digs.
In the season opener on Aug. 20, Carmel beat Warren in three sets 26-24, 23-25, 25-18. Leaders in kills were Barry (9), Armada (7) and Schofield (6). Maura Zawaski added nine digs while Elizabeth Rengers had seven blocks.
Off the Notepad: Pazely has two players going all the way around the court this season, Barry and Armada. A transfer from Loyola Academy, Armada can play both outside and set. She is similar to Berry not only in skill, but leadership. She has been named one of the team’s captain, rare for a first-year player.
“She became friends with everyone during summer league. She didn’t necessarily want to be a captain but you could tell she would be a leader whether she had that official title or not,” said Pazely.
Other contributors are expected to be setter Mary Paterkiewicz and libero Leah Mowery.
On the schedule: Carmel travels to Marian Central today and then plays in the Rams Slam tournament Saturday at Grayslake Central.