Gibault volleyball looks to repeat last year’s success - Republic-Times | News

Gibault volleyball looks to repeat last year’s success

By on August 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm

By MARK HODAPP – Sports Editor 

Last year, Gibault volleyball coach Heather Ebert predicted her team would have an “awesome” year.

Her bunch didn’t disappoint.

They made the school’s first appearance in the state volleyball tournament, finishing fourth.

The second-year coach said her team will have another “awesome” year this fall.

This prediction might surprise some so-called volleyball “experts” since Gibault graduated two all-state players in outside hitter Hannah Wessel, who had 281 kills, 197 digs, 73 blocks last season and libero Erin Goldschmidt, who led the Hawks with 528 digs.

But the Hawks, who opened  their season on Monday hosting Red Bud, look sharp early.

“I know most people think since we lost six seniors, we are going to have a rebuilding year,” Ebert said.

“But that’s not true.”

Gibault is returning a number of talented players including junior rightside hitter  Missy Kimlinger, who had 29 kills and 7 blocks last fall, and middle back Courtney Schutt. Last year, Schutt had 193 kills, 127 blocks and 78 digs.

“Courtney is  player who can hit anywhere,” Ebert said.

Ebert is expecting big things from Kimlinger, who worked hard during the offseason, she said.

Kimlinger is not only a good team leader, but she is also one of the team’s best blockers.

Senior Courtney Loveau is also expected to have a big season as the Hawks setter this fall. Last year, she had 520 assists, 89 kills and 126 digs.

Gibault is also returning junior middle back Katy Gyore, who had 133 kills and 183 blocks a year ago, and junior rightside hitter/setter Brittany Laurent. Last year, Laurent had 58 kills, 23 blocks, 63 assists and 16 kills.

The Hawks also have a strong incoming freshmen class, including Lauren Goldschmidt, Erin Goldschmidt’s younger sister.

“So, I’m not too worried,” Ebert said.

The Gibault coach doesn’t seem too concerned her team was bumped up to Class 2A by the Illinois High School Association as a part of their ongoing reclassification process.

“I’m ready for the girls to do just as good they did last year,” Ebert said.

Last year, Dakota defeated Gibault, 25-18, 25-20, in the Class 1A state semifinals at Redbird Arena. Dakota (41-1) went on to win their first-ever state title.

Gibault (32-10) finished fourth.

Ebert said she believes it will be an easy transition moving up to a larger class, noting her team had success playing Class 4A schools last season.

“We also held our own playing Class 2A and 3A schools,” she added.

“And we don’t base our season on who is 1A or 2A.”

But Ebert doesn’t want her bunch to rest on their laurels.

“Sure, the girls are still talking about last year, but they are also looking for ways to improve,” she said.

Ebert also does not believe her bunch feels any added pressure because of last year’s state experience.

“It’s more of a drive,” she said. “They want it.”

To view the Gibault Volleyball video preview, click here.

Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.