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Girls Volleyball: Volleyball in bloodlines for Lincoln-Way Central standout Maria Brown

MariBrown Lincoln-Way Central | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

Maria Brown, of Lincoln-Way Central | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 11, 2013 6:18AM



Having Mom or Dad as your head coach can be problematic for a high school athlete.

Having Lincoln-Way North’s Mary Brown as the opposing coach, however, brings a different, albeit mostly humorous, set of issues for Lincoln-Way Central senior Maria Brown.

For instance, there are the days leading up to when the two Lincoln-Ways collide head to head.

“It’s mostly fun,” Maria Brown said. “Playing her is awesome, and it’s funny sometimes trying to get secrets from each other. She’ll try to casually bring up what our plays are going to be and I’m like, ‘Wait. No, I’m not telling you any of this.’

“One time she got really mad at me. I went in her binder with all of her plays and stuff in it — and then I might have told my coach a few of them. She was mad, but then she laughed and switched them up before the game.”

Beyond the mind games, Maria Brown plays one of the most powerful games in the area. The 5-foot-7 senior outside hitter from New Lenox landed 280 kills in 2012, and in her third varsity season is off to a good start with 26 in three matches for the 3-0 Knights.

She doesn’t hit the ball softly.

“Actually, I lift a lot,” Brown said, laughing. “My mom and dad, they lift and run and stuff, so I guess it’s a family thing. And my mom and siblings, they all had really good verticals. Thankfully, I was blessed with a vertical like them, so even though I’m not the tallest I can still get up enough.”

Brown’s abilities extend well beyond her hitting duties. She’s also one of the Knights’ best defenders, with a team-leading 50 digs. She also has 26 service points, collecting three aces along the way.

“Maria is such a dynamic, explosive outside hitter and an all-around player and threat from the front and back row,” Knights coach Kathy Sulkowski said. “She is a game-changer for us.”

Brown said there never was any doubt that volleyball would be her No. 1 sport, but not because of any family pressure.

“It was always whatever the kids wanted to do, but I was always into it,” she said. “At the older kids’ tournaments I would always pick up a ball and play. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play.”

Brown evolved from a setter into an outside hitter on her first club team at age 11 and developed steadily from there. During her sophomore season at Central she was a solid go-to option for Knights setter Kaitlin Siadek.

In 2012, she was the No. 1 option. Volleyball was the right choice.

“It’s my life. Ever since I was young and, hopefully, I guess the last four years of college ... it’s what my passion is for,” Brown said. “I was blessed by God with the talent to play this sport. After college, I hope to continue to play, whether beach or a coed team.”



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