Girls Volleyball: Carolyn Yerkes steps up as Marist’s leader
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org October 7, 2013 9:56PM
Carolyn Yerkes, of Marist. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 9, 2013 6:18AM
Carolyn Yerkes has had a lot of leaders in her life, with seven older brothers and sisters and two seasons worth of upperclassmen.
To say she’s ready to set the pace for Marist on the volleyball court as a senior wouldn’t be an understatement.
“I like being a leader,” Yerkes said. “The younger girls look up to me, and I like that. I tell them what’s right and what to do, and they take it out on the court and do it well.”
Indeed, the largely inexperienced RedHawks have grown up in a hurry. Saturday, they improved their record to 17-7 by capturing the Silver Division crown at the Asics Challenge.
Among their victories was a tough three-set match against Southland powerhouse Sandburg, in which Yerkes had 21 digs.
It’s been a stellar season so far for the 5-foot-7 libero, who in 24 matches has recorded 375 digs.
In 2012, Yerkes totaled 475 digs, 120 service points and 30 aces, garnering All-Area honors.
All of her brothers and sisters played high school volleyball: Katie at Mount Assisi, and Nick, Tony, Matt, Ed, David and John at Marist.
Carolyn makes it eight.
“I grew up all around it,” Carolyn Yerkes said. “At family parties we are all pretty competitive and love to play.”
It wasn’t always easy for the “baby” of the family.
“My brothers would always toughen me up,” Yerkes said, smiling. “But I would always spend time at their volleyball games, constantly watching them.”
Yerkes, 17, of Palos Heights, is in her third full season on the RedHawks varsity.
During her freshman year at Marist, she played outside hitter. At the end of the season, she was moved up to the varsity for the state playoffs as a defensive specialist. She took to it quickly, and in her sophomore season helped Marist reach state.
“She’s our staple. She’s our rock, as we like to call her,” Marist coach Julie Popp-Hopkins said. “She steps up, brings the best out of her teammates. She’s a great kid. She really is.
“As a defender, she’s one of the best. She can go out there and react, because she practices that hard. Our big thing is muscle memory. That’s what happens (to her). When she gets into the game and gets into those tight situations she can just move, just react. That’s really good.”
Yerkes is undecided on her college choice, but knows what she wants out of her senior season at Marist.
“Going as far as we can get, having fun and great memories,” she said. “And leaving it all on that floor.
“I just love it. It means everything to me. Having fun and just going out there and giving it your all is the best part.”