Volleyball: Workman spreads wealth for Chicago Christian
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media November 9, 2011 7:38PM
Chicago Christian coach James Garcia and his Knights are two wins away from defending their Class 2A state volleyball title. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media
State Volleyball semifinals
Friday (matches at Redbird Arena, Normal)Class 1A
Gibault Catholic (30-8) vs. Dakota (39-1), 9 a.m.
Springfield Lutheran (36-3) vs. Mount Pulaski (25-15), 10:30 a.m.
St. Teresa (35-3) vs. Quincy Notre Dame (27-9), noon
Chicago Christian (22-18) vs. Breese Central (32-8), 1:30 p.m.
Breese Mater Dei (37-3) vs. Wheaton St. Francis (34-6), 4:30 p.m.
Marian Catholic (24-16) vs. Woodstock Marian (34-6),
Benet (37-3) vs. St. Charles East (34-6), 7:30 p.m.
Cary-Grove (24-4) vs.
Marist (34-6), 9 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2011 8:34AM
Looking to put together the best team he can, Chicago Christian coach James Garcia isn’t particular about how old a player is.
As Garcia sees it, if a player can play, let her.
Three players on this year’s squad made the varsity as freshmen and immediately contributed: libero Celaine Haan, middle Emily Lindemulder and setter Emily Workman.
Workman, a sophomore, is the starting setter for Chicago Christian.
“There’s always been a freshman that, skill-wise, could be on varsity and contribute,” Garcia said. “Last year it was Emily. She was thrown into the fire leading this team and running the offense, and she’s done a great job.”
Looking to defend its Class 2A state title and making its third straight state finals appearance, Chicago Christian will play Breese Central at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals in Normal.
Orchestrating the offense will be Workman, who as a freshman played as a back row and serving specialist. With Madison Kamp starring at setter for the Knights, Workman was like a sponge.
“Madison was a great setter, and I was really able to look up to her and watch how good she was,” Workman said.
“She always told me to be loud on the court and be a good leader. We’re really confident this year. If we work together and stay focused, we can hopefully win the state title again.”
Playing in all of the Knights’ 40 matches, Workman has been a rock. The sophomore is second in the area with 977 assists while, also picking opponents apart from the service line with 69 aces.
The best sign of Workman’s success, though, is in the numbers of her teammates. Four players have over 190 kills, but no one has more than 260. Lindemulder leads the way with 257 kills, followed closely by Becky DeRuiter (256), Maggie Kamp (233) and Jessica Krygsheld (193).
“Emily spreads it out,” Garcia said. “The setter is like the quarterback or the point guard, except they don’t always get the credit until you see the stats and how the offense is run. She’s grown up really fast because of that.”
Workman does her best not to overthink her setting duties. She just tries to help her teammates do what they love best.
“I know our hitters always want to be hitting so they’re always ready,” Workman said with a smile. “They always want to be aggressive and put the ball down. They’re ready for anything.”
Friday’s 2A semifinal is a rematch of last season’s championship title contest, which went to the Knights in three games, 21-25, 25-14, 25-22.
Breese Central (32-8) is a similarly balanced team, led by Taylor Voss in the middle with 334 kills and 156 blocks.
The Cougars run a two-setter offense, with Casey Schulte (384 assists) and Torre Kohrmann (217 assists) while also featuring a strong defense led by Maddie Timmermann (325 digs).
For the Knights, a third straight state trip is something, but they want more.
“Losing the players we have and being there three years in a row is a huge accomplishment,” Garcia said. “But of course we want to win it all. If we play our game and minimize mistakes, we will be successful.”