Girls volleyball worked hard, built relationships this season


The excitement and team collaboration that comes with volleyball is unmatched. This year’s DePaul Prep Volleyball team walked into the season ready for hard work and determination.

Head Coach Gajzler expressed that “Although our record may not have shown the best representation of how our season went, I was really proud of the girl’s dedication and work ethic overall.” 

With a record of 18-15- 1 the team finished third in their conference. Though they were unable to accomplish some of their goals of ranking out at a higher place, the team was presented with many highs when carrying out many challenging games.

The girls were able to put up a win against rivals Lane Tech, serving as one of their most favorable and memorable season highlights.

Sophomore Ava Wilson spoke about their experience at the game. Ava is a two year Varsity player, starting her freshman year in 2021.

“We started the season off super strong with the Lane game. It was fun because the team brought a lot of excitement and energy and we ended up winning.”

Additionally, Coach Gajzler specifically acknowledged the girls’ well played game against ICCP. Though the girls did not take the win, they brought a battle and played one of their best games of the season. 

“Our game against ICCP was our peak of the season. I’m proud of how the girls competed against such a competitive team. They ended up taking second in state and I feel like everyone contributed well.”

Teamwork was something that the team both struggled and thrived with at times. Both the coaches and participants expressed their love for team bonding and working together not only throughout the season but in school as well. 

“I think teaching and being in the building has strengthened my relationship with the girls because I get to see them throughout the day. They can stop in my office if they need anything and just giving that support is amazing. Our relationships have definitely grown over the years,” Coach Gajzler said.

Senior Delaney Kelly added, “For the most part I got along well with the teammates but there were some complications that we were able to work through in the end. But I thought that getting closer with teammates and making close friends through the team was definitely my highlight of the season”

Senior and four year varsity player Cat Corkery explained that joining the program opened her up to new relationships. 

“I formed unexpected friendships and became closer to girls on my team and even became really close with a sophomore on the team which I would’ve never expected.” 

Coach Gajzler not only takes into account her relationships with the players but values the relationship that she has built with her co-workers and how working with the other varsity coach, Coach Hughes, impacts her.

“This is probably my favorite coaching staff in all of my years of coaching and Coach Hughes is my right hand man. He has a lot of coaching experience not only as a high school but also as a D1 coach at the University of Iowa. Getting to feed off of his experience is awesome.”

The girls ended their 2022 season with a senior night to remember. Corkery expressed her appreciation for the staff and program for putting together a memorable night and season for the seniors. 

“Out of all the past seniors I know, it was definitely the best senior season yet. Not only did I make new friends on the team but the senior night production that all of the parents, players, and coaches put up for us was incredible.”

When looking ahead into next year’s season, there is always room to improve. Going forward the players and coaches feel strongly about addressing their weaknesses and achieving improvements to make the team stronger. 

“We struggled with consistency and confidence at times. We had seven sophomores this year so we are going to have a team full of upperclassmen this year so everyone is going to bring a varsity level competitiveness this upcoming season,” Coach Gajzler said.

“I’m hoping that in the upcoming year we can acquire better equipment and facilities to practice and showcase our skills,” Ava Wilson said.

The players also encouraged those interested but hesitant to join or try out for the DePaul Prep Volleyball program. 

“Although the volleyball program is growing fast, that’s no reason not to tryout. If I would’ve never tried out my freshman year I would never have met my best friend and I’m really thankful to volleyball for bringing us close. The experience and the friendships you make are amazing and definitely something no one should miss out on,” Corkery said.

All in all the players put in hard work and dedication into this program this season. The girls did well at working through challenges thrown in their paths and sticking by each other’s side.

“It was definitely an experience I’ll remember for a long time. It was complicated and hard but I still wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Corkery said.