Although she hasn't been playing volleyball for as long as she's been playing softball and basketball, Mt. Vernon Township High School senior Kelby Kujawa has decided that playing volleyball beyond high school is too good of an offer to pass up.
Kujawa recently signed her national letter of intent to join coach Kim Rahar and the Kaskaskia College Blue Angels as part of the growing recruiting class that features nine incoming players to the program next season.
"I'm really looking forward to having her on the front line," said Rahar. "She'll definitely be filling some shoes. We're losing six players from last year."
Kujawa says it wasn't just one moment that hooked her into volleyball, but the style of competition that takes places in a match.
She adds that one of the things she loves about volleyball is the emphasis put on the team, which fits well with Kujawa at Kaskaskia.
"Coming into high school I didn't have a lot of volleyball experience," said Kujawa. "I learned to grow with the sport and I ended up loving it. It's exciting to be able to continue it in college and having the chance to have my academics paid for."
Angie Higgins has coached the Lady Rams' volleyball team for two seasons and has been impressed with the dedication that Kujawa puts in to make herself an overall better player.
"She's just a great player overall and tries to motivate the girls," said Higgins. "She's always trying her best, so I'm glad she's able to play next year. Kaskaskia is lucky to have her."
For those who have attended Mt. Vernon volleyball matches, many may have noticed Kujawa's different approach to serving the ball by using a jump start. "I started working on it my sophomore year," said Kujawa. "My junior year I got better, but I didn't use it in any games. My senior year, I finally got the chance to put it to the test and try it in games and it started really working.
Pictured (seated) is Kelby Kujawa (center) and her parents Julie and Craig Kujawa. In back is KC Coach Kim Rahar and Mt. Vernon coach Angie Higgins.