In the five years they spent playing together on Wildcat Juniors club volleyball teams, Taylor Tashima and Haley Fauntleroy heard several horror stories about what life can be like on a team with poor chemistry.
The stories center around internal drama, the recent New Trier graduates both said, with one or two players upset about playing time. That bitterness eventually ends up eroding the squad’s cohesion.
Tashima and Fauntleroy never experienced that on their Wildcat Juniors teams, however. In fact, it was the complete opposite — especially this year. “I was just at a graduation party, talking to a girl who played for another high school team and she said she hated club. … She didn’t like her team, didn’t get along with them and didn’t even want to go to practices,” Fauntleroy said. “But I wake up in the morning and get home from school, excited to go to practices because I just want to be with my team.”
Fauntleroy, Tashima and recent Loyola graduates Kelsey O’Neill and Victoria Lord used words like family, sisters and best friends to describe their teammates on Wildcat Juniors 18 Black this year. Regardless of terminology, it’s clear how much they care for their teammates, which included New Trier’s M.C. Magner, Niles West’s Olivia Rusek, St. Ignatius’ Jana Brusek, Glenbrook North’s Lauren Emmert and Highland Park’s Stela Kukoc.Loyola Academy, New Trier High School