A big part of Hinsdale Central volleyball history will come to an end Thursday when senior Regan Serwat plays her final home match against Downers Grove South.
Serwat grew up smacking volleyballs around the school’s gymnasium while her father, Len, coached in the Red Devils’ girls and boys volleyball programs. Len Serwat was the school’s first varsity boys volleyball coach in 1998 and retired three years ago, but has remained as an assistant coach.
He also has been coaching the girls freshman A team for the past eight years. His squad typically plays before the varsity match starts at 6 p.m. and Len Serwat is planning to be present to watch Regan play her last home match.
“I was always here with my dad when I was younger,” Regan Serwat said. “My mom [Claudia] and my sister [Morgan] would run down to talk to him [after matches].”
Len Serwat plans to retire entirely from coaching volleyball following this school year. He also is stepping down after 33 years as a physical education teacher.
Regan Serwat, a 5-9 right side hitter, was already honored with her parents at Hinsdale Central’s Senior Night Oct. 7 before the Devils’ 17-25, 25-20, 25-23 victory over Lyons.
“It’s a great sport. I love watching it,” Len Serwat said. “I will watch club tournaments. Even when Regan is off the court, I will watch other teams play, even if I don’t know anybody on the team.”
Len Serwat graduated from Hinsdale Central in 1976 and began playing sand volleyball while attending Arizona State. When he returned home, he picked up wallyball on the racquetball courts at the Oak Brook Tennis Club.
Longtime Hinsdale Central staff members call Len Serwat by his nickname “Doc” that he earned during his previous position as the school’s athletic trainer.
One of Regan Serwat’s greatest thrills of her playing career was being coached by her father on the freshman A team.
One year earlier, when Regan Serwat played for Clarendon Hills Middle School, Len brought the entire Hinsdale Central boys volleyball to her conference championship-clinching match against Indian Trails Middle School.
Regan Serwat’s seventh-grade team that also won conference included current Devils teammates Brooke Istvan, Nicki Hilbrich, Claire Cornell and Lauren Fuller.
Regan Serwat played lacrosse, basketball, soccer and competed in swimming and track and field in her younger days. She eventually found her passion in middle school. Her friends Hilbrich and Alex Davis convinced her to come out for the Sports Performance volleyball club while in eighth grade.
Devils coach Kelly Stapleton is in her third season with the Hinsdale Central varsity and during the offseason coaches at Sports Performance and has seen Regan Serwat play in club tournaments.
“Growing up with the game for so long, you can tell she wants to be good,” Stapleton said. “She’s impressed everybody. She has such a high volleyball IQ. By watching her, you can tell she has played since the time she was little.”
Lyons defeated host Hinsdale Central 24-20, 25-16 on Oct. 7 to maintain control of first place in the West Suburban Silver and the Devils (20-6, 3-1) finished fifth out of 24 teams Saturday at the St. Charles East Mizuno Cup at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora. Hinsdale Central won four of five matches while Fuller was named to the all-tournament team.