RIVER FOREST — After Trinity sophomore Carly Uhlir finished off a 25-15, 25-21 GCAC home win over St. Joe’s with a thunderous kill, she had no trouble finding a supportive family member.
For the Uhlirs of LaGrange Park, Trinity volleyball has always been a family affair.
Her mom, Chris Crnich Uhlir, was a three-year varsity volleyball player at Trinity and graduated in 1988, followed shortly by her two younger sisters, Ann and Kate.
“Carly is definitely more driven than I was,” Chris said. “Things were a little more laid back when I played.”
Carly’ Uhlir’s dad, Ken, is the Blazers’ head coach.
“I found out he was going to coach in July and I was so excited,” Carly Uhlir said. “He had been coaching me before in club [Triple Ace] so it was nothing new. It’s a little more intense but it’s not new to me.”
Several other Trinity players also play with Carly Uhlir on Triple Ace so they were used to the father/daughter dynamic. And they know Coach isn’t playing favorites with Carly.
“He’s hard on her but that’s because he knows how much potential she has,” said Trinity junior setter Tori Morrill. “He’s coached her for her whole life so I think they’re both used to it.”
“I know what to expect from her because I’ve been coaching her in club since sixth grade,” Ken Uhlir said. “I know what she does well and what she needs to work on and I push her hard because I have high expectations and know she can do the things we ask her to do.”
Carly Uhlir has shined in her first full season on varsity. A 5-8 outside hitter, Carly leads the team with 177 kills and 135 digs.
“I pride myself a lot on my passing, my defense and my quickness more than my offense because I’m short,” she said.
Prior to the match, Carly Uhlir was honored for making the all-GCAC Red team.
“She’s very driven and has worked hard,” Ken Uhlir said. “She’s done all the things we’ve asked her to do. Statistically she’s one of our go-to players and the thing about Carly is that she’s comfortable from hitting anywhere on the court.”
Morrill has loved setting for Carly Uhlir and the two are in synch because they worked together before the season.
“It’s been really easy because I set her in club season and now I know how to set her,” Morrill said. “She’s really used to adjusting to my set and we play well together.”
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Trinity under the first-year head coach. But after going 5-20 last year, Trinity (19-15, 4-3) had winning records overall and in the GCAC Red. The Blazers drew the No. 4 seed at the DeLaSalle Sectional and were scheduled to open the playoffs Tuesday at Proviso East.
“This has been my best season out of all my seasons,” Carly Uhlir said. “I feel like the whole team has worked so hard and everyone is starting to do a lot of high-level things. It’s really been fun to be on a team where everyone has learned so fast.”