Varsity juniors asked to provide senior leadership

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Since the club season concluded in June, July is devoted to the high school programs across the Chicago area.

In June, Hinsdale Central junior middle hitter Claire Cornell played for the Western Springs-based Lions Juniors 16 Red, while setter Leah Ferro played for the Lions Juniors 16-1.

“Our team was up and down all season,” Cornell said. “By the end, we were clicking.”

When Cornell, Ferro and the rest of their Hinsdale Central teammates began summer workouts a few weeks ago under second-year coach Kelly Moran, the Red Devils had a new look. Their 6-foot-3 setter of a year ago, Meghan McDowell, has graduated and plans to head off to Virginia in the fall.

Cornell, a 5-11 native of Hinsdale, is playing in the Devils’ Tuesday summer league at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora. The Red Devils’ immediate goal is developing chemistry with returning setter Brooke Istvan and newcomer Ferro.

Both setters are juniors. That’s hardly surprising, since Hinsdale Central is loaded with juniors. The Devils only have three seniors — Emily Wasz, Kyle Irvin and Ellie Sidler — but none started last season.

Other top returnees are libero Alex Davis, outside hitter Lauren Fuller and right-side hitter Regan Serwat, all members of the Class of 2015.

“All the juniors are saying, ‘It’s our time to be in the spotlight,’ ” Moran said.

In summer league matches, Moran alternated setters Istvan and Ferro, although there is no guarantee the Devils will use a two-setter offense this fall. They begin the varsity season Aug. 28 at Hersey, where Moran played under coach Nancy Lill.

“We have a lot of new players up on varsity,” Cornell said. “We are learning to work together. Instead of one person as our leader, we have different people unlike last year.”

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