Glenbrook South’s Izzy Rapacz enhances her passing

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GLENVIEW — Izzy Rapacz, a senior at Glenbrook South, plans on continuing her volleyball career at Temple next year.

Rapacz verbally committed to the Owls in July and she has been the Titans’ best offensive player this season, but the 6-foot-2 outside hitter didn’t even intend to play volleyball when she began high school.

“Going into high school, I really didn’t like volleyball at all,” said Rapacz, who stood 5-10 as a freshman. “I hated it, so I missed tryouts because I was out of town. But during freshman orientation, Coach (Molly) McBride came up to me and asked me if I want to try out because I seemed really tall. She thought I would make a really good player on the team, and I tried out. I didn’t know how to pass or hit or anything. And then once I was able to hit, I got really confident and developed a passion for (volleyball).”

Rapacz was on the Titans’ Freshman B team that season, but Glenbrook South varsity coach Katie Hoover said she was a very influential player on the team.

Rapacz’s success as a freshman led to a shift in her priorities. Her goal in middle school was to play in the WNBA, Rapacz said, but that changed to becoming a professional volleyball player.

Her dedication to the sport over the last three years has allowed her to play three different positions — right-side hitter, middle blocker and outside hitter — between the Titans and her Rolling Thunder club volleyball team. It also has allowed her to improve her defense.

Rapacz said Temple recruited her as an outside hitter. A vital aspect of playing outside hitter at any level is being able to pass the ball.

Rapacz said she struggled to pass until this year, but she changed that by spending each Rolling Thunder practice focusing on trying to improve her defense. By working with her coaches, Rapacz became better at putting herself in the proper position defensively. That allowed her to get her body behind the ball and control her passes with greater effectiveness.

Rapacz is unquestionably the Titans’ go-to player this season, despite this being her first full season as an outside hitter. Not only is she dangerous offensively — the senior had eight kills in Glenbrook South’s 25-21, 25-17 loss to Glenbrook North on Sept. 11 — but she also can stay on the court throughout matches because she can pass the ball accurately.

“She’s a strong player, she’s a hard worker and she’s a gifted athlete,” Hoover said. “Gifted athletes can do anything if they have the right attitude, and she absolutely has the right attitude. She sets an example for everyone on the team, in terms of hard work and dedication.”

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