Ariah Palter puts sand skills to good use with Lions

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Ariah Palter is back to doing what she does best for Lyons’ girls volleyball team.

With Wisconsin-bound senior Hannah Juley back at setter, Palter returned to outside hitter for Lyons, which swept three opponents in the Lyons Quad Friday in La Grange.

One of those wins was over previously unbeaten Nazareth (8-2). Lyons edged their local rivals 25-22, 15-25, 15-13, as well as knocked off Normal and Fenwick.

Lyons (7-0, 1-0) was scheduled to host defending West Suburban Silver champion Glenbard West on Tuesday, then compete in its first invitational, the McAuley Preview on Friday.

A year ago, Palter set for Lyons after Juley missed most of the season with a Lisfranc fracture in her left foot. Palter ran a two-setter offense with defensive specialist Marina Gonzalez.

The 5-8 Palter, a Countryside resident, is one of Lyons’ kills leaders with 6-0 senior middle hitter Cori Hanson.

“I feel pretty good,” Palter said of her return to hitting. “We have a pretty solid block with Celine Jones at right-side hitter. Hannah is a good setter and our team is playing well together.”

Palter’s versatility is what makes her so valuable to coach Joann Pyrtiz. Part of those skills come from Palter’s training as a beach volleyball player.

“Ariah’s ability as an all-around player helps our team considerably,” Pyritz said. “She has developed a smart hit and, despite her size, hits around blocks. Her passing, defense and serving are consistent from week to week.”

Palter stays busy in the offseason. Over the spring, she played for 1st Alliance 17 Onyx with Lyons teammate Lindsey Oettel. Her team coached by her father, Bill Palter, finished the season at the AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla. in June.

Then in the summer, Palter played in beach volleyball tournaments in California and regularly hits North Avenue Beach in Chicago.

Juley noticed how the beach game prepared Palter for the indoor game.

“Playing beach volleyball has developed her skills all around,” Juley said. “She’s a high jumper. Jumping in sand is 10 times harder than jumping on land.”

In beach tournaments, Palter plays with two different partners: Leyden graduate Kelly Murphy, who currently is at Triton College, and York junior libero Halle Truett.

Palter has played beach volleyball for four years and has won titles at North Avenue tournaments in the 18U division.

“I like how well-rounded of a player beach makes you,” Palter said. “It’s a lot of fun, in general. Beach definitely helps you with indoor. It keeps you in good shape.”

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