OAK PARK — Kathleen Carpenter has accepted her increased offensive load for Fenwick’s volleyball team.
She, just like most of her teammates, is handling more responsibilities for Fenwick, which suffered three losses in the Lyons Quad Friday, which followed a 25-19, 30-28 defeat at Oak Park-River Forest Sept. 11. In that match, Carpenter finished with five kills to rank third on the team, but had a team-high three service errors.
“Last year, I think I served one time in a match,” Carpenter, a 6-0 junior right-side hitter, said. “I’m trying to get in a groove and used to it.”
Serving isn’t the only new thing for Carpenter, a Villa Park resident. She is learning to pass more while playing in the back row and has taken on different responsibilities after being a role player a year ago. She is among the kills leaders for the Friars (2-5).
Fenwick was scheduled to play Resurrection Monday and Loyola Tuesday before competing in the Mother McAuley Preview tournament beginning Friday.
Fenwick’s attack last season relied on graduate Samantha Pethokoukis, a 6-2 middle hitter, who has started eight of 11 matches as a freshman at Siena this fall.
Friars coach Kathleen O’Laughlin is using a group approach to replace her.
“We’ve talked about how it will take more than a few of us to fill that role,” O’Laughlin said. “Kathleen Carpenter is a big part of it. So is [Kerry] Best and [Annie] Trucco.”
To prepare for this season, Carpenter played with the Oak Lawn-based Michio club in the spring and went to the AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla,. in June.
Carpenter belonged to New Wave in Westmont after her freshman year and was surprised to make the more competitive Michio a year later.
“It was an amazing experience [playing for Michio],” Carpenter said. “I’m new playing in the back. The first time I played in the back was at club. They stress great passing and defense. The whole team, even if you’re a middle and outside hitter, practices defense and has serve-receive practice.”
Carpenter has taken over a leadership role on a young Friars team that features only two senior starters: libero Jen Porod and defensive specialist Claire Carey.
“She makes it fun to set and fun to pass. I love working with her,” sophomore setter Mary Marzo said of Carpenter. “If I ever get down, she helps me more when I’m off.”