Girls Volleyball: Joliet Catholic’s Shemaitis livin’, lovin’ volleyball
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 14, 2013 10:10PM
Joliet Catholic's Julia Shemaitis | File photo
Updated: November 16, 2013 6:21AM
Julia Shemaitis was in for a surprise.
At Joliet Catholic’s recent Homecoming pep rally, several male students dressed up as the Angels volleyball team. Shemaitis was right in their sights, and it was all in good fun.
“The boy who dressed up as Julia said, ‘Hi, I’m Julia Shemaitis and when I’m not playing volleyball, I’m practicing volleyball!’ ” Joliet Catholic coach Christine Scheibe said. “That’s just the way she is. Volleyball is her life, and she lives for it.”
A 5-foot-10 outside hitter, Shemaitis certainly is one of the area’s best hitters. It’s more than that, though. She wants to win, but she has fun doing it.
The Angels’ leader in kills with 131 through 20 matches, Shemaitis has helped the team to a 13-7 record.
“It doesn’t matter how well I’m doing,” Shemaitis said with a smile. “It matters how well the team is doing. If someone else gets a kill, I’m 100 percent for her. I love seeing the team do well, love watching the team compete.”
She certainly saw a lot of success last season as a junior on a senior-heavy squad that finished 32-7 and reached the sectional finals. Shemaitis finished with 190 kills and 247 digs, playing in all 39 matches.
The experience was invaluable as she played with senior star Morgan Reardon, who is now at Loyola.
“Morgan taught me to never hold back, be relentless,” Shemaitis said. “Always go 110 percent. (For me) I want to keep working on my leadership skills. I want to help guide these girls as best I can and help them compete for next year.”
With a junior-heavy squad, Scheibe is counting on that senior leadership more than ever, especially considering the Angels went through a recent rough patch.
While the juniors on varsity are new to the experience, Shemaitis has been through the ups and downs.
“Julia has been there in those big matches in the playoffs against Providence and Wheaton St. Francis,” Scheibe said. “She knows what it’s like to be out on the floor and she has been telling the juniors ‘Don’t wait for next year. Let’s do it now.’ She is a senior and wants to get it done.”
With the playoffs less than two weeks away, the clock is ticking for Shemaitis and the Angels. As a senior, she’s starting to feel that pressure.
Shemaitis has seen the Angels’ regional and sectional plaques and the three state championship banners. She wouldn’t mind getting some hardware in her senior year.
“The definite goal is to win state,” Shemaitis said. “We’ve just got to bring our best every night, stay steady. We have moments of greatness, and we have to stay up at those moments. I think we’ll be just fine.”