Girls Volleyball: Skyler Day provides all the intangibles for Minooka
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 28, 2013 10:12PM
Skyler Day, of Minooka | Vincent D. Johnson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 1, 2013 7:34AM
Where many high school athletes wait for senior year to make a decision, Minooka’s Skyler Day was ready with her decision her sophomore year.
During her club season as a sophomore, Day picked her college destination: the University of Buffalo.
The 5-foot-10 senior has done her best not to settle, though. She wants to give Buffalo a better player than the one she was as a sophomore.
“I wanted to grow and progress as a player,” Day said. “I want to be a part of that program. It was a relief to commit (as a sophomore), so there wasn’t a lot of worry or pressure. It makes me want to step up, improve as a player and be a better player than (Buffalo) has seen before.”
For Day, a three-year varsity starter for the Indians, the decision to travel to Buffalo and the Mid-American Conference came down to a comfort level.
“There’s a new coach (Todd Kress, in his fifth season), and I loved everything about the school from the girls to the atmosphere to the community,” Day said. “It was an easy decision for me.”
Playing a key role as a sophomore on a team that finished 29-5 overall and lost in the sectional finals, Day piled up 223 kills.
As a junior in 2012, with star Stacey Perinar gone, Day became the go-to hitter for the Indians, finishing with a team-high 347 kills. Now deep into her senior season as Minooka prepares for Tuesday’s playoff opener, Day once again has been a go-to hitter for a significantly younger Indians squad.
The senior has a team-high 233 kills, and her experience has come in handy. Four of Minooka’s top six hitters are non-seniors.
“Skyler shares info with all her hitters, helps calls shots, asks the girls for more,” Minooka coach Chris Hoelscher said. “She is the first player to jump in and find positives after a loss. She’s yelling ‘We did this really well, we blocked, we hit,’ and that helps.”
From a wide-eyed sophomore to an experienced senior, for Day it’s been a matter of realizing her skills can take over any given match.
“I think she had that moment this year where ‘Whoa, I have the power, the influence to take over if I choose,’ ” Hoelscher said. “She is more composed from that sophomore year where she can take more of a leadership role.”
With so many younger players surrounding her, Day knows a calming influence can go a long way.
“I try to bring everyone back, let them know we’re fine if we get caught up in a tough situation,” Day said. “As a player, I feel like I’ve learned so much and how to play.
“We have that potential with our young hitters, and it’s getting that extra push.”