Lady Grey Ghosts ready to hit the court

Drew Veskauf TimesNewspapers
IVC senior Olivia Parrott, middle, goes up for the kill during a match in the Illinois Central College summer league.

After losing much of its varsity squad and head coach Hillary Haen, the IVC varsity volleyball team is ready to get back it under the new coach, Heather Cooper.

The girls have been training in the summer camps and participated in the Illinois Central College summer league, which consists of many area teams to scrimmage against one another. Now, with the first week of official practice and less than a week from the first game, the Lady Grey Ghosts are ready to go.

“It’ll be a learning era. I’m really excited about it and they’re really excited about it,” Cooper said. “I think we have a great group of girls and great leadership as well.”

Cooper, a Chillicothe resident, is looking at the long term of the IVC volleyball program.

“I’m building a program. I think it’s going to be quite successful. I’m losing some good girls next year but I’m fully confident and fully prepped for the rest of the girls coming up and filling the shoes. I have no worries whatsoever,” Cooper said.

IVC will be entering the Corn Belt Conference and Cooper said she did not know much about the teams but is looking forward to find out what she can from the competition.

“I think we’ll hang in there with them, but it’s a whole new conference so we’ll be playing some games that we’ve never played and haven’t played at ICC,” Cooper said.

The Lady Grey Ghosts will open the season with an away match at Princeville Tuesday but will have their home opener Sept. 3 against Limestone, the No. 1 team in the Mid-Illini in the 2013 season.

“That’ll be a good match,” Cooper said. “We split with them the first set and we lost to them the second set in the ICC league.”

Joining the varsity team will be freshmen Casy Grove, Katie McMorrow and Abby Camp. The three were on the Chillicothe Junior High eighth-grade team which went to State to earn second.

“I think they’re excited about the opportunity. I think it will be an eye-opener for some of them, who haven’t played at that level, but that is a group that did go to state. They have played against some tough competition,” Cooper said.

Helping lead the team this season will be senior captains Katelyn Heinz and Hannah Scherer.

Heinz, in the 2013 

Regional championship had to fill big shoes when setter Brooke Ratcliff tore her ACL in the previous game.

Scherer, an outside hitter, will be up close to the net seeking kills throughout the season. 

“It was a little challenging at first because it’s a really young squad with not having many returning but we’re going to build a lot this year,” Scherer said.

“I think it should be a great year. We’ve had a lot of fun already. We have a lot of younger ones, but I like the way we just play together,” Heinz said.

Both Heinz and Scherer said that working with the incoming varsity players will help with the building of the program for future years.

“That’s the biggest thing. I’m going to take them in under my wing and teach them.” Heinz said.

“I personally know as a freshman, it was hard, so I don’t want them to go it alone.”