MORRISON, Ill. – Like any coach, Jennifer Medenblik has looked down the pipeline for some time for what Morrison has finally unveiled in 2013. Her Fillies team deploys senior Chelsea Eads on the outside and a freshman, Brooke Stralow, handles front-row right-side duties, including some setting. Otherwise Morrison’s roster is loaded with juniors.
Even then it’s a mixed bag. Although the Fillies would appear loaded with juniors, not all of the players have had time to jell the way other top-heavy programs in the area have.
“There’s absolutely some growing pains,” Medenblik said, adding that some of her juniors have played on varsity since they were freshmen; others have only just climbed the ranks and arrived in time to start on opening night. “They’re getting used to playing next to a person they haven’t played next to.”
Once the 3-5 Fillies overcome their initial cohesive struggles, Medenblik said she likes what Morrison has the potential to dish out.
She described her team as “smaller” than most others in the Three Rivers Conference. The 5-foot-11 Stralow is among the tallest, despite being the youngest. Medenblik said she was confident in the freshman’s abilities and raw gifts she brings to the table. It’s uncommon to see such tall setters at such a young age, but according to Medenblik: “She’s just a natural athlete. She has court sense and the girls trust her.”
That youth is balanced by Eads’ leadership, Medenblik said. The senior has a year of all-around outside play under her belt, and has already established herself as one of Morrison’s most reliable offensive weapons. That’s aided by the attacks by junior middle Laikyn Goodman.
“They both see the court very well,” Medenblik said of Eads and Goodman. “They don’t always just hit it as hard as they can. They’re very good at placing it.”