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Charley Niego '18      

"My Best Advice for Future Macs"                                  


I cannot believe that the time has come for me to be senior in high school. I remember being a scared 8th grader and stressing over if I would get lost in the hallways or who I would sit with at lunch. I remember getting butterflies before my first McAuley volleyball tryout and the nerves building up in my body before my first McAuley volleyball game. But I also remember the joy I felt when I made the junior varsity roster or when I did not get lost in the halls.

Although high school can be a scary thing, once you get there it is not so scary. Writing this blog, I realize that my time at McAuley is slowly coming to an end and I wish that I had four more years at the best school with the best people. It is crazy how fast high school goes by. If I could rewind back in time I would tell my younger self to not be so afraid of high school. I would also tell myself to cherish every moment and not think so much into the future but focus on the present. I would not put so much pressure on myself and be more open to new ideas and new people.

In the beginning of my freshman year, I was very timid and afraid of making mistakes. However, by the beginning of sophomore year I was slowly transitioning into a confident person and player. I started to become my own person and I did not focus on what other people thought of me. As I approach my senior year, I am proud of how far I have come as a person and player. I am no longer afraid. To all 8th graders, high school flies by and it truly is the best four years of your life. The most important advice I can give to you is to cherish every moment you have because in the blink of an eye it will all be over. I am excited to see you guys start your journey at McAuley and I cannot wait to see how much you guys grow!

Go Macs,

Charley Niego ’18 


 

 

Katie O'Connell '17

"Thank You, McAuley"

People usually think of McAuley volleyball as a powerhouse program focused only on winning. But it is so much more. For the past four years, McAuley volleyball was a second home. A place where a team becomes a family. A place where I could grow to become the best version of myself as a player and more importantly a person. A place to accomplish more than I could've imagined. A place where I know I am a part of something bigger than myself.

Walking into the gym four years ago, I was a timid, shy, scared little freshman. I never imagined McAuley volleyball

 would impact me in the way it did. It has shaped me into the young woman I am today. McAuley volleyball taught me what it means to be a part of the bigger picture. Looking up to see the banners of all those who came before you, reminds you that you are a small part of this legacy but you can make a big impact.

McAuley volleyball taught me the amount of work it takes to reach your goals. McAuley volleyball taught me what it is like to be a part of a group so dedicated to a goal. McAuley volleyball taught me to trust in the process. McAuley volleyball taught me confidence and leadership qualities that I never knew I had. McAuley volleyball taught me to constantly pursue the gold within and believe in myself. Today, I can walk into the gym and be proud of the hard work ethic and confidence gained throughout my four years.

So thank you McAuley volleyball: the fans, for your constant support; my teammates for becoming my second family; and my coaches for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. McAuley volleyball has meant the world to me these past four years and has shaped me into the person I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Katie O'Connell 


 


Mary Kate Boland '17

As an eighth grader, I knew that there was only one high school for me- Mother McAuley. After seeing my sister’s 2012 McAuley Volleyball team go downstate, I knew that it was something I wanted. I was so excited and wanted to be a part of the McAuley Volleyball Tradition. My freshman year at McAuley I was placed on the JV team. The first day of practice I remember being so nervous. I was on a team with 3 other freshmen, 8 sophomores and 2 juniors. Everyone seemed so intimidating. Yet right as we walked on the court, one of the juniors, Emma, came up to me and introduced herself and said I could come to her if I needed anything. I was taken aback by how sweet she was and could tell she was a real leader. Right away she made me feel welcome and really a part of the team. That freshmen year flew by, our team was undefeated and we ended our season winning conference.

Fast forward to senior year, we start a new season with 9 seniors, 6 juniors, and 1 sophomore. I remember on our first day of practice Coach DeJarld and Coach Meg sat us down and first talked about our final game last year, when we lost in sectionals to Benet. She wanted to know what we thought we did wrong and how we could learn from that experience. We discussed our emotional rollercoaster from the year before and how this year our goal was to stay calm and focused. We needed to come into every game with the same mindset and the confidence that we would get the job done. We kept that mindset all throughout our regular season and the playoffs. We were taught to ignore the crowds during big games and only focus on our play.

I can still recall our super sectional game against Geneva and all the tears that came with it. We started slow and came back from behind, winning in 3 games. That was definitely the most intense game of volleyball I have ever played. I remember at a point when we were down and it seemed as though we could lose the game, Emma Reilly got us all together and told us four simple words:  WE WEREN’T DONE YET. She then went back to serve and got four aces in a row and really got us hyped up. I remember the final point, when Nancy set me the ball and all I heard in my head was Coach DeJarld saying “Swing Boland!’’ I hit the ball as hard as I could watched it land in the left back corner. I was then hugged and surrounded by my teammates as I just realized we won the game and it was finally our turn to head downstate and play in Redbird Arena.

I still remember our locker room the day of the state championship. We weren’t nervous, we would stay calm and treat this like any other game. We were joking around and I remember Bridget and Evie drawing the emotional rollercoaster on the whiteboard then quoting our favorite team movie Kicking and Screaming. I remember all of us laughing as they kept repeating, “Pass to the Italians!” I mostly remember our season by our inside jokes and time spent together, just messing around. That night we beat Minooka in 3, 25-19, 19-25, 25-19. Charley got the last kill to the right back corner and all of us just jumped on each other into an epic dogpile.

Standing on the podium to receive the 1st place medal is one of the best feelings in the world. You realize that everything was worth it, the 8am practices, preseason workouts, summer workouts with Johnny, club season, sprinting at the end of practice, and even the awful days at Swallow Cliff. I would do it all again to spend another season with my amazing team.

My four years as a McAuley Volleyball player taught me to respect myself and my opponent, be a leader on and off the court, don’t be afraid to take the big swing, and that hard work truly does pay off. Tradition isn’t just about the team, it’s about the amazing coaches who put in their time to make us better athletes and better people, the past players who continually support us and even send us words of encouragement, the parents who were there at every game cheering us on, and the fans who come out for the best games in their wackiest outfits, showing no shame and nothing but pride to be a Mac.

McAuley Volleyball truly is a family, from your freshman year when you get a big sister on varsity to becoming that varsity player who gets to help out a freshmen and support her is really amazing. I will remember all the time spent with my amazing teammates, our inside jokes, and just messing around and making fun of each other. McAuley Volleyball has truly shaped who I am and I cannot wait to bring the lessons I have learned over the past four years on to college at Saint Louis University. Thank you Mother McAuley Volleyball for an amazing 4 years!!!

-Mary Kate Boland

 

 


 

Evie Gorman '17

"My McAuley Journey"

A couple of days ago, I was packing for my family trip to North Carolina. As I was packing, or over-packing you could say, 

I found my red McAuley uniform hanging in my closet. While I was staring at it, it dawned on me that I'd never get to wear it again.  And now with college approaching so fast, I started to look back on what an amazing experience I had at McAuley.

Freshman year was a blur. I'm not going to lie. I remember some practices with Coach Balsam and my first Marist game, but other than that all I remember are my friends on the team. My dad always said, "Play a fall sport your freshman year. Even if you hate it afterwards and never want to play again, that's the way to make friends." And he was right. I made tons of friends my freshman year because of volleyball. And it made it that much more special my senior year because I got to win a State Championship next to the same girls I started with. The same girls I sat next to our freshman year at Redbird Arena, watching the 2013 team win State. We all had the same dream in our head: to win State. And we did it. And we did so much more than just that, too.

McAuley will always be home. I don't doubt this for a second. As a freshman you don't realize how lucky you are to be a part of such an amazing tradition. But when it's your last game ever in your red jersey and your best friends are all around you, you get it. You get why alums come back. You get why "Tradition" is so important. You get why you spent your entire summer training with Johnny and running the stairs at Swallow Cliff. You get why you had to jump rope for 8 minutes or do blocking movement till you got it right. Because at the end of the day, doing all of the little things made us into the big deal we are today. I'd do anything to be able put that jersey back on and run out onto that court.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Saying goodbye to McAuley is harder than I could ever imagine. Thank you Mother McAuley, my coaches, and most importantly my teammates for making me into the confident girl I am today and for all the amazing memories. 


 

Moira Mixan '18

"McAuley Volleyball Tradition and What it Means to Me"

Mother McAuley Volleyball is a program filled with tradition and excellence. I have been fortunate enough to be coached by the best and play among the most competitive girls in the state of Illinois and probably, the country. The Mother McAuley Program teaches us more than just volleyball  as we learn how to be leaders and what it means to be a great teammate. The McAuley Volleyball Tradition is truly a lifetime advantage.

McAuley Volleyball has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The tradition began early when I participated in summer camps, played in grammar school tournaments, and watched my cousins play varsity volleyball. When the entrance exam rolled around, MCAULEY WAS THE ONLY OPTION. I wanted to be a McAuley Volleyball player and swing my arms across the end line during the national anthem. I am so blessed to be a part of such an excellent program with the entire McAuley community behind my back cheering me on.

Freshman year was extremely nerve racking. I looked up to the varsity members like they were celebrities. The big sister program was a way to get to know one of the varsity members. My big sister was Madeline Koneki, and she made me realize how important McAuley traditions truly are. I still have all my letters she would write before the games. I hope the young girls in the program are able to look up to my teammates and I as I looked up to Madeline and her teammates. Last season was one of the greatest times in my life. I was able to make relationships that will last forever. I will never forget the memories I have made this year and the teammates who have made it all the more special. I am extremely excited to have one more year as a McAuley Volleyball player. My time at McAuley has not been long enough but I know I will always be a part of the TRADITION.


 

Nancy Kane

"My McAuley Journey"

Being a part of the McAuley Volleyball Program has been a dream come true.  When I was younger, I looked up to all the older girls that played for McAuley.  I could tell that they really enjoyed being out on the court and working together as a team.  In 8th grade, I decided that I wanted to experience what it was like to be a Mighty Mac and  to see what it was like to  be out there on the court.  My freshman year was wonderful.  While playing on JV, I met some of my life long friends.  I learned what Mother McAuley was all about. 

This past season I was the only sophomore on Varsity.   Being on Varsity was a dream of mine ever since I was little.  The girls on my team welcomed me with open arms, and I knew that I could always count on them.  The 2016 Mother McAuley Volleyball team was a very special team.  We weren't just a team, we were a family.  We had each other's backs no matter what.  Everyday we worked hard to accomplish our goal, a State Championship.

The Mother McAuley Volleyball tradition is made up of a lifetime of incredible accomplishments that goes back to many generations of strong Mighty Macs.  Walking into the gym everyday, I would see all the State Championship banners that Mother McAuley Volleyball had won in previous years.  These banners inspired me to work hard so one day I could have a banner hanging up there as well.  When our team found out we were going to the State Championship finals, we were thrilled.  I was so excited to experience the incredible atmosphere inside the arena.  I couldn't stop smiling for days! When we finally got there I realized... THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.  I AM PLAYING IN THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!.   As the championship game arrived, I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to get out on the court and give it my all.  This was our team's time to shine.  Being out on the court with all my teammates was very special but being able to look up in the stands and see my family and all the McAuley girls dressed in red and yellow was truly amazing.  

After we won the State Championship, we were very excited.  Then we found out that we were National Champions! This news was the icing on the cake.  I couldn't have imagined my sophomore year to have gone any better.  The memories I made this year are some that my family and I are going to remember the rest of our lives.  I was so happy to be a part of this team and to have had the opportunity to work with the very best coaches.  Our team this year made a mark in McAuley's history.  Now every time I walk into the gym at McAuley will see a State and National Champions banner hanging up and I will know that my hard work and dedication really paid off in the end.  I am so grateful to be a part of the McAuley Volleyball Tradition and I can't wait to make more memories in my next two years of playing at McAuley. 


 

Amanda Horn '18

"What it Means to Play for Tradition"

For as long as I can remember, playing volleyball for Mother McAuley was always something I dreamed to be a part of. I had my fears and doubts and I wondered if I would ever be good enough to play at the high level that these girls played at. Going into my freshman year tryout, being the kid that I am, I fell off my bike the night before tryouts and landed myself in the hospital. I was not going to allow this injury to stand in the way of my chance at playing for McAuley, so I showed up in the gym that morning, my leg wrapped so tight I could barely move. I thought people were going to think I looked crazy, but in reality everyone was just as scared and nervous as I was so we just played.

I finally began to feel comfortable as I started making friends with my new teammates and settling into the McAuley community. The upperclassmen always made it their priority to check in with the freshman and sophomores and ask us how we were doing which always made my day so much better and that feeling continues to stick with me now in my life. Being a part of the rich tradition McAuley has made for itself goes beyond the state championship rings and the banners hanging in the gym. It's about all of the good and bad times you share with your teammates and the pride you have when walking out on the court with "McAuley" printed on your jersey. McAuley volleyball has shaped me as a person because it has taught me that the work that goes into accomplishing a goal is much more important than the end result. I am so grateful to be a part of the long-lasting tradition McAuley has built for itself, and I am excited to see what is in store for the upcoming season.

 
 
 
 
 
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