Junior outside hitter Luke Spicer leads the St. Charles East boys volleyball team in kills, providing a stabilizing force for a group aiming to peak at the end of the season. With the stretch run getting closer, the Saints see improvement across the board. Through it all, Spicer remains “the enforcer,” in coach Kate McCullagh’s words. Touching base with Spicer for the latest Weekend Chit-Chat, Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley asked the 6-foot-3 athlete about East’s outlook, his club experience and Spicer’s talented cousin. The following is an edited transcript:
How has this team progressed? You guys started slowly but have rallied lately.
We’ve definitely been taking some big leaps. We all played club together this past year [at Batavia-based Fusion South], and played together last year in high school. We only graduated one, so we’ve definitely taken some big steps.
What’s the makeup of the club team, roughly?
A lot of [St. Charles] North guys and also some Rockford, just because the other Fusion is up that area, but they came down here [as overflow]. ... I think it’s a great advantage playing with high school teammates because we all know each other real well and how we play. We know our strengths and know our weaknesses, I just think that helps us out a lot.
Do you do much juggling between football and club volleyball during the summer?
The Fusion partly overlaps, but I definitely manage. With football, the core and the strength [training] just helps with volleyball tremendously.
Have you pondered playing collegiate sports?
I’ve definitely thought about it. Not sure where, but I’ve definitely thought about it. … It would be volleyball. … It’s been in my family forever, so I’ve been playing a long time, but I started playing club in seventh grade.
Your cousin [Nellie Spicer] is on the U.S. women’s national volleyball team [as a setter]. When is the last time you saw her play live?
I haven’t seen her play in probably three years, just because she has been traveling all over the world playing. … I watch her on the computer, her games, whenever I can, though.
How deep is the volleyball community at East between boys and girls?
[Girls coach Jennie] Kull helps us out and some of the girls players come to our practices and help us out and some of the guys came to the girls practices.
Coach [Mike] Bui is an assistant for both teams and played at Larkin. How active is he during practices?
Yeah, he definitely helps us out a lot. He likes to say he is [running around and playing].
Have practice times been in flux with bad weather forcing outdoor sports to the gym so much?
We usually have our gym to ourselves normal days, but every once in a while if something comes up and other team’s game was canceled we’ll change our time around just a little bit, but nothing really [major]. They’ll run on the track at the field house if we’re on the court.
Has everyone started the trash talking ahead of next week’s match with North?
We’ve all played together and know each other well. … It doesn’t really stop. It’s all friendly, but we’re always talking.