McHenry volleyball star tried the West, found home the best
For Katie Mahoney, there’s no place like home.
Mahoney, who graduated from Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin, left the familiar surrounds of McHenry County to go west and play Division I volleyball at Eastern Washington University (EWU), but Mahoney told the McHenry Times she quickly realized that wasn’t the place for her.
“It was a hassle and hard to get to for my parents to visit or see me play,” Mahoney said. “There were no direct flights to Spokane, so they would have a whole day of travel. I liked out West, but it was rainy and dreary and the winter was kind of depressing. For volleyball, I was the only freshman coming in that year and was the only one on the team from far away, and it was just a hard transition.”
Mahoney said she picked EWU on a bit of a whim. After a semester, she felt that she’d made the wrong decision.
Last November, Mahoney transferred back home to McHenry County College, where she has been one of the key players for the Scots this season, helping MCC to a 28-16 record and a conference title.
“This season has been going really well,” Mahoney said. “We won the conference and just won the regional quarterfinal last night. If we win two more games, we’ll make it to nationals, and this would be MCC’s third year qualifying for nationals.”
Mahoney said her playing ability has improved as well since she returned to Illinois.
“At Eastern Washington, I was an outside hitter, and as a freshman, they didn’t really work on developing you all around,” she said. “They just would put me in their front row, and I never got a chance to work on passing or defense. At MCC, coach has let me develop all aspects of my game, and I think I have improved a lot more there than I would have if I stayed at Eastern Washington.”
Mahoney’s was named conference player of the year, which she saw as a kind of validation that she made the right decision in transferring to MCC.
“I’ve worked really hard for this, and it is nice knowing that what I am trying to do is working,” Mahoney said. “I want to go play at the next level and hopefully this will help me. There are some really good girls in our conference, so it’s nice to know I am good enough to get this award.”
Mahoney isn’t sure where she will be playing next, but her experience at EWU has taught her to put more thought into the decision.
“I don’t know yet," she said. "I guess [head coach] Kyle [McCall] has been talking to a few schools, but I’ve just been focusing on playing. Recruiting doesn’t really pick up till the D1 season ends in the end of November. But I really do want to play D1 volleyball, and this experience has helped me know what I want in a school. I don’t want to go to any school just for volleyball. I want to pick a school with volleyball and school in mind.”
If the Scots make it to the NJCAA national tournament, it will be their third straight. It is being held in Charleston, West Virginia.