Girls Volleyball: ‘Student of the game’ Kelly Moran takes the reins at Hinsdale Central10/20/11 Hinsdale,IL
Hinsdale Central's Dominique Millette (14) slaps hands with her teammates who all wore pink jersey's before a match against Hinsdale South on Oct. 19, 2011 in Hinsdale. The annual Volley for a Cure event between the two Hinsdale schools has both teams wearing pink, a silent auction, bake sale, and other fund raisers for the Susan G. Komen foundation. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2012 6:21PM
Kelly Moran’s former high school coach knew her former defensive specialist would make it as a coach.
“I knew Kelly would someday be a coach,” said veteran Hersey coach Nancy Lill, a former college player at Illinois. “She was such as student of the game. She always worked her hardest to fulfill her potential, and was like a coach on the floor.”
Hinsdale Central athletic director Paul Moretta named Moran as the Devils’ new girls volleyball coach May 3. Moran replaces Sheralynn Kellough, who stepped down after giving birth to twins in November.
Kellough coached several years and led Hinsdale Central to at least 20 wins the last two seasons. The Devils ended last season with a 20-18 overall record, 4-2 in the West Suburban Silver, after 6-2, Virginia-bound setter Meghan McDowell missed most of the season due to an ankle injury.
McDowell, who currently plays for Aurora-based Sports Performance volleyball club, returns for her senior year as the Devils’ top player and defensive specialist Rachael Lenderman is the only returning all-conference player.
Last year’s team won a Class 4A regional title, but lost to Lyons 25-18, 25-19 in a sectional semifinal.
Moran is currently Associate Director of Sports Elite Volleyball Club, a sister program of Sports Performance based out of the Lake Barrington Fieldhouse. She will coach Sport Elite’s 18s and 14s in the AAU Junior Olympics in late June in Orlando, Fla. Moran has been with Sports Elite for three years.
Moran will coach varsity high school volleyball for the first time. Previously, she coaches two years at a small private school in Winnetka. Moran recently became engaged to former Hinsdale Central setter Luke Stapleton, a current coach and administrator at Sports Elite.
“I’m hoping to get to know the kids fast and turn in rosters for our summer league,” Moran said. “Sheralynn has been helping with me a lot; getting background before it starts.”
The assistance of Kellough has been valuable as Moran tries to wrap up the end of the club volleyball season. Moran played three years at Augustana University and is currently pursuing a teaching position in special education or social studies as well.
“A lot of the girls really like and respect Sheralynn,” Moran said. “She got them to buy into the program.”
Moran heard about the opening from a Hinsdale Central parent, whose daughter plays for Sports Performance. Moran was interested in the position due to the talented athletes at Hinsdale Central, including some of the school’s basketball player who also play volleyball.
An inspiration has been Lill, who had Moran as a senior on her team when Hersey lost the 2004 Class AA state quarterfinals to Prairie Ridge. Lill has won over 600 matches in an over 20-year career. That 2004 team (32-8) included four future Division I athletes: Megan Fesl (Notre Dame), Dana Van Diggelen (Loyola), Annie Fesl (Cincinnati) and Michele Dalton (Wisconsin soccer).
“I hope to copy [coach Lill’s] summer camps,” Moran said. “I like how she ran that. She had different skills for different days. I like how she developed kids, their skills and their sense of the game.”
Moran becomes Lill’s second player from that 2004 team to become a varsity coach, following Annie Fesl at Gordon Tech. Lill, who has coached both boys and girls volleyball, has at least three other former players coaching at the varsity level: Abby Willenborg Gutzmer at Vernon Hills, Charlie Curtain at St. Viator and John Camardella, who coaches Prospect’s boys basketball team.
“Kelly also worked summer camps for me through her high school and college years and I saw first hand how great she was teaching fundamentals to younger athletes,” Lill said. “I am thrilled that she is taking over the Hinsdale Central head coaching position, and excited for her as she takes over that successful program.
“I am sure we will be in touch throughout this season and beyond,” Lill said.