Girls Volleyball: Stacey Perinar, the ultimate leader for MinookaStacey Perinar of Minooka is the H-N 2011 Girls Volleyball Player of the Year. She is seen at Minooka High School in Minooka, IL on Tuesday November 15, 2011 | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 16, 2011 8:05PM
Stacey Perinar has a favorite memory of her four varsity volleyball seasons at Minooka.
“I loved that we would do a cheer called ‘get rowdy’ this past season,” she said. “We’d all get in a circle before the match and someone in the middle would dance and the others would have to do the same thing. It was a great way to bond and get pumped up before the match.”
Perinar certainly got rowdy when she was on the court. The senior outside hitter finished among the state leaders with 405 kills to help the Indians to a 29-5 record and a second straight Class 4A Sweet Sixteen appearance. The 6-foot Perinar also had 49 aces, 24 blocks, and 162 digs and was named MVP of the Southwest Prairie, helping her team to a 14-0 conference mark.
Those stats, along with her leadership, helped make her the Herald-News 2011 Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.
“It means a lot to me because I always wanted to be successful and to set an example for Minooka,” Perinar said of the honor. “I definitely played smarter this year. I learned to pick zones better on my kills and had more opportunities. I was happy that I picked it up and got to be a leader on and off the court.”
Perinar improved on an excellent junior season, in which she had 364 kills, 33 blocks and 66 aces. Her numbers spiked after moving to outside hitter as a junior. Minooka’s did, too, the Indians going 55-12-1 over Perinar’s junior and senior seasons.
“She played middle for the first two and was set very little,” Minooka coach Chris Hoelscher said. “Had she been in her natural position another year she would have set a career kill record at Minooka. As it is, she is very close to the 1,000-kill mark, with most of it in just two years. That is quite a feat.
“She was obviously a physical leader, but she was our team leader in every way possible. Stacey encouraged and motivated. She made our two underclassmen feel comfortable and important. I just cannot say enough about her. We would not have accomplished what we did if she had not been ‘the complete package.’ She truly stood out when we took the court.”
Not bad for someone who started her sports career playing baseball.
“When I was in the first and second grade the softball program wasn’t too good, so I actually played baseball,” Perinar said. “I never played volleyball till the fourth grade.”
Even that was on a whim.
“In fourth grade my friend Allie Hinton and I were really competitive,” Perinar said. “So we decided to sign up for volleyball camp at Channahon Park District. All we knew how to do was hit the ball hard and we hit a lot of the back wall. It was just for fun, but everything fell into place and I joined UNO (Volleyball Club) in sixth grade.”
Hinton ended up moving to Georgia in the middle of seventh grade and quit playing sports. Perinar only quit one.
“I was playing softball later in grade school, too,” Perinar said. “But before high school I decided on one or the other and chose volleyball. It broke my father’s heart, because he wanted me to play softball.”
No doubt Larry Perinar has gotten over it, now that volleyball has rewarded Stacy with a scholarship to Eastern Michigan University.
“I decided in October of last year that I was going to Eastern Michigan,” said Perinar, the oldest of five kids. “It was the first of my official college visits. The others were to Iowa and Michigan State.
“But I just loved everything about Eastern Michigan. From the campus, to my experience meeting the coaches and the girls on the team. I liked everything about it and it made a big impression.”
Perinar, who will be entering her final season as a player on UNO Elite in December, left her impression on the area volleyball scene.
“Dariyan Hopper (a 2010 Minooka grad now at North Carolina State) was one of the top players in the area last year,” Perinar said. “We knew we had big shoes to fill this season, but wanted to keep that tradition going at Minooka.”