Glenbard West senior libero Demi Carpio grew up hoping to be nearly as tall as 5-foot-10 older brother Ben. She’s actually an inch shorter than 5-foot-1 older sister Mariah.
“Secretly, 5-3,” Carpio said, laughing. “I’d like to say 6-foot, but you can put me down for 5-3.”
Nevertheless, Carpio is among the biggest defensive contributors in program history. So far, Carpio is credited with 988 digs (197 this season), 90 aces and 103 assists. She’s among the Hilltoppers’ top five in career digs.
“I feel accomplished and proud,” Carpio said. “[With digs], I just feel a rush of adrenaline. It really pumps me up when I feel like the hitter had an amazing hit and I somehow managed to pop it up for our team. And another confidence boost that I can get those up.”
In her second season as libero, Carpio has been a back-row mainstay with senior Liz Murray. The 2021 regional champions also return junior hitters Marin Johnson and Avery Herbert and senior setter Haydon Green.
“Demi has been a fixture of this program and developed into one of the best teammates and court leaders we’ve ever had,” said Glenbard West first-year coach Dan Scott, previously the varsity assistant for longtime coach Pete Mastandrea. “She has a laid-back demeanor, which brings a sense of calm on the floor even in the biggest moments. However, she is a fierce competitor who wants to prove you wrong for judging her by her size. Her ability to cover the ground with lightning-quick speed and her hand-eye coordination set her apart from other defensive specialists.”
Carpio followed Mariah and Ben in playing club for Sports Performance and in high school. At the AAU Nationals in June, Carpio played back row and some libero for Sports Performance’s No. 2 18s team and No. 1 and 2 17s teams.
“I was down at nationals for quite a while,” Carpio said. “That was like two weeks, two days. I specifically counted that.”
Carpio has turned her height into an advantage.
“I guess it’s just helped me to work harder in a way,” Carpio said. “I’m small and it’s hard to reach balls that are farther away, so I just had to work harder on moving my feet quicker and watching the ball and where it goes, watching those hitters especially where they’re trying to hit.”
THE 15-WIN CLUB
As of Oct. 4, Benet (20-1), Lyons Township (21-3), Willowbrook (19-2), Glenbard West (17-8), Wheaton North (17-9) and York (16-6) in Class 4A, Lemont (18-7) and St. Francis (15-11) in 3A and IC Catholic Prep (18-1) and Timothy Christian (20-5) in 2A had 15 or more wins.
VOLLEYBALL NIGHT IN ELMHURST
Timothy Christian and York were the places to be Oct. 4 for memorable finishes.
In a meeting of 2A state powers, top-rated IC Catholic Prep edged Timothy Chrisitan 25-21, 21-25, 26-24 after trailing 16-11 and 23-20 in the third set. The teams are in the same 2A sub-sectional.
Abby Pikulik’s back-to-back aces put the Knights ahead 24-23. After a Jenny Fromelt sideout kill for a 25-24 lead, the Knights apparently won the next point. Their student section charged the floor and an ICCP player was injured among the celebrating. The officials convened and ruled to replay the point.
Penn State commit Ava Falduto notched her 20th kill to keep ICCP undefeated in the Metro Suburban Blue. The Knights’ only loss is to Lyons Township.
“This is just a horrible ending to a great match, even though we got the outcome we wanted,” IC Catholic coach Nancy Kerrigan said. “We’ve played some tough teams, but I think from front to back it was probably our toughest match. [Timothy] played very well.”
“I think it was our hardest game,” said IC Catholic junior setter Lucy Russ, who had 24 assists. “We really came back and didn’t give up. Everyone kind of cheered us on and helped us win.”
Sophomore Abby VanderWal had 22 kills for the Trojans, who lost to the Knights 25-15, 31-29 on Sept. 2.
“The way that we played tonight is the best, by far, we’ve played all year, which is what we can do,” Timothy Christian coach Scott Piersma said.
At York, the Dukes had two match points before West Suburban Silver co-leader Lyons rallied 21-25, 25-11, 28-26. Lyons trailed 26-25 when senior and Georgetown recruit Kamryn Lee-Caracci delivered back-to-back kills. The Lions converted match point on York’s free ball out of bounds. The Dukes, 15-22 in 2021, have improved significantly behind seven returnees.