April 6th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: OLOL Volleyball

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: OLOL Volleyball
photo courtesy of St.Baldricks.org

Kalmer leads boys on volleyball court, in service

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

With an undefeated season and a city championship for the OLOL fifth grade boys’ volleyball team, Head Coach Lisa Kalmer says she’s proud of her young men first and foremost for their team play and unselfishness.

“With such a small team, and little room for substitution, no one player determined our overall success.  We won because our team works hard and plays well together,” said Kalmer. “For example, I had a player sitting out once, and he’s a fine player. It was his rotation to go into the game during a tight match and he said to me, ‘Tom (teammate) is a better server than I am, leave him in for the serve.’ “

With a will to succeed, Kalmer said that with a short season, her boys quickly learned how to play hard and spike for the win through respect for one another.

“My goal for the season was for the guys to go undefeated and win the tournament,” said Kalmer.
“With that though, I want them to respect one another, and they all lift each other up, and help each other succeed.”

The team, which consisted of Karl Hancock, Tom Kalmer, Jake McKean, Jacob McCarthy, Cole Berger, Zach Zink, Asher Perry, and Grant Brown, has grown up around one another within the Catholic school system.

“They’ve known each other for a while, and that’s a benefit of Catholic school,” said Kalmer. “They fight like brothers, but support one another like brothers, and I appreciate that. It’s like a family.”

Kalmer, who attended St. Albert the Great Parish and Sacred Heart Academy, played volleyball and softball in her childhood and teenage years. Now, she gives back to OLOL with volunteer time in athletics such as coaching this volleyball team.

“I think there are so many good lessons that grade school athletics can teach.  I do focus on the development on the fundamentals of volleyball skills, but I am most concerned with life-skills such as cooperation, teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship. Everyone is expected to try their hardest, and to be celebrated in their success, or encouraged in their failure,” said Kalmer.

And with life lessons taught on the court, Kalmer recently helped lead her team out of the gym to a victory in the community as well.

“In addition to playing so well together, our team raised over $2500 at Our Lady of Lourdes first St. Baldrick's fundraiser.  St. Baldrick's raises money to fund children's cancer research.  The team made the decision to participate the week of the event, and within three days they had earned that much money.  They were the top fundraising team at the event,” said Kalmer.

With community service as a top priority, according to Kalmer, she said the fundraising event helped her young team achieve a common goal together away from the nets.

“This type of activity helps them see outside themselves,” said Kalmer. “Every community service activity helps you understand and appreciate how other people live and to learn how blessed you are.”

And whether working together to score a point or to score money for a charity, Kalmer wants the young men to see the bigger picture of success for life.

Said Kalmer: “While it tickles me we did so well this season, I just want them to get better. I want them to learn the fundamentals of the game, but also to be good teammates and grow as young men.”


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