"ONE ROOF, HIGH CEILING" by Jeff Vorvra, Sports Editor, Orland Park Prairie
After 15 years based in Orland Park, the Attack Volleyball Club has found a home in Homer Glen.
The club moved in to the 78,000-square-foot Homer Glen Megaplex Sports Center in the fall and since then, the program has grown from 16 teams to 24 with approximately 250 area athletes served plus more athletes who take part in camps, learning sessions and a beach program.
In Orland Park, the club was scattered with practices held at the Franklin Loebe Recreation Center, Palos South school, the Sports Plex and the Orland Park Health and Fitness Center.
Attack founder and president Pam Campbell, an Orland Park resident, was not happy about leaving the village, but this opportunity was too good to pass up.
Campbell started the club in 1999 in Blue Island with five teams. It moved to Richards and, thanks to vice president Judy Pavone’s help, got into the Orland Park market with teams practicing at Sandburg.
“We absolutely loved the folks in Orland,” Campbell said. “But we just grew out of it. Me being a director, it was hard for me to get to see all of my teams. I would have four teams at one place and eight teams at another. I can’t be everywhere. Being under one roof was my ultimate goal.”
Now that everything is under one roof, Homer Glen could be a hub for some big-time volleyball tournaments in the future as the facility can hold as many at 10 courts.
“Our immediate goal is to start hosting some Windy City Power League games here,” Campbell said. “Maybe we can run some bigger tournaments. We can put about 10 courts in here. My goal would be to have a 10-court tournament next year.”
The Attack hosted its first tournament on March 8, a two-division 16-team affair on four courts that featured a 10-year old girls division and an 11/12 division with seven girls teams and a boys squad.
The Attack’s 11 Blue team placed second. Members of the team are Orland Park’s Isabella Van Alst, Ella O’Brochta and Christina Lavery, Homer Glen’s Allie Hedrich, Mallory Reichardt and Akvile Leimonas and Lockports’s Nina Stroud and Hutsyn Timosciek. Shawn Wendling is the coach.
The 10 Blue squad claimed third. Members of that squad are Orland Park’s Peyton Pawlicki, Ellery Dyran, Aubrey Deverick and Valentina Walas, Homer Glens’ Brooklyn Chesna, Lockport’s Josephine Baranowski, Tinley Park’s Marcie Campbell and Manhattan’s Libby Condon. Christine Chesna is the coach.
The players appreciated being a part of the historic inaugural Attack-sponsored tournament at the new place.
“I like that they are able to host tournaments,” said Lavery, a Meadow Ridge student. “They have different things like a store [merchandise and clothing] and gym and concession stand.”
“The gym is very big so there is a lot of open space for practice and game,” added O’Brochta, who attends St. Michael School. “They have a lot of good food at the concessions and I love the store. There is good stuff at the store. The mac and cheese from the concessions stand here is great.
“I used to roller skate here and they turned it into a volleyball complex and it’s really fun. This is our first tournament at home, it’s special to us. It’s exciting to us.”
Some of the older players who have not yet enjoyed a home tournament yet but they still enjoy practicing at one place.
“It is different, it’s a great change,” said Lainey Green, an eighth grader at Homer Junior High School, who plans on attending Lockport next season. “It’s impressive that there are so many courts here. I’m used to places with two courts and now we have a lot more.”
“I think it’s really nice,” said Century Junior High eighth grader Reilly Chausse, who plans to attend Sandburg. “I like the courts and the setup.”
A Cork & Kerry restaurant is scheduled to open at the facility in the coming weeks and an MPX ELite Fitness facility is on the second floor.
“It’s been a lot of hard work but it has paid off in so many ways,” Campbell said. “We’re closer to our coaches and our parents. We are able to walk upstairs and there is a full workout facility. It’s not just some weights. We have our own jump boxes. We built our own setting machines that are utilized every day. We are able to start our master’s program this year where every child is learning the same thing in every division. When you have two teams here and two teams there, you can’t do that. It’s been phenomenal and there are still a ton of awesome things coming.
“It’s a dream I’ve had for a long time. The sky is the limit now.”