#1StudentNWI: Volleyball Prep at Marquette Catholic

#1StudentNWI: Volleyball Prep at Marquette Catholic

Student Spotlight

If you have any questions about volleyball, Isabela Pacheco is the girl to ask. Pacheco has played volleyball for nine years. She plays the back row positions of libero and defensive specialist.

When asked why she enjoys the sport so much, Pacheco said, “I'm not sure what it is exactly, I love every part of volleyball.”

She shares her love of the sport with all her teammates. One sport is not enough for Pacheco. During the spring sports season, you can find her on the softball field. She has the same dedication for softball as she does for volleyball. This volleyball season will be especially meaningful to Pacheco because this will be her last year playing as a Marquette Blazer. On August 20, the first day of school, Pacheco will be a senior!

She commented, “I'm most excited to graduate! Yeah, high school was fun, but I'm ready to be on my own, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for me.”

So far, her favorite part of MQT has been “the retreats and opportunities.” Have a great senior year Isabela!

Teacher Spotlight

Mr. Matt Zima is both an extraordinary coach and teacher at MQT. Zima teaches high school Health and Physical Education. He “will also be instructing eighth graders from local Catholic schools so that they may obtain high school credit in that subject area.”

According to Zima, making a difference was his main reason for becoming a teacher.

“I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Sounds cliche, I know, but I care about each person that passes through the classroom or gym doors," Zima said. "My goal is to help them realize their full potential and maximize their talents.”

This will be his seventh year of teaching, and second year at MQT.

“I’m very thankful to Marquette for the opportunity and can’t say enough good things about the people who work and go to school there,” Zima said.

In his teaching, his philosophy is to create a positive environment for students.

“I strive to create an atmosphere where learning can take place while providing as much one-on-one feedback as possible. I believe that with improved understanding and skill, my students can not only excel in the classroom, but also become positive contributors to society,” Zima said.

In addition to teaching, Zima is the head girls volleyball coach. He has 26 years of coaching experience; coaching for various high schools and at Indiana University Northwest for three and assisting at Ancilla College briefly. He has coached for various volleyball clubs as well such as Synergy VBC and Epic United VBC. One of his favorite moments was meeting the gold medalist beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh.

“Suffice it to say, I was in heaven!” Zima said.

One funny moment that happened in his years of coaching was “At practice one day, I made up a serving game called the “Zombie Duck Drill," in which - kind of like dodgeball - required players to attempt to hit slow moving targets on the other side of the net. Lo and behold, a few of the players took a liking to the drill so much so that our team nickname became the Zombie Ducks.”

Volleyball is going to have an exciting season this year.

What recently happened

From June 18-21, Mr. Zima held a four-day volleyball camp. The camp was open to students in grades 5-8.

The camp “featured skill development, games, and more…” 17 kids attended the camp. Some of the current Lady Blazer team members helped lead the camp. It is important to educate and teach the future generation of volleyball players.

Zima, who was in charge of the camp, was asked why he liked the sport so much. He answered, “Volleyball is uniquely stimulating due to the ever-evolving speed of play, the reliance on others, and the skill that is required to score. As a coach, I have to factor in all of these elements when drawing up both technical and tactical training plans to win. This always keeps me on my toes and willing to learn more. It can be draining sometimes, but I love this type of competitive environment.”

What a great way to spend the summer!

What’s coming up

The Lady Blazers volleyball season is ready to kickoff. The seniors on the team are especially excited.

Maggie Williams, a senior, said, “I think the best part about being a senior is knowing that this will be my last season playing, so for me it’s all about having as much fun as I can. I just can’t believe how fast it has gone, I remember my first practice as a freshman and it seems like it was just last week.”

The rest of the team also share her feelings; Madison Lindsey commented, “I enjoy volleyball because it’s a great way to be with my friends and have fun playing a sport that we all like. I am excited to get better this season and to continue building better relationships with everyone on the team.”

Sara Molina said, “I like volleyball because I think it’s fun and it gives me something to do. It also opens a lot of opportunities.”

Looking to the upcoming season with MQT Blazers, Coach Zima said, “This should be a bright season for Blazer Volleyball! Our numbers have almost doubled, the skill level across the board is much higher, and we now have some senior leadership. Moreover, we have a new assistant coach, Meghan Harte, who played volleyball at Montini Catholic in Illinois and was a lacrosse star at John Carroll University. Undoubtedly, she will be invaluable to our success. We play against some tough opponents, but I really like our progression and enthusiasm so far. I invite everyone to come check us out!”

The Lady Blazers begin their season on August 16 playing against Illiana Christian High School at home.