When it came to filling a spot on the back row for the Kaskaskia College volleyball team, coach Kim Rahar didn’t have to look far.
Recently signing with the Blue Angels was Mater Dei High School senior Chelsea Crocker who is following the path of older sister Cortney, who was a defensive specialist for KC the past two seasons.
“Cortney did a great job for us and I foresee Chelsea doing that, too,” said Rahar, who guided Kaskaskia to a school record 34-8 campaign last season. “Without the defense doing their job we don’t get an opportunity to put the ball down [up front]. It’s important to our team’s success and we look for Chelsea to help fill that role. She’s very versatile and an all-round strong player who I think will really help us.”
Crocker said she had several reasons for choosing Kaskaskia. “It’s close to home and I didn’t have to take the big step away [for college],” she said. “Having my sister play there the last two years and getting to follow in her footsteps was probably the biggest [reason].”
Chelsea Crocker, like her sister, comes from a perennially strong program at MD. Last season the Lady Knights were 34-5.
“Kaskaskia’s getting a hard worker,” Mater Dei Coach Chad Rakers said of Chelsea Crocker. “She’s the kind of player coaches want. She’s going to make the program better and her teammates better by showing how hard you need to work every day. Chelsea’s the type of kid you hate to lose.”
While playing defense doesn’t draw the headlines, it’s a job that’s still appreciated by the people who matter most, Chelsea Crocker said. “You don’t get the recognition but your coaches and teammates give you credit,” she said.
A team player, Crocker said the most memorable moment of her prep career came when she wasn’t even on the floor. “Even though I wasn’t playing, winning the state [Class 3A] championship [her junior year] was absolutely awesome,” she said. “I lost my voice that weekend.”
She plans to major in special education. “I’d like to get some classes done [at Kaskaskia], move on to another [four year] school and hopefully get to play volleyball there, too,” she said. “I’m really excited about my next two years at KC.”
Pictured are Chelea Crocker (center) with her parents Krist and Bryan Gonzalez. In back are KC volleyball coach Kim Rahar, MD assistant coach Fred Rakers, MD head coach Chad Rakers and MD principal Dennis Litteken.