GLEN ELLYN – Heading into her sophomore campaign at St. Francis High School, Molly Haggerty would love to have the next 12 months play out like the previous year.
There is only one problem — the Glen Ellyn resident has set the bar pretty high.
An integral part of the Spartans' Class 3A state championship in the fall, the outside hitter was also a member of the Mizuno Sports Performance 15 Elite squad that won the AAU 15 Open National Championship in Orlando in July.
But that's not all. During the first week of August, Haggerty and her teammates on the U.S. Girls Youth National Volleyball Team captured the silver medal at the FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Thailand.
"The whole year has been great," Haggerty said. "It started off with the high school season and winning the state championship. That was quite a run. With the club season, our whole team went through a lot and to end up winning that, that was awesome. In the semis, we were losing 10-14 in the third game and ended up winning 17-15.
"And then being at the Worlds and representing the USA meant so much."
Making the experience in Thailand even more special was the fact that the squad made history, becoming the first U.S. volleyball team (either girls or boys) to bring home a world championship medal at the youth or junior level.
"Our coach had mentioned that going in so our goal was to medal," said Haggerty, who was the youngest member of the team. "What made it even better was making it to the World Championship match. It was such a privilege to be there and to get a medal made it more special."
The international experience left her longing for more opportunities in the future.
"I think watching the Olympics last year definitely made me think about after college and continuing to play," she said. "When we were in Anaheim (the team practiced for two weeks before heading to Thailand), the National team was there and we got to see them practice and they talked to us and I thought it was so cool.
"Going from Anaheim to Thailand, I thought that in a way, it was like we were going to the Junior Olympics. I'd definitely do it again, it was such a great experience."
In the meantime, after taking a couple of days off from the court, Haggerty's focus now shifts to the upcoming high school season with St. Francis beginning practice this week.
"When I was coming home, I had a lot of time to think about it," she said. "I was on the plane for a while. We are all really excited for the upcoming season. We lost our setter and a few other girls, but other than that we will have all the same players. Hopefully we can have another good run."