GRAYSLAKE – Former Grayslake Central High School volleyball star Tory Dohm is living in Chicago. And she’s on a career path that takes advantage of her skills.
“I’m a huge people person,’’ Dohm said. “I’m also kind of a thrill seeker. I really like helping people.”
So what is Dohm searching for?
She wants to be a Chicago police officer.
“I know there are scary people,’’ Dohm said. “I did take a job at Allendale where there at-risk kids. And one kid gave me a nasty bite on my arm.”
When she’s patrolling the streets of Chicago, Dohm might think back on a volleyball career at Grayslake that really stood out. In the fall of 2009, she was clearly one of the best players in Lake County.
“Tory was our all-star,’’ said former Central player Emily Anderson. “She led the team both on and off the court. She was not only an amazing middle hitter but a key motivator for everyone on the team.”
Lauren Novak was beginning her setting career at Central and was glad to have a talented player in the middle.
“Tory was a rock,’’ Novak said. “She had a constant drive to win. Tory was always there when I needed her, calling plays to run and putting the ball away when we needed it the most. She was a beast in the middle. Her serves also a force to be reckoned with.”
Of course head coach Jason Janczak noticed this player at an early age – “when she first walked into the gym.”
“She was the hardest hitter we had seen come through our program in a long time. She could put the ball away and do it quickly,” he said.
Dohm could have been a Mundelein Mustang.
“I was going into fourth grade when we moved to Grayslake,’’ Dohm said.
There was another sport occupying her time.
“I had been playing soccer,’’ she said. “I was on the Mundelein Magic. And then I moved and joined the Grayslake Galaxy.”
Volleyball didn’t show up in her life until the seventh grade. And it wasn’t a great start for her in this sport
“It was middle school volleyball,’’ Dohm said. “It was atrocious.”
Difficult to defend against
Dohm headed to Grayslake with three sports in hand. However, basketball went by the wayside her freshman year.
However, she stuck with soccer and volleyball.
“By my sophomore year, I had made varsity in volleyball,’’ she said. “I joined the Net Force club because it was supposed to be more competitive.”
By her junior year on the court, Dohm was beginning to take charge and becoming difficult to defend against.
“During drills, I loved to practice against her serving,’’ Novak said. “But I was grateful I’d never have to encounter them in games when points mattered. Tory is a natural leader and a true teammate never leaving anyone behind.”
Dohm felt she was still an undersized middle hitter.
“I was still a short middle (5-9),’’ Dohm said. “You have to be quick and be able to read blocks. I had a pretty good year in my junior year.”
This season gave her all-county honors and the team’s MVP. And with her strong serving skills, the Rams allowed her to play all-around.
‘Left the court in tears’
Her senior year, Dohm led a club that won a regional crown.
“The pinnacle point was her senior year,’’ Janczak said. “She was the captain of the most successful Grayslake team in over 15 years. I’ll never forget the regional championship against Antioch. While hitting middle, Tory had developed a shot that hit the corners every time.”
Yet the regional championship match with Antioch started out poorly for the Rams.
“Tory started hitting that shot in games two and three,’’ he said. “Antioch had no answer for it, and we were able to win the match.”
The Rams great season ended with a loss in the sectional. It was the end of her high school playing days.
“It was devastating,’’ Dohm said. “I had a good game, but we just fell short. I left the court in tears. I kind of shut down.”
“It was fun to watch her grow into the person she had become her senior year,’’ Janczak said. “And get what she deserved – a picture on the wall of the school that will hang there for eternity.”
‘I had the time of my life’
Volleyball took Dohm to St. Norbert’s College in Wisconsin. She played one year before transferring to get a major she wanted.
“My passion was social justice,’’ she said.
It was off to Eastern Illinois University and there was a talk about being a walk-on at the Charleston school. And then the coach who had offered the position stepped down.
“It was a huge letdown,’’ she said.
Instead of hanging her head, Dohm became president of the club volleyball team at the school.
“We did the fundraising ourselves,’’ she said. “I had the time of my life. We traveled all over the place. We were playing because we loved the game.”