There were an unusual number of elite volleyball players at the York-Lyons match on Oct. 10 in La Grange.
On the court, the talent was evident on both squads.
Due to Lyons’ coach Joann Pyritz announcing her retirement from coaching – girls and boys volleyball – effective at the end of this calendar season, the York contest took on an added layer of significance.
Several of Pyritz’s former players, including many from two state championship teams, were in attendance for Lyons' last home match.
Considering how she played in a tough environment, York freshman outside hitter Georgiana Barr raised a few eyebrows with her own stellar play.
York veteran coach Patty Iverson often prefers to keep her words direct and to a minimum, but she praised Barr for her play this season in particular in a tough 25-16, 23-25, 25-20 loss to Lyons in West Suburban Silver play.
“We didn’t execute and we didn’t block (well) or play defense, but our outside hitters played well,” Iverson said. “(Georgiana) did very well.”
Iverson estimated that Barr finished with between “10 to 15 kills” against Lyons to raise her season total to well over 200.
At 6-foot-1, Barr stood out on the court for her size – and talent. She had consecutive kills midway through the second game to spark a rally. She pounded a kill to cut a third-game deficit to 17-16.
Iverson said Barr’s development is a work in progress after she was moved from middle blocker to outside hitter.
“She’s doing a great job, just needs to work on a few things, like ballhandling,” Iverson said. “She has more kills than any freshman ever has at York.”
Barr showed off her next-level talent early this season. She was named to the Benet Invite All-Tournament team, which is traditionally one of the best early season tourneys. Barr said learning the intricacies of passing is the hardest thing at her new position.
“Transitioning from only playing in the front row to passing is really hard,” she said. “It’s just a lot of hours in the gym. Hitting, I was an aggressive middle hitter before, just because blocking wasn’t really my thing. Being able to jump really high and snapping on the ball and taking a slower approach is all it takes.”
Playing volleyball since she was eight years old, Barr admitted she’s excited for her future at York. She’s been playing club volleyball for many years, and improved her game by lifting weights for the last two seasons, which aided her vertical jump.
“I’m hoping to transition to outside from middle in club volleyball this year, if not next year,” Barr said. “Hopefully, it will help me pass more because I didn’t get to do that much last club season. I’m hoping I will be outside this club season.”