Girls volleyball: It all adds up for Hersey's Kaburov

Updated 11/9/2018 10:45 AM
  • Kati Kaburov of Hersey High School is the All-Area Team Captain in girls volleyball  in the Northwest.

      Kati Kaburov of Hersey High School is the All-Area Team Captain in girls volleyball in the Northwest. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Should it be a surprise that Kati Kaburov's favorite class is math?

Numbers sure are a part of her volleyball game.

And they are big numbers that could have her winding up as Hersey's all-time leader in kills.

Not too shabby when you consider all the Division I sluggers Huskies coach Nancy Lill has sent onto the floor in her 30 seasons running her tradition-rich program.

Kaburov walloped 227 kills as a freshman, 326 as sophomore and 420 this fall which helped lead the Huskies to their 26th regional crown under Lill and a co-championship in the Mid-Suburban East.

It all adds up to the 5-foot-11 junior outside hitter being named the captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Northwest girls volleyball team.

Kaburov is only 181 kills shy of former Notre Dame standout Megan Fesl's record of 1,141. She also needs only 28 more aces to surpass Karen Stewart Kanupky's record of 194.

Not bad for someone who started out as a goalkeeper in soccer before taking a suggestion from a family friend to try her skills on the volleyball court.

"I started out playing soccer and since I was so tall they were making me play goalie," Kaburov said. "I liked playing midfielder where you run up and down the field. I didn't like just standing there (as a goalie) so when one of my parent's friends suggested I play volleyball."

The rest is history.

Kaburov began participating in the sport and attending a few clinics.

"I thought it was a lot of fun," she said. "It's so chaotic, so unpredictable. You never really know what's going to happen. It gets so fast out there, there's always something happening. I just thought it was so interesting and for me, I had so much more fun playing it than soccer."

And when you watch Kaburov play, you see how much fun she is having. But at the same time, she is locked in to the match.

"Everyone cheers so much after every point," she said. "I like it when they cheer but for me, I'm really zoned in to what is happening on the court."

When all-area slugger Liz Fuerst was on the court for the Huskies a few years ago, Kaburov was in the stands.

"I would come to watch her because she was an outside hitter like I was," Kaburov said. "I wanted to play Hersey volleyball and she kind of made me want to."

But Kaburov wasn't sure if she'd ever be good enough.

"I really didn't think I would ever commit to the sport," she said. "Of course I wanted to but it wasn't until eighth grade when Mrs. (Joanie) Fesl was reffing one of my matches and she said to me 'there will be bumps in the road but if you keep going, I think you can go far'. That's what really pushed me to go and keep working at it. I said 'OK I can do this.' "

At times, playing volleyball seven days a week for three weeks, Kaburov's work ethic was exactly what Fesl was talking about.

She's competed in club volleyball for Rolling Thunder, Sky High, First Allaince and Adversity, where she credits coach Ben Formica as the person who helped change her court demeanor.

"When I first started I was kind of shy and timid," said Kaburov, whose brother Alex plays on the Hersey football team. "I wasn't really spunky. I didn't go crazy after each point. He (Formica) really got me to be way more aggressive and outgoing, making me want to kill the ball every time. He really made volleyball a different sport for me and I definitely wouldn't be where I am now without him."

In the classroom, Kaburov is a National Honor Society student who has all A's this school year.

She is undecided on what major she will study at Boston College, where former all-area Hersey setter Jessica Brizzolara also played.

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