Girls volleyball: Stevenson's Sorenson stood tall

By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/9/2018 11:00 AM
  • Sophie Sorenson of Stevenson High School is the All-Area Team Captain in girls volleyball in Lake County.

      Sophie Sorenson of Stevenson High School is the All-Area Team Captain in girls volleyball in Lake County. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

The operative word is "tiny."

Stevenson senior Sophie Sorenson reached back to her days as a 5-year-old playing volleyball.

"I was so tiny," Sorenson said. "But I was playing on an 8-12 year-old club team. I just wanted to get into the game. The players were nice to me, but I rarely played."

Stevenson volleyball coach Tim Crow kept the theme going. The kid, despite her small frame, competed hard against older players.

"I can't tell you how many coaches over the years have said to me, 'How is this tiny girl beating us?' " Crow said.

Sorenson is not tiny anymore. While 5-foot-7 hitters usually don't intimidate, she became a stellar volleyball player. Her defense was excellent. And her left hand helped provide the Patriots their first conference championship in a decade.

For this and more, Sorenson has been named the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County all-area girls volleyball team.

Her senior season was highlighted by 381 kills, 260 digs and 60 aces.

"She did so well this year," teammate Lilly Cozzi said. "Volleyball is her passion."

This is no overnight success story. Sorenson earned a promotion to the varsity her sophomore season and that was a good time to join up.

"She was so instrumental in our third-place state finish her sophomore season," Crow said of his three-time all-area selection. "Sophie loves to compete at everything she does."

Obviously, a state placement is tops.

"I was ready for the varsity," Sorenson said. "I knew we were going to state that year. We had Jori Radtke and I looked up to her."

Sorenson's junior year was slowed because of a knee injury, but she was healthy for her final season. All Stevenson did during Sorenson's senior campaign was go 26-12, including 7-0 in the North Suburban Conference, and win its own Class 4A regional championship.

"A lot of people had graduated," Sorenson said. "We had only five seniors. Our defense was our mainstay. We had to learn to play with each other."

Stevenson junior setter Grace Tully knew she could trust Sorenson to put the ball away.

"She always knew where to put the ball," Tully said. "She always did the right thing."

Being a southpaw, Sorenson had some advantages and had to work at others.

"Her quick and powerful lefty swing has been difficult for many teams to defend," Crow said. "She is a very crafty player and maximizes every inch and ounce of her body to do it."

Sorenson knows there are stereotypes about lefties,

"In today's volleyball, they think that you can't hit line," she said. "I like defying people."

No volleyball in college for Sorenson? Don't cry for her. She's headed to the University of Connecticut, where she will play Division-I lacrosse.

"I'm looking forward to my college experiences and playing a collegiate sport," Sorenson said.

Crow knows what the senior brings to any team and knows, if she desired, she could play volleyball at the next level. He wouldn't even rule out Division I.

"I wouldn't put anything past that kid as far as what she can do," Crow said. "Typically the D-I schools aren't going to recruit an outside (hitter) that's 5 foot 7, unless they're touching 10 feet. But she still jumps well and has a good arm."

And she knows how to win.

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