August 23, 2020 – By NJP
During the 2019 season, only 15 players in the state of New Jersey had over 200 kills and 200 digs. 8 of those were seniors and only two were underclassman. Kate Louer from Clifton, as a sophomore, was part of that elite club. As a sophomore she slammed 220 kills and tallied 211 digs as well as 20 aces and 7 blocks. Two Kate’s, Stoughton (Brick Memorial) and Louer, were the lone sophomores to achieve this goal in 2019.
Kate comes from a sports-minded family that has seen three of her older siblings go on to play college sports with her sister setting the tone and inspiring her on the volleyball court. Like many athletes that play multiple sports, Kate may look to hone in on one in her next two high school seasons despite being an All-County athlete at both basketball and softball. Her goal is to play volleyball in college.
Clifton finished 17-8 in 2019 and will be losing 9 seniors to graduation including a top setter in NJ, Melissa Wydak. But with Kate providing the foundation for the next two seasons, and some talented underclassman getting the chance to rise to the top, The Mustangs will be just fine. Rising Senior Jayslin Jaquez had an outstanding junior year tallying 119 kills and 108 digs. We also expect solid contributions from rising juniors Jenna Joyce and Jessica Pawlik, and rising senior Arlyn Cosme.
Kate is a competitor. She thrives on the action and feels well equipped to raise her game after off-season surgery for a nagging knee injury. She is versatile and certainly has presence on the court. Don’t let the smile fool you… she is all business when it comes to game time. It will be interesting what records she can bring down in the Clifton volleyball archives as she continues her impressive career on the hard court.
Here is our interview with Ms. Louer…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Kate?
I live in Clifton, NJ and attend Clifton High School. I will be graduating in June 2022. I’m the youngest of 4, 2 brothers and a sister. They are all athletes as well. My older sister plays volleyball for Stockton University, my older brother rowed crew and played rugby at SUNY Maritime College and my other older brother will be playing lacrosse for SUNY Maritime this coming season. My siblings and I have played several sports since we were 4 or 5 years old. My parents are very active in our lives and with sports. My Mom coached my first soccer team when I was 4 years old and did so for several years. My Dad coached basketball, baseball and lacrosse. I actually started out as a soccer player at age 4 and went on to travel soccer until the 8th grade. I was introduced to volleyball around 5th grade by my sister and fell in love with the sport. Because volleyball and soccer are in the same season I had to make a choice by the end of 8th grade and it was volleyball!
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I have been playing volleyball since the 5th grade. I started playing for the Avengers Volleyball Club in Clifton. My older sister inspired me to take up volleyball because she played for Avengers as well. We both started as soccer players and wound up volleyball players.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am 5‘10” . I play all around outside for both high school and club, which is my favorite position. I also play middle for high school.
How will your Clifton high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success?
My high school team has several returning players. As long as the whole team keeps up with their training, works hard, focuses and stays in shape, then we will have a good shot at winning many games and even awards this season.
Tell us about your Mustang teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
We have several possible up and coming valuable players. A few girls played club this past year and there is a lot of potential for our team. With tryouts being delayed, the season being postponed and all the uncertainty we all will have to stay committed and focused on volleyball the best that we can.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in College? (If so, which ones are you looking at?)
I plan on playing volleyball in college. I am presently researching colleges and not sure yet.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
I think Fernanda Reyes from Passaic was a tough competitor. She was a great passer and server.
You lead the Mustangs with 220 kills and 221 digs as a sophomore last season… what are your personal goals for 2020?
I played last season (2019) with a knee injury and had it repaired with surgery in February. I am really looking forward to my 2020 season. I am strong, no knee pain and ready to kill it. Unfortunately, the 2020 season has a lot of unknowns right now, however, I will keep practicing and training and do whatever I can to surpass all of my past goals. One of my goals is to hit 1000 kills.
You were second in the state in kills for your sophomore class year. Do you feel pressure as the “go-to” person on the attack for Clifton? Yes and no. I am a strong outside hitter, but I do not play alone. Without my team I cannot succeed. It takes all of us to do our jobs to win the game. I do sometimes feel pressure, but I know my team is right there with me.
Tell us about your Clifton high school coach Dan Crespo?
As a freshman I was selected for the varsity team with 3 other freshman. Coach Crespo saw the future! Although we graduated 8 seniors, we still have a young team, which several played club this year which is good for us. Coach Crespo expected a lot from me. He always pushed me to learn more, do better and train harder. I feel we had a mutual respect and we both really love the game. The one way we were different is that he likes to talk and I tend to be quiet.
Tell us about your club experience and your Club Coach?
I played club for several years at NJVBC (North Jersey Volleyball Club) and I now play at SureShots Volleyball Club. Coach Leah Hansford is great. She was inspirational, worked me hard, expected a lot from me and had great respect for all the girls. She taught me new things and corrected me when needed. I learned a lot from her in one short season as I was new to the club and COVID-19 cut the season short. I love playing club ball and traveling. It is fun to meet other competition and see what is out there.
How tough will it be to transition to a new setter after having a player like Melissa Wydak quarterbacking the team?
Melissa and I worked really well together. I will definitely miss her. She will do great at Felician College. I am not sure right now who will set for Clifton so it is hard to say. It will take some hard work and dedication but I am confident that it will be a smooth transition.
Who is your support group?
Definitely my family! My Mom and Dad are always there for me at every game and then some. They shuttle me back and forth, participate with the booster club and help me and the team anyway they can. My brothers and sister always come to my games when they are home from college. We are one another’s biggest fans. I cannot forget my grandmother who absolutely loves to watch sports and me play. She attends every game of every sport, regardless of weather or distance.
How are you and your family dealing with current world situation with COVID-19?
How will the delay in the Fall high school season schedule effect you or your team? My family and I are doing well and staying healthy. Although life came to an abrupt stop, especially to a busy family like mine, some good has come out of it. We have spent a lot more time together, working out, playing different sports, eating dinner together again with everyone home and we even refinished the basement. Luckily, we all get along! If life goes back to whatever normal is, I will actually miss my siblings. It will only be me for a while. There are so many limitations right now. With the season being postponed it is difficult to put goals in place. I can only hope that there actually is a season in 2021. We have been practicing for several weeks now, but more strength and conditioning. I have been looking forward to playing and I am ready to go! I really missed finishing club season and going to some college volleyball camps. I really hope we can get some games to play. I cannot imagine not playing. I love the intensity and excitement of the game. Once I am in between those lines on the court it all becomes so natural. This season will be the hardest and most unpredictable. With different rules, lack of intense training and opinions about the virus it will be difficult to meet some goals for me or the team. To add to the complexity we now have a new coach. It will take time to learn about one another and become a fine tuned machine.
Which do you prefer… Beach or Hard Court?
I have only played hard court volleyball.
Have you won any awards such as All County or All State or others?
I won First Team All-Passaic County my freshman and sophomore year for volleyball (2018/19), First Team All-Division (Big North) my freshman and sophomore year for volleyball (2018/19), honorable mention for basketball (2018) and Second Team All-County for softball (2019).
What are your other hobbies or interests?
I enjoy drawing, hanging out with my friends, going on walks and listening to music.
What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
I have thought about nursing as a career.
What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for next year?
I play on a volleyball club team off season. Any chance I get, I practice at home. Sometimes with my siblings and other times my friends. We have a volleyball net set up most of the time, but even if not we are always playing or passing and hitting. It is fun with my sister because she doesn’t hold back and I get to learn from her skills. Watching college volleyball is so exciting and a great way to learn. I went to the NCAA Division III Tournament last year to watch Stockton University play. They were the NJAC Champions. I was so proud of my sister. Watching her makes me want to play even more. I do workouts at home. I also play first base on our high school softball team. I participate in those winter workouts as well.
What else would you like us to know about you?
I am very competitive and like to win. I have been told I look intimidating but I always respect the other team and have good sportsmanship, which I feel is very important. I never lose my temper. I am just all business on the court. Maybe being the last of 4 siblings taught me to compete hard and also work as a team.