November 19, 2020 – By NJP
Impact freshman are so difficult to find in the NJ girls High School volleyball landscape. It’s like discovering a hidden gem on the ocean floor or a $50 bill in the pocket of your jeans you haven’t worn in a year. For Ridgewood last year, they knew it was going to be a rebuilding season after losing the majority of their varsity team to graduation. But Cammi Quirk was a wonderful surprise as she emerged as a player who can be a leader for all 4 of her years at the school.
When your setter graduates at high school, the big question is who will be quarterbacking next years strategy. Who will have the smarts and instincts to run the offense and make good decisions with the millisecond of reaction time to orchestrate the attack. Cammi was honored to be asked to consider the role, especially as a rising sophomore.
Quirk relishes the opportunity to add responsibility to her shoulders. She has been playing volleyball in her words “as long as I can remember” and has been part of the Digs VBC since the age of 10. Even at that young age she made the 13U level team, so feeling the pressure to step with older players is not new to her.
Ridgewood has the chance to excel this season with most of last years core starters returning and only graduating two players. The Big North has last years top team and 5 clubs in the NJP top 20 preseason ranks, so its always a challenge each year to make any headway. The Maroons pull down a #65 ranking, which basically means they can compete with just about any team in the state. Their Freedom division, stacked with Northern Highlands and Old Tappan, will present many challenges, but with a shortened season due to COVID, anything can happen. Hard work and determination can be a deciding factor. Which is what Cammi is counting on.
Here is our interview with Ms. Quirk…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Cammi?
My name is Cammi Quirk and I am a Sophomore at Ridgewood high school. I have an older brother Brady who is graduating this year and I live with my mom and my dad.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I’ve been playing volleyball for as long as I can remember, my dad has always had a big role because he would play with me when he wasn’t coaching. I started playing club when I was 10 years old playing up for a 13u team and have been playing at DIGS ever since. My love for the game is unmatched because I have grown to love it over such a long period of time.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am a 5’8 setter, I can touch 9’2 off of my approach. Throughout all the years I’ve played club I have played just about every position on the court. My first for years I was a pin hitter then a DS/Lib, I even played a little bit in the middle but recently I have found my home as a setter. My favorite place to play would definitely be as a setter because you can control the whole game and it’s all up to your decision.
Tell us about your Maroon teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
All my teammates are great but I think that Grace Kautzmann and Annabelle He are the two to look out for. Grace playing all around as an outside and one of our strongest passers. You may not think you need to look out for a libero but with Annabelle’s love for the game and nasty serves she definitely is a strong player all over the court.
Ridgewood finished 9-10 last season but returned all but 2 varsity players from last years squad. What is your expectation for this years team?
Graduating 9 seniors the year before our coaches said it was a rebuilding year. Since only two seniors graduated we will have a majority of the returning team. I expect us to come out strong and play every game with a determination to win. We have the team to win this year with an all Junior and senior team with exception of me we will definitely put up some hard competition.
One of the players lost to graduation for the Maroons was setter Maggie Heuer. Tell us about your transition to become a setter?
I never thought of myself as a setter until Maggie graduated. The last few days of practice our coach said that she wanted me to train as a setter. I never really thought it would be in the place I am today, I just thought I would be a DS for club and maybe set for school, but now I am doing both.
The Big North can be a nasty place with some of the best girls high school volleyball teams in the state in multiple divisions. NJP projects the Maroons in the top 65 in NJ of well over 300 teams. How will you match up with perennial powers and division foes Northern Highlands (#14) and Old Tappan (#8)?
Being in the Big North is definitely a challenge, we face challenging teams every time we play. Playing a team like Highlands or Old Tappan is definitely a tough match but coming out strong and keeping a high energy is definitely going to help us. We will definitely also use our strengths to our advantage to keep the games close.
You had a solid freshman campaign in your initial season with Ridgewood, especially on the back line. What are your personal goals for Spring 2021?
I would definitely like to see more wins coming our way this season and a personal goal would be to push harder in the front row, attacking more as a front row setter.
Can you tell us about your best memory from your freshman season?
My favorite memory from freshman season would have to be splitting with Ramsey 27-25 23-25 21–25. Although we lost we played the best we have played all season in that game. whether it was diving into the stands or making our serves we played with so much energy that game it will be hard to beat.
What inspires you?
Something that inspires me is to be the best me that I can be. I push myself to try my hardest everyday because there is no one else like me in the whole world. Making people happy or smiling is another thing that inspires me because it brings joy to them even if it’s a rough day.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
Our toughest competitor would probably be Jess Spierenburg from Ramsey or Carly Powell from Old Tappan. They both have a different way of looking at the court and see the holes extremely well. They find all the holes in defense and see who our weakest players are.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan to play volleyball at the college level, and if so, which ones are you looking at?
I am currently planning on playing volleyball at the collegiate level. Although I am not committed I have been widening my search out for a good fit for me and my skills.
What is your favorite volleyball story?
My favorite volleyball story would be when my club team played a team from Canada and our setter got hurt and I came in and set the rest of the game. It was my first time setting and it will definitely be one to remember.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
A coach that has really helped me along the way was Scotti Mosay, he made me realize that volleyball is at just a game and if you love something you should always pursue it no matter what.
“If you’re looking for a versatile, high energy, athletic student-athlete, you have found it in me! I bring energy to every aspect of my life – academics, athletics and socially. I cannot get enough of time in the gym with a volleyball in my hand. It is honestly the one thing I am most passionate about. I simply love this game. I am a hard worker who will put in extra work on my own. I have been the team captain for all of my teams and enjoy the role of bringing the team together and building our bond. I have played every position on the court and found a home as a setter last year. I also am a catcher on the softball team and volunteer coaching youth and with my church.” — Cammi Quirk
What is your favorite inspirational video or music that you like to watch or listen to before games?
At Ridgewood our favorite teams songs were Dinero by Trinidad or Thneedville from the lorax. It really gets us all hyped and ready to play hard.