Glory Days with Volleyball Star Arian Adams
Her ability to pound a volleyball helped Libertyville High School win 36 matches in a row in 1994.
One day on a walk with Mia, Liam, Olivia and Brynne, Arian Colton, née Adams, can bring up the subject of sports. She can tell her children tales from her days at Libertyville High School.
How she pounded a volleyball so hard that it scared some folks. How she combined with the likes of Lindsey Celba, Sarah Weiss and Katie Sriver to form one of the best volleyball teams in the state.
And maybe she'll bring up that painful memory of how that season ended.
"It comes up all the time,'' Adams Colton said. "I'll never forget it. We had a lot of great players. But mostly we remember that Carmel match."
On its march to a possible state title, the unbeaten Wildcats tripped on their home floor to neighbor Carmel. And it wasn't like Carmel had no talent. Kerry and Kelly Penney, Jenny Logue and Gina Langer made this team a dangerous foe.
"Everything worked for a long time,'' Adams said. "Carmel was smaller than us. Maybe it was a little too easy for us. We made a lot of mistakes. I was so disappointed. It bothered me forever. But turned out to be a lesson."
Former Libertyville High School volleyball coach Steve Rochon was in the stands that night.
"I think that loss still haunts her,'' Rochon said. "It was surreal that night. They were losing to a bunch of dwarfs. They were pounding it off the back wall. That was her Waterloo."
Female Athlete of the Year
Adams did recover from this loss to take her skills to Loyola University. She was named Loyola's female athlete of the year in 1996.
"I had a great career at Loyola,'' Adams said. "I was player of the year in the conference and captain of the team."
Adams' older brother Zac was a strong left-handed pitcher for the Libertyville baseball team. He went to play at Southern Illinois University. So athletics were important to the family.
"I always had a volleyball net in the back yard,'' she said. "I really liked volleyball and kept on playing it."
She joined up with the Sky High club when club volleyball began.
"I played soccer for a long time,'' she said. "But I decided to focus on volleyball."
Rochon recalled a player who could pound the volleyball but also someone who worked to get stronger. He noted that Karl Jennrich, a football coach, spotted Adams working out with weights.
"She was their prized female project,'' Rochon said. "She was a great power player but she was also a highly, highly skilled player."
All that work did not stop her from getting injured. Adams tore her ACL at Loyola following her brilliant sophomore season.
Her marriage took her on the road to Pennsylvania after graduation from college. She learned the coaching trade at Duquense University. The move back here had her coaching volleyball at Round Lake High School.
Back in Libertyville
And then her babies took over her life. On the way to her fourth child, she coached on the lower levels at Libertyville. Her work on the JV team helped the Wildcats boys team play an excellent season this year.
"She's a quality teacher,'' Rochon said. "We thought our success this spring was a direct reflection on Arian. She was like a goddess to those kids. She taught them how to play."
Rochon stepped down from his post as head coach of the boys program this spring.
"It was great to see her show up with those three kids,'' he said. "They kind of grew up in the gym. They are the nicest kids, too."