Photo by Jeff Helmkamp
The Civic Memorial senior class includes (front row, from left) Cara Melton, Sydney Marshall and Annika Ochs; (back row) Kaity Kappler, Jenna Parmentier, Baleigh Gehrs and Kennedy Carnes.
Jenna Parmentier is upset her first and final season with the Civic Memorial volleyball team is coming to an end.
“I wished I could have come out sooner,” said Parmentier, who transferred to CM from Staunton High and is the daughter of Eagles head football coach Mike Parmentier.
But Parmentier is thrilled to be part of a winning team. Civic Memorial entered this week with a 13-11-1 record.
“I try to bring whatever I can and help them out because I knew in previous years, they weren’t too good,” Parmentier said.
Parmentier is also happy to be playing with her senior teammates Kaity Kappler, Annika Ochs, Cara Melton, Sydney Marshall, Kennedy Carnes and Baleigh Gehrs. All six of them have played with the CM program since they were freshmen.
“This is awesome,” Parmentier said. “They took me in and I love it here.”
The senior class is looking to help the Eagles finish with their first winning season since 2010. The Eagles were 13-15-3 last year.
“It will be really nice because the last few years have not been that good,” Gehrs said. “This year, we’re doing really good.”
The Eagles stormed to a 7-1 start. They also won a pair of Mississippi Valley Conference matches, making it the first time in Amanda Biggs’ four-year tenure as head coach that CM has won a conference game.
“We’ve done really good this year, especially with us all being seniors and we’ve been playing together for a really long time,” Gehrs said.
Biggs said she’s pleased with the way her seven seniors have been performing this season.
“One of the best things about having such a strong senior-led team is you can really see the passion and how badly they want it and they worked so hard for four years to get to this point,” Biggs said. “It’s amazing to see it all come together.”
Biggs took over as CM head coach when Kappler, Ochs, Melton, Marshall, Carnes and Gehrs were freshmen. Biggs was an assistant at Metro East Lutheran before taking over coaching duties at CM in 2013.
“I love Biggs and I love the way that she coaches,” Ochs said. “She cares so much about us and about our team and about how we play and about the people that we are. She doesn’t just care about winning. She cares about us as people and as a team.”
Ochs, the Eagles’ libero, earned all-tournament honors at the Granite City Fall Classic last month.
“Annika is a great libero for us,” Biggs said. “She moves very well and she’s a vocal leader.”
Marshall is the Eagles’ setter. Last month, she recorded 17 assists in the Eagles’ win over Triad, snapping a 32-match conference losing streak.
“It’s great to have somebody who is so smart with her decision-making,” Biggs said. “She leans on the shoulders of her teammates and she relies on them to really help her succeed.”
Kappler is the Eagles’ middle blocker. She earned all-tournament honors at the Alton Invitational Tournament in each of the last two years.
Parmentier is the defensive specialist and Melton plays both outside hitter and defensive specialist.
“Our entire defense is strong with Jenna and Cara and with Kaity playing all the way around,” Biggs said. “It’s nice to be able to have those strong players like that.”
Carnes, who earned all-conference honors in her junior year, is the middle blocker and Gehrs is the outside hitter.
Ochs said she enjoyed playing with Gehrs, Melton, Carnes, Marshall and Kappler all four years at CM.
“They’re all some of my best friends,” she said. “We spend a lot of time together on and off the court. We just really click. We’ve been together since we were really little playing volleyball and hanging out and everything.”
The seniors will play their final home match on Oct. 17, when CM takes on No. 1 MVC rival Jersey.