Walk into Woodstock's gymnasium during a volleyball practice this summer and it might be difficult to spot Meghan Mullaney.
Mullaney, the new Blue Streaks' varsity volleyball head coach, never sits idly on the sidelines. As a hands-on coach, Mullaney said she works alongside her team in practice from playing in scrimmages to dishing out serves to test her players' serve receive skills.
Only 22 years old, Mullaney acknowledged there are some challenges she faces being so close in age to her players. But Mullaney expects the Blue Streaks will adopt her passion and competitiveness.
"I bring new ideas to the table and even though I am really young I find that my teaching style and coaching style are a little bit old school," Mullaney said. " ... I think I'm going to do a good job."
Mullaney had been an assistant varsity coach and the freshman head coach at West Chicago for the boys and girls volleyball teams. Mullaney wants the Blue Streaks to have fun while playing, which she hopes would rub off on the lower levels to create a camaraderie within the volleyball program.
"My goal for this first year is to develop a solid program that people want to get into, that people are wanting to try out," Mullaney said. "You've got to get the kids to want to be there."
Mullaney has already met some of the volleyball players when she visited Woodstock on Friday and will hold a team meeting on May 17 for anyone interested in trying out to lay out her expectations. The Fox Valley Conference owns the reputation as being one of the best volleyball conferences in the state, however Mullaney isn't worried about taking over a program that went 19-47 in conference play the last six seasons under former coach Michelle Stilling.
"If we can focus on what we're going to do and how we're going to prepare, we'll be ready no matter what the other team brings against us," Mullaney said.
Mullaney, who played volleyball at Elmhurst College from 2008-10, will also teach physical education at Woodstock.
“Meghan has an energy and spirit that will benefit our volleyball program and blend well with our kids and the program’s direction,” athletic director Glen Wilson said.