Morman happy to be a Panther

Published 7:07 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – LaGrange High’s Caitlin Morman is going to keep playing volleyball, and she won’t have to go far to do it.

Morman is set to join the volleyball team at LaGrange College, and she made it official last week during a ceremony at the high school with friends, family members, teammates and coaches there to enjoy the moment with her.

Morman will join the team this fall, and her first game will be on Sept. 1 at Millsaps (Miss.), and she and her teammates will make their home debut on Sept. 7 against Judson.

Morman’s plans were to attend LaGrange College regardless, and with some encouragement from her parents, she decided to see about joining the volleyball team.

“I’d been planning on going to LaGrange College for their exercise-science program,” she said. “But then my parents, they said just talk to the volleyball coach, so I said OK. So I texted her, and emailed her, and she said yeah, turn in some film and we’ll talk. So that’s what I did, and she said we’d love to have you.”

Morman will be playing for head coach Madison Machurek, who is also a new-comer to the program.

Machurek, a standout player for the College of Idaho, was an assistant coach at Marietta (Ohio) College before accepting the LaGrange College position, and this will be her first season.

“She’s made us all feel real welcome,” Morman said. “She’s started us on a summer workout already, so that bodes well.”

Morman said she’s looking forward to having her former teammates at LaGrange come to the college games.

“That’s going to be fun,” she said. “Hopefully the team will be able to come and see high-paced volleyball. That’s not stuff you see in high school.”

LaGrange High volleyball coach Angie Newton said “I’m real excited for Caitlin.”

“She’s always been real close to my heart,” Newton added. “She’s just a great kid, and her family’s great. I’m real thrilled for her and excited. I know she’ll go a long way in life.”

Morman joins a LaGrange College team coming off one of the best seasons in the history of the program.

After reaching the USA South tournament semifinals, the Panthers finished with a 22-14 record, and that was their first winning record since 2011, and it was the most wins accumulated since 2005 when the team went 26-13.

While three seniors from last year’s team were lost, there are some talented players returning, including senior Maggie Ivester, who was eighth in the conference in kills last season.

Also back is junior Lauren Sanders, who led the team in assists, and starters Libby Compton and Emily Arnold are back as well.

As for the program Morman leaves behind, Newton believes it is in good shape.

Newton said there is a lot of excitement surrounding the program, and that there will be enough players this season to have a freshman team.

So LaGrange will have a varsity team, a junior-varsity team, and a freshman team this fall.

“I had 48 kids try out two weeks ago,” Newton said. “We looked at our numbers and we thought it’d be more beneficial to LaGrange High volleyball, and it’d be more beneficial to these kids so we decided to make a ninth-grade team.”

Newton added that “us doing this we’re getting a lot of interest at the middle school also. We should see a big difference in about two to three years here.”