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Rewards for jobs well done for Marist coaches

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

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Photos by Jeff Vorva

Maggie Strus, shown as an assistant coach at Marist in the fall, is expected to be announced as an assistant coach at DePaul.

 

There were quite a few honors and accolades thrown Marist players’ way after they won the Illinois High School Association Class 4A State Championship in girls volleyball in November and were named national champions by FloVolleyball.

Now the coaches are receiving some notice.

Head coach Jordan Vidovic was named volleyballmag.com’s National High School Coach of the Year while his assistant, Maggie Strus, is heading a few miles north to be DePaul University’s women’s assistant coach.

Vidovic, who also coaches the RedHawks’ boys team, had already captured a unique daily double as he was named East Suburban Catholic Conference Coach of the year for the boys in the spring and the girls in the fall of 2017. Now his reputation has spread to the national level.

The former Brother Rice star who played at Lewis University and was a 2007 USA Beach Volleyball Player of the Year, is usually pretty calm on the bench. It’s likely that his quiet, confident demeanor helped during boiling points of a 41-1 season, including those agonizing moments for the RedHawks when they were down 8-4 in the third and deciding game against Minooka. They rallied and dominated the rest of the way for a 22-15 victory.

“We didn’t waver too high or too low,’’ the coach said minutes after receiving his championship medal. “There were points in the match when we didn’t play our best. We were able to stay even keel and grind it out. We’ve been in those situations before and our senior leadership carried us through.’’

Strus has not been officially announced at DePaul but insiders say an announcement is expected shortly that she will on the Blue Demons’ new staff. Nadia Edwards was let go by the school in December after eight seasons and was replaced by Marie Zidek, an Orland Park native who attended Marian Catholic and Northern Illinois University.

Strus has a family history with DePaul. Her mother, Debbie, had a hall-of-fame volleyball career at the school and her younger brother, Max, is DePaul’s leading scorer on the men’s basketball team.

She said she enjoyed her time at Marist.

“Winning a state championship and national championship was extremely rewarding but I don’t think it would have ever happened if it wasn’t for every single girl on our roster and without anyone that supported the program,’’ Strus said. “Each player in their own talents are extremely remarkable young women so I couldn’t be happier to share that experience with them. We put a ton of work in last year and to see it all pay off is indescribable.”

The Hickory Hills native helped Stagg win four SouthWest Suburban Red championships and played four seasons at UIC, where she left with a school-best 1,677 digs. She is also one of two coaches in the family as her brother, Marty, is the boys basketball coach at Stagg.

Volleyballmag also named setter Molly Murrihy first-team All-America last week. Mother McAuley’s Charley Niego was an honorable mention.