The Sun Devil volleyball team has suffered a blow just before their season opener.
Julia Katolik, a 6-foot-4 inch middle blocker, said she has been ruled out with a right knee injury for an estimated 6-8 months, effectively ending her 2013 campaign. She will undergo knee surgery within the next two weeks.
“It’s devastating for her, it’s devastating for this team,” head coach Jason Watson said. “These things are tough. I wish we could comfort her in some way, but it’s just tough right now.”
Watson said Katolik experienced discomfort with her right knee during practice the week before the Maroon and Gold scrimmage. She did not play in the scrimmage, but at that point it had just been a precautionary measure due to past injuries.
For Katolik, the junior from Athens, Greece, this is not the first time she has had to recover from an injury.
“I already had three surgeries on my right knee. Five years ago, before I came here, I tore my ACL. And here in my sophomore year, I had two meniscus surgeries,” Katolik said.
Last year, the Sun Devils experienced a similar blow as senior Sarah Clause went down for most of the season with an injury. Coach Watson said he is optimistic about keeping Katolik involved with this team, even if in a different role than originally anticipated.
“What we have to do as a staff, and as a team, is to try and make this season as special for her as we can, in spite of the injury,” Watson said.
The team will now look at middle blockers Mercedes Binns, Whitney Follette, and Andi Lowrance to cover the center of the net. Binns is the hot hand after solid performances in the three scrimmages that the Devils have played in, but Follette and Lowrance will provide much-needed depth at a physically demanding position.
The season for the Sun Devils begins on Friday, Aug. 30, on the road against Utah Valley.