My daughter and I went to the St Joe’s v Christian Life WIAA Volleyball Tournament game last week and it was fantastic to be back in the Madrigrano Gymnasium again. Much has changed but so very much has remained the same. The picture I have decided to post should be very familiar to anyone that spent any amount of time sitting in those stands and cheering for the Lancers. All you have to do is imagine the people that one would see standing at the top of those steps, on the southeast corner of the gym, just outside the AD’s office. The names are as iconic as the sports program they represented…Frank Matrise, Sr..Bob Carbone..Donna Smits..Dr Ray Knight..Phil Anderson and of course the legendary Bob Karnes just to name a few, would be standing there watching a ball game and keeping the peace over the student section.
I enjoyed watching the Lancers play volleyball that night for three reasons. First and foremost, I am a volleyball dad and have been for just south of 20 years. My date for the night, my middle daughter, is a current high school volleyball head coach and club coach; and a damn good one. I know good high school volleyball when I see it and that night I most definitely saw it. Second, it helped set up a St Joe v Dominican state playoff game which hits home for me because like those current girls playing tonight, I had a chance to play a division rival Dominican in a state baseball playoff game in the spring of 1980. After beating them twice in the regular season (Matt Montemuro beating them in Milwaukee and me getting the W down here at Lincoln Park), we played them in Round 1 of the WISAA State Baseball Playoffs and got soundly beaten. And lastly, because of the legacy that is St Joseph’s sports. The names of the girls that anchored the impressive showing that night were very familiar to Lancer fans.
It was fun to watch that clean, well-played, well coached game and kudos must go out to the ladies from Christian Life as well, they played very well and never quit in a match that they were a little outgunned in. And out on the floor a couple of cousins named Schuler were leading the Lancers to victory. Ron and Steve Schuler are no strangers to athletic success at Kenosha St. Joe’s so there is little reason to believe that their daughters would do anything but thrive on that blue and gold court. They did not disappoint. Of course Mrs. McTernan was in the house, no one has done more for a school than her. It would be hard to imagine anything going on at that school without her involvement and expertise. After the game we trucked down that historic stair case and around the corner at the bottom of the stairs stood basketball coach Brandon Morris a basketball legend at the school. The more the details change, the more the players stay the same.
So good luck to the Lady Lancers tonight v Dominican. That is one tough ass gym to play at. They have a loud and enthusiastic home crowd and they embrace their tradition as intensely as do the folks from St Joe’s. Anyone that ever played a sport or spent a year at that school knows what St Joe’s sports was and what St Joe’s sports is. It is class, it is competitive and it is a study in tradition populated by legacy. I know I am proud to have called that place home and I very much enjoy every trip back into that gym. And now it is not only fun to see what is happening with my eyes, it is equally great to recreate what was happening with my memory. Larry Carbone, Mike Gentile, Carol Brownlee, Joe Nelson, Anna and Jenny Knight, my brother Perry, Jarvis Brown..the list is absolutely endless and the school is most definitely one of the great things about life in Kenosha.