Catching Up with Northside Volleyball Alum Isabelle Banez at DePaul University
by Kathryn Merck
Isabelle Banez, class of 2017, committed to DePaul University as a junior in high school. During her time at Northside, her drive and dedication on the volleyball court made her a Northside volleyball legend. Now, she is learning how to transition from a high school to a Division I team.
On September 9, the DePaul Blue Demons hosted the DePaul Invitational, featuring Army West Point, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Northwestern University. The Northwestern Wildcats have two former Whitney Young players on their roster: Alana Walker and Danielle Williams. Throughout her time in high school, Banez faced off against the former Dolphins several times. In addition, Northwestern’s senior setter Taylor Tashima, had once played at the same volleyball club as Banez. Many current CPS players came out to support their old teammates, as the match featured many crosstown rivalries..
The Wildcats took the Blue Demons in three sets (20-25,14-25,19-25.) However, Banez was one of the only freshman to play the game on both sides of the net. “It was really cool to see people I knew across the net from me. I knew their tendencies so it helped us play a better match. Seeing so many familiar faces in the stands was an amazing experience,” Banez told the HoofBeat following the match.
Banez is one of the few Division I athletes to come from Northside. “It’s amazing to be a Division One athlete. I love being able to represent DePaul University on the volleyball court and off the volleyball court. It’s very time consuming, but it is definitely worth every second. I spend so much time with my teammates that they have basically become my family,” she said.
Outside of the Northwestern match, Banez has continued to impress her fans and coaches. The DePaul University Athletics website features headlines such as, “Freshman Isabelle Banez continues to dominate the court, contributing 17 digs and setting a new career high,” in a match against Saint Louis University and “Isabelle Banez helped with the five-point streak to maintain the DePaul lead,” in a match against Loyola University Chicago.
The Blue Demons are now 7-8 overall. Banez has the number two spot in serves and digs. In describing what she wants out of the rest of her season, Banez described some team goals as well as personal goals. “This season, my goal would be to finish in the upper half of the Big East Conference. In the spring season, I really want to be able to beat Northwestern,” Banez said.
In regards to choosing DePaul, Banez loves being a student athlete at a school so close to home. “I love being in Chicago. I love being in the city and I love being close to home. My parents and family make it to almost every game. My parents are coming to every tournament and game, and it’s really nice to have that support system there.”
You can watch DePaul volleyball at the McGrath-Phillips Arena at DePaul’s campus, or watch some of their games on the Big East Network. Be sure to watch Banez as she works toward the rest of a victorious season.