It’s in the genes: Hannah Kaminsky

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

There is plenty of athletic prowess in the Kaminsky gene pool.

SIU volleyball junior setter Hannah Kaminsky is swimming in it. This season, she leads the Salukis in assists and service aces with 323 and 15 respectively, helping SIU to a 9-4 record. 

Kaminsky was named the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year in 2013. SIU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said the setter is the quarterback of the volleyball team. She moved to ninth in the school record book for career assists this season with 323 in 13 matches bringing her total to 2,192. 

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She was inspired to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Mary Kaminsky, and older sister, Kaylee Kaminsky, who both played volleyball at the collegiate level.  

Her mother attended Northwestern University and played professional volleyball in Germany before becoming the coach of the women’s volleyball team at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn. She coached there until 2003, when her kids began competing in their respective sports. 

Kaylee played at Indiana Tech and is now a graduate assistant coach at University of St. Francis.

The men in the family have ties to basketball. Her father, Frank Kaminsky II played basketball at Lewis University from 1974 to 1977 and is the No. 8 all-time leading scorer at the university with 1,521 points. He also coached the girls basketball team for eight years at Glenbard West High School.  

Frank Kaminsky III, Hannah’s brother, followed in his father’s footsteps. He was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 National Basketball Association Draft. He played basketball at University of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2015. He was voted college basketball’s Naismith Player of the Year in 2015 and made it to the national championship game, which Wisconsin lost to Duke. 

The Kaminsky children often went with their parents to practices and games while they were coaching at Glenbard West.

Mary recalls Hannah completing her first overhand serve when she was 5 years old during a Glenbard West volleyball practice. Some of Mary’s players were still serving underhand.

After switching from outside hitter to setter in middle school, Hannah began training with Sports Performance volleyball club.

Ingram found Hannah at a tournament while she was in high school. He said her experience was evident before college. 

“We started looking at Hannah when we saw her play in the Mizuno Sports Performance National Classic in Chicago,” Ingram said. “She was able to pass tempo sets five years ago, that’s when we knew her hands were conditioned.” 

The tempo sets Kaminsky completed are now a staple in the SIU offense.

Tempo sets are low, fast passes to quickly get the ball to the attacker and leave the defense scrambling to shift in position for a block. 

The SIU volleyball team runs a two-setter system with Kaminsky and junior setter Meg Viggars, who is also a hitter. 

“When I go front row, Hannah comes in and we run our offense,” Viggars said. “We run the two-setter system up until we can’t side-out.”

The side-out in volleyball is when the serving team loses the point and the right to serve the ball.

Having two capable setters in Kaminsky and Viggars gives the Salukis an advantage against other MVC teams. Ingram says only three other teams in the MVC run a two-setter system.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE

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