By Phil Brozynski
Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier got a glimpse into the future at the 16th annual Autumnfest Volleyball Tournament Saturday at Glenbard East, and what he saw wasn’t half-bad.
The Tigers (29-4) finished third – a considerable improvement over their disappointing sixth-place finish at the Mizuno Cup which included losses to Neuqua Valley and Joliet Catholic.
WW South lost to eventual champion Naperville Central 26-28, 25-23, 25-18 in the semifinals and beat Rockton Hononegah and 6-5 Wisconsin recruit Elle Ohlander 22-25, 25-17, 25-18 in the third-place match.
Mollie Kolosky and Beeca Zlabis each had 11 kills in the Hononegah win.
“We still have a long way to go,” Schreier said. “I liked the way we rebounded after a tough match (in the semifinals). We were still a little down in game one, but we were competitive. It’s something we can build off.”
WW South and Hononegah (23-6) could meet later this season in the DeKalb Class 4A supersectional.
“I’d love another shot at them,” Schreier said. “I’d love another shot at Naperville Central.”
If WW South and Naperville Central were to meet again, it would be in the Class 4A championship game in Bloomington.
Schreier was not the only coach who was pleased with his team’s performance at Glenbard East. Benet coach Brad Baker watched as his team bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to Naperville Central to beat Normal Community (23-7) and Mother McAuley (22-7).
Five-foot-9 junior outside hitter Ariana Mankus led Benet (29-3) with 13 kills against Mother McAuley and 5-10 junior outside Natalie Patzin added nine kills.
“It was a good day,” Baker said.
Making a rare appearance in the Chicago area was perennial downstate small school power Mt. Pulaski (16-12), which defeated Willowbrook in pool play and Prairie Ridge 25-15, 25-21 in the 15th-place match at Autumnfest.
The Hilltoppers have only three seniors on their 15-player rostery. Mt. Pulaski is seeded second in sub-sectional A of the 26-team Danville Schlarman sectional behind Decatur Lutheran (21-2).