By Phil Brozynski
When it comes to the off-season, boys basketball has nothing on girls volleyball.
This week, some of the top players in the Chicago area are competing for Club Fusion and 1st Alliance at the PrepVolleyball.com Classic in beautiful, if not a little soggy, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Later this month, the newly-formed JVDA will host an international field in Louisville, Ky.
But before thinking ahead to the high school season in a few weeks, it’s always a good idea to take a little time to look back.
Here are the best players in the Chicago area over the past 26 seasons. And while looking at this list, think about who will be named the Sun-Times’ 2008 Player of the Year.
Will it be Benet’s Jessica Jendryk, who has already committed to Illinois? Or Mother McAuley’s powerful middle Kelly Griffin? How about Downers Grove South’s great outside Kelsey Safranek? Naperville Central’s explosive Emily McGee? Or will Payton's Courtney Cunningham become the Chicago Public School's first POY?
1982 Eva Murray, Mother McAuley
1983 Nancy Reno, Glenbard West
1984 Mary Eggers, West Aurora
1985 Cheryl Prihar, Oak Forest
1986 Barb Blizzard, Richards
1987 Julie Bremner, St. Francis
1988 Michele Kohler, Richards
1989 Kristin Henriksen, Immaculate Conception
1990 Kathleen Shannon, Immaculate Conception
1991 Sara Skyrd, St. Francis
1992 Michelle Battistella, Mother McAuley
1993 Nicole Peterson, Lockport
1994 Jeanine Szczesniak, Mother McAuley
1995 Ryann Connors, Mother McAuley
1996 Christie Landry, St. Francis
1997 Stephanie Jackson, Lockport
1998 Elizabeth Gower, Naperville Central
1999 Melissa Vandrey, Queen of Peace
2000 Marian Weidner, St. Francis
2001 Samantha Tortorello, Joliet Catholic
2002 Colleen Byrne, Sandburg
2003 Katie Brudzinski, Naperville North
2004 Laura Holloway, Barrington
2005 Jessica Yanz, Naperville Central
2006 Lindsey Mango, Naperville Central
2007 Kelly Murphy, Joliet Catholic