By Pat Brozynski

August 2008 Archives

IC must step up to step up to 2A

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By Phil Brozynski

Only one thing stood between Immaculate Conception and the Class 1A semifinals last year - Keith Country Day School's imposing 6-foot-1 Jordan Haverly.

Haverly single-handedly prevented Immaculate Conception from reaching the state finals in Bloomington for the ninth time overall but first since 1993, amassing more than 25 kills in a tension-filled 25-21, 22-25, 28-26 victory.

With nearly every starter returning from last year's 28-12 team (5-9 in the tough Suburban Catholic against the likes of St. Francis, Rosary and Marian Central), ordinarily Immaculate Conception would be considered a lock to reach the state finals this fall.

But the Knights' road to Bloomington ran into a curve. A slight increase in enrollment coupled with the Illinois High School Association's multiplier bumped Immaculate Conception into Class 2A this fall.

Nonetheless, led by senior libero Catherine Guido and senior middle hitter Danielle Remy, Jean Field's Knights will begin the 2008 season as the best of the small schools in the Chicago area.

"I think we have two of the better players in the area with Guido and Remy," said Field, who guided Immaculate Conception to Class A state titles in 1981 and 1984 and runner-up finishes in 1979, 1980 and 1985.

"Catherine is probably one of the best liberos in the area, and I think Danielle is one of the best middles in the western suburbs," Field said. "She played a great game against Haverly."

Guido, who has started since her freshman season, has been an all-conference selection each of the last two years. She had 562 digs in 2007 to give her 1,092 for her career. Remy compiled 247 kills in 2007 to go along with 111 blocks.

Also returning for the Knights are senior outsides Mary Cheng and Mary Kate Manion, middle hitter junior Maggie Ryan and junior middle Kelly Mulligan. Sophomore outside Jordyn Platt could vie for playing time.

Other small school teams to watch in 2008 are Chicago Christian, St. Edward and Latin.

Chicago Christian, which qualified for the Class 2A semifinals in 2007, return 6-foot middle hitter Lizzie Kamp and 5-10 sophomore, 6-foot junior Kirsten Harms and senior setter Brianna Robertson. The Knights also have a new coach in James Garcia.

Playing against the likes of St. Francis and Marian Central will prepare St. Edward ready for the state tournament. Having senior Kristen Haggenjos, who has committed to Loyola, and senior outside hitter/setter Katie Yohn, who has committed to play basketball at Bradley, will also help.

Latin will load up behind sophomore opposite Teddy Nagaro and three-year starting outside Alex Blair, who are among the top returning veterans for for coach Liz Tortorello-Nelson.

***

As a footnote, according to several media outlets, Haverly recently requested and was granted her release from the Nebraska volleyball program. She has reportedly returned home and will train at Club Fusion outside Marengo.

***

Defending NCAA Division I champion Penn State will be among four teams competing in the 1st Annual Chicago Classic sponsored by Elite Volleyball Program September 12-13 at Mother McAuley High School.

Louisville will play Illinois State University (ISU) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 12,. followed by the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) and Penn State at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, September 13, UIC will play Louisville at noon, ISU will play Penn State at 2:00 p.m., ISU will play UIC at 5:30 p.m. and Penn State will play Louisville at 7:30 p.m.

Daily admission is $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children and $10.00 for families. Mother McAuley is located at 3737 W. 99th Street in Chicago.

For more information, visit www.elitevolleyballprogram.com or www.mothermcauley.org.


Hampshire gets the bad news from Bloomington

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By Phil Brozynski

Hampshire got the bad news Wednesday.

The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors sustained the Executive Director's ruling that the enrollment figure for Hampshire High School for the 2008-09 school term will be 892, an increase of 289 students over last year's enrollment of 603.

The enrollment increase is the result of redistricting within Hampshire and surrounding school districts. As a result, Hampshire, which defeated Chicago Christian in the Class 2A quarterfinals in 2007, is now classified as a Class 3A school.

The decision diminishes Hampshire's chances of returning to the state volleyball finals despite the presence of the Wehrs sisters, Amy and Kara, two of the more talented players in the far northwest suburbs.

Hampshire will likely find itself pitted against the likes of Marian Central, Burlington Central and Freeport in it attempt to return to Bloomington.

***

Defending NCAA Division I champion Penn State will be among four teams competing in the 1st Annual Chicago Classic sponsored by Elite Volleyball Program September 12-13 at Mother McAuley High School.

Louisville will play Illinois State University (ISU) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 12, followed by the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) and Penn State at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, September 13, UIC will play Louisville at noon, ISU will play Penn State at 2:00 p.m., ISU will play UIC at 5:30 p.m. and Penn State will play Louisville at 7:30 p.m.

Daily admission is $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children and $10.00 for families. Mother McAuley is located at 3737 W. 99th Street in Chicago.

For more information, visit www.elitevolleyballprogram.com or www.mothermcauley.org.

The South(side) is going to do it again...

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By Phil Brozynski

There will be several powerful girls volleyball teams in the western suburbs of Chicago this fall, but the south side can't be overlooked.

As it has seemingly every year since the Great Chicago Fire, Mother McAuley will rank among Illinois' best. Although the Mighty Macs lost outstanding libero Carli Weiler and do-it-all Melissa Joyce to graduation, coach Jen Dejarld welcomes back an abundance of talent.

The leading returnee is 6-foot-1 Kelly Griffin, a Western Michigan recruit who accounted for more than 300 kills and 70 blocks last season as McAuley registered a 35-8 record and a second-place finish in Bloomington. Griffin could play anywhere along the front line.

Also back are juniors Jessica Galotta and Jessica Falk, who were elevated to the varsity early last season after the Mighty Macs opened with three losses in their first five matches, and defensive whiz Sue Hayes (Northern Illinois). Des Aramburu will take over the setting chores.

Sandburg finished 30-9 last year after losing to McAuley in the sectional final. Gone from that team is Sun-Times All-Area selection Alex Blatt, Jessica Kudirka, Ashlie Turza and Brittney Cote. However, coach David Vales will rebuild around some talented youngsters.

Five-foot-9 sophomore Jenny Buczek was elevated to the varsity midway through last season and quickly became one of Sandburg's top hitters. Juniors Mary Kate Imrie and Lanie Muys have a full varsity season under their belts.

Defensive specialist Molly Schwerha and rightside Leah Zehme will be among only a handful of seniors for Sandburg, which expects immediate dividends from sophomores Amanda Kijewski and Genna Pavone.

You don't graduate the best player in the country and not anticipate a little dropoff. But with five starters returning from the team that lost to St. Francis in the Class 3A supersectional, Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe is confident the Angels can overcome the loss of Kelly Griffin.

Gina Vera (Butler) will assume full-time setting duties for Joliet Catholic, while 5-8 junior Annemarie Hickey will shoulder the bulk of the hitting. Seniors Katie Jasnica and Katie Hickey also return.

Scheibe expects big things from 6-2 sophomore Lainey Wyman, junior Alyssa Warren and junior libero Stephanie Keca.

Also look for Marist, Stagg, Providence and Oak Forest, which won the summer league at the Palos Courts, to figure into the big-school picture somewhere. Chicago Christian, a 2A state semifinalist in 2007, should be among the state's best small schools.

Who will contend among downstate schools?

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By Phil Brozynski

With the opening day of practice just a week away, it's time to look at the downstate challengers in girls volleyball.

You have to go back to 1991 to find a big-school state volleyball champion from downstate Illinois. Seventeen years ago, Charles Rodman's Belleville West team won its second straight Class 2A title by defeating Crystal Lake South 15-6, 15-1.

Since that time, downstate Illinois teams have only had a sniff of the big-school title hardware, finishing second to Wheaton St. Francis in 2006 (Rockton Hononegah) and to Downers Grove South in 1999 (Belleville Althoff).

However, the Illinois High School Association's decision to expand to four classes in volleyball will make it easier for big downstate schools to get back into title contention, particularly in 3A where Belleville Althoff is generally considered the overwhelming favorite in 2008.

The Crusaders were beaten by eventual state champion Crystal Lake Central in the 2007 quarterfinals 25-17, 25-11, but Althoff coach Kathy Wuller returns three of her top players from that team and they don't figure to stumble again.

The Crusaders will be powered by 5-11 junior Carly Thomas (250 kills), who set for the USA Junior National team, 6-1 senior middle Carly Marcum (219 kills, 144 blocks) and 6-1 senior outside Tess Schoen (152 kills).

Bloomington and Normal U-High should also contend in 3A. Kasey Heckelman, defensive specialist Allison Kirk and junior Lauren Seyller are back for Bloomington coach Joe Sanders, while U-High boasts setter/outside Taylor Bruns and middle Carly Schumacher.

In Class 4A, Normal Community reached the sectional finals before losing to Collinsville, which was subsequently dumped by eventual champion Naperville Central in the supersectional at Pekin.

Normal Community will reload for another run behind seniors Mackenzie Allen, outside hitter Jenny Menendez, outside hitter Taylor Coughlin, junior setter Jackie Gerig, and sophomores Lindsey Freed and Mary Trimpe

Graduation claimed the top three hitters from 2A champion Breese Central, which could open the door for such downstate teams as Carlinville and Newton.

In 1A, last year's third-place finisher Albion (Edwards County) welcomes back leading hitter Jessica Knackmuhs (Evansville), but will have to get past Stewardson-Strasburg..

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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