By Phil Brozynski
Nine seniors from Illinois were named to the list of 100 Top Senior "Aces" released recently by PrepVolleyball.com and based primarily on the input of college coaches.
The top senior in Illinois is Hannah Werth, a 6-foot outside hitter from Chatham Glenwood ranked No. 4 in the nation and who has committed to Nebraska. After Werth, Glenbard East's Amanda Peterson, a 6-foot setter headed to Ohio State, checks in at No. 40.
Benet's Jessica Jendryk, a 6-1 middle hitter who has committed to Illinois, checks in at No. 45, while Sycamore's 6-2 middle blocker Samantha Thrower, an Indiana recruit who led her team to third-place in Class 3A last year, is 58th.
Also cracking the top 100 were No. 57 Erin Johnson, a 6-3 Illinois-bound middle from Crystal Lake South; No. 71. Kasey Heckleman, a 6-1 outside from Bloomington who has committed to Louisville; and No. 81 Kayla Fitterer, an Alabama-bound 6-1 outside from Edwardsville.
Rounding out the Illinois products in the top 100 were Courtney Cunningham, a 6-0 outside hitter/middle blocker from (Chicago) Payton who is committed to Mississippi; and No. 99 Emily McGee, the 6-foot outside from Naperville Central who is headed to North Carlina.
Illinois seniors who were listed among the next 150 (in no particular order) were: Andrea Bolt, a 5-3 libero from Freeburg; Courtney Gosewisch, a 5-9 libero from Downers Grove South; and Meghan Bray, the 6-foot outside from Naperville Central.
Also, Kelly Griffin, a 6-1 outside hitter from Mother McAuley; Sondra Parys, the 6-foot outside hitter from Prairie Ridge; Natalie Patzin, a 5-11 outside from Benet Academy; and Taylor Bruns, a 6-foot setter from Normal U-High.
Also named to the next 150 were Laura Homann, a 5-10 setter from St. Charles East; Amy Kendall, a 6-1 setter from Glenbard West; and Marielle Oestermeyer, a 6-1 setter/middle from Downers Grove South.
Finally, Burlington Central's 5-10 setter Molly Turk; Waubonsie Valley's 6-2 middle Kari Galen; Belleville Althoff's 6-1 middle blocker Carly Marcum; and Carly Schumacher, a 6-2 middle blocker from Normal U-High.
Among the more impressive teams at last weekend's Plainfield North tournament was Joliet, which improved to 5-2 with a 25-15, 25-14 victory over St. Charles North in the third-place game Saturday.
"We played well," said Joliet coach Alan Mart. "We had one lapse against Rosary, but Rosary played well so it wasn't all our fault. This was a good, positive tournament for us. We're growing. I'm happy, but not satisfied."
Leaders for Joliet over the weekend were 5-foot-8 junior outside hitter Breanne Shaw, 5-8 senior outside Antoneya Veasy-Smith, 5-11 junior middle hitter Kim Vertin and all-tournament selection Vivan Pritz, a 5-9 senior setter/rightside hitter.
In addition to its victories over St. Charles North and the hosts at Plainfield North, Joliet took a bus south on Labor Day and defeated Normal. Joliet's losses were to Sandburg in its conference opener and to Rosary in Saturday's semifinals.