By Pat Brozynski

June 2009 Archives

'Tis the season to go camping...

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By Phil Brozynski

The weather gets hotter, the gyms are steamier, but if you wanna get better...


Brother Rice High School will hold its first ever sand volleyball camp for all interested grade school and high school boys and girls for two weeks beginning July 13 at Circle Park (Klein Park) at 97th and Homan in Evergreen Park.

All participants receive a T-shirt and a volleyball.

Registration forms can be found at, by calling Paul Ickes at (773) 429-4494 or e-mailing him at


Brother Rice will hold its 17th annual summer grade school boys volleyball camp the weeks of July 27-31 and Auigust 3-7 in the school's air-conditioned North Gym located at 10001 S. Pulaski Road in Chicago.

Players entering grades 3-8 are eligible. All participants receive a T-shirt and volleyball.

Registration forms can be found at, by calling Paul Ickes at (773) 429-4494 or e-mailing him at


Therese Boyle-Niego -- a college hall of famer, former high school state champion (Mother McAuley) and NCAA coach -- will hold a series of volleyball camps at McAuley, Brother Rice and Palos Courts during the summer.

Coaches include McAuley coach Jen DeJaarld, St. Ambrose coach Bill Gleeson, UIC coach Katie Schumacher Cawley, former McAuley great Meg Griffin, former Queen of Peace coach Jen Burns and others.

Camps continue throughout the summer. A high level camp for girls is set for August 1-2, while a high level camp for boys will be held July 26. Youth camps will run July 13-16 and August 10-13, and specialty clinics run July 23-25.

For more information, contact Boyle-Niego at (773) 238-4859 or visit

By Phil Brozynski

It's time to start thinking Illinois girls volleyball again, and with that comes the news that recently released its list of the top collegiate recruiting classes of 2009.

The top 30 are ranked 1-30, the next 15 are listed as "highest honorable mention," and 45 others received either "high honorable mention" or "honorable mention" recognition.

Illinois high school graduates impacted only eight of the top 30 recruiting classes. Here are the programs featuring Illinois athletes and their ranking:

2. Nebraska - Hannah Werth, an outside hitter from Chatham Glenwood, was ranked No. 4 on's list of 100 Senior Aces.

8. Purdue - Courtney Gosewisch, a 5-foot-9 libero from Downers Grove South, helped make this perhaps Purdue's best class ever.

14. Baylor - Six-foot outside hitter Kiley Sherman from Oswego East is called a "prototype ball control outside hitter."

20. Ohio State - Defensive specialist Kelsey Bowler from Naperville North and 6-foot setter Amanda Peterson of Glenbard East join the Buckeyes.

21. North Carolina - Emily McGee from Naperville Central is expected to make an immediate impact for the Tar Heels.

22. Indiana - Sycamore's Sam Thrower joins Nebraska transfer and former Illinois prep star Jordan Haverly to help boost the Hoosiers' standing in the Big Ten.

27. Missouri - Naperville North defensive whiz Melissa Ferri joins a strong group of defenders in Columbia.

28. Illinois - Benet's Jessica Jendryk, Crystal Lake South's Erin Johnson, Taylor Onion from Rushville-Industry and Jackie Wolfe from Wheaton Warrenville South join Connecticut transfer and former WW South setter Annie Luhrsen in new head coach Kevin Hambly's first class.

Impacting the highest honorable mention group are: York's Ellen Ribar (Colorado); Hersey's Shelly Mueller (Marquette); Bradley's Kara Bates and Oak Park's Sara Shannon (Maryland); and Burlington Central's Molly Turk (Northern Iowa).

Helping their college destinations crack the high honorable mention ranking are: Benet's Val Mattaliano (Boston College); Waubonsie Valley's Kari Galen (Bowling Green); and Lake Forest Academy's Tanya Mirutenko and Benet's Natalie Patzin (Clemson).

Also, Benet's Paige Vargas (Dayton); Mother McAuley's Kelly Griffin and Elizabeth Sweeney (Western Michigan); and Fenwick's Claire Liston (Wisconsin).

By Phil Brozynski

The 2009 boys volleyball season is in the books, and in the end, it looked an awful lot like the 2008 season.

2010 promises to look a lot different, however. Or does it?

Maine South, Sandburg and Buffalo Grove figure to be among the top teams next spring, but don't discount three-time defending state champion Wheaton Warrenville South, said senior setter Joe Kelly.

"I think they'll surprise some people next year," said Kelly, one of eight players who graduated from WW South this spring including starters Kevin Mueller, Neill Nystrom, Rob Samp and Neal Whittington.

"The Wilkins (Eric and Matt) will be back, and so will (Eric) Luhrsen," he said. "And the freshmen team was phenomenal."

The Tigers did get a little bad news when it was learned that sophomore Dave Priest, an outstanding club setter who was slated to set for the Tigers in 2010, will be moving to the northern suburbs.

Finally, Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes promises to keep fighting the good fight to bring the state volleyball championships to a better venue. Hoffman Estates has been the home of boys volleyball for many years, and while school officials do a good job of running the tournament, fan seating is atrocious.

Because the bleachers have to be pulled in to allow for room around the court, only a few hundred fans can actually sit on floor level and then only on the side opposite the benches. The rest of the fans have to sit on the balcony level, not an ideal situation for the intimacy so many fans enjoy at other events.

IHSA officials noted that attendance was down this year, but part of that could be attributable to the seating (No casual fan wants to go to an event at which you must sit in the "top row"), the location and the early demise of Marist, which supports its sports teams very well.

Also, it's hard to believe that tournament officials had the audacity to ask the Marist fans to give up their seats on the ground floor to make room for late-arriving Maine South fans. That situation does not arise at any other venue where there is adequate seating on both sides of the court

By Phil Brozynski

OK, nobody's perfect. But correctly selecting six out of the eight quarterfinalists in the IHSA boys state volleyball tournament at Hoffman Estates ain't bad. AIG and GM should have done so well with some of their boardroom decisions.

Meanwhile, the 2009 quarterfinals should provide some of the most entertaining volleyball the tournament has seen in a long time. The subplots are numerous and intriguing.

Can Wheaton Warrenville South make it three straight and five out of six?

Can Neuqua Valley derail the Tigers and reach the finals for the first time in three tries?

Who will emerge from the quartertfinal between first-timers Morton and St. Patrick?

Can Buffalo Grove get to the finals again and win it all after falling just short in 2008?

Is Maine South a year ahead of schedule?

Meanwhile, here is how the quarterfinals might shape up:

Neuqua Valley (31-3) vs. WW South (35-4), 1 p.m.

Neuqua Valley had the easiest route to state. WW South arguably the most difficult. You have to like WW South's moxie and its ability to put it all together in crunch time. Got to like the Tigers in three games in this one.

St. Patrick (28-5) vs. Morton (29-5), 2 p.m.

St. Patrick and Morton have both had dream seasons. Experience won't be a factor, but Morton's defense should be. The undersized Mustangs advance because of their defense.

Glenbard North (24-8) vs. Buffalo Grove (30-5), 5 p.m.

Glenbard North played a difficult schedule in the DuPage Valley, and although the Panthers did not beat the either of top teams in the league (WW South and Glnbard East), they come in battle-tested. But the Bison are on a mission.

Maine South (33-6) vs. Marist (34-5), 6 p.m.

Maine South provided one of the tournament's biggest surprises when it won it all in 2006. But Marist wants a rematch with WW South, and to earn that, the RedHawks are ready to swat everybody in their way.

Semifinal picks: WW South over Morton, Marist over Buffalo Grove. Destiny dictates the two best teams meet in the finals.

Finals: WW South over Marist. The Tigers incredible run ends with another state title.

Let's see how I do, eh Bob?

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