By Pat Brozynski

Peering into the (cracked) crystal ball at 2010

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Three out of four ain't bad.

As predicted here and elsewhere late last summer, Lanark Eastland (1A), Freeburg (2A) and Joliet Catholic (3A) won state titles last weekend at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena. For all three teams, it was their second consecutive state title.

The only "surprise" was Cary-Grove, which rolled through favored Lyons in the Class 4A final.

Now it's time to peer in the crystal ball and look ahead to the 2010 season. Here's a look at some of the teams that should be among the best Chicagoland has to offer:

Lyons - Likely to be ranked No. 1 in Chicago and the state next year, the Lions bring back 6-0 sophomore Alexis Viliunas, 6-2 junior Jocelyn Birks,.sophomore defensive whiz Megan Miller and 5-10 sophomore Laura Williams. However, the Lions will need help in the middle.

York - Lauren Zerante will be missed, but junior setter Emily Iverson and sophomores Katie Gallagher, Caroline Rose and Morgan Semmelhack should ease the sting a little.

Marist - One day, Marist will beat Mother McAuley in the sectional. Perhaps next year? The Redhawks welcome back 5-10 junior Courtney Collins, libero Caroline Niedospial, 6-1 junior Katie Krasowski, setter Ashley Holder, 6-4 sophomore Lauren Zielinski and defensive specialist Molly Murphy.

Lemont - The Indians will probably find themselves in the same sectional with St. Francis and Joliet Catholic next year, but don't be surprised in they get past their private rivals behind 5-10 junior Courtney Keefe, 6-0 junior Danielle Susz, setter Vicki Wrobel and 5-6 sophomore Emily Brown.

Chicago Christian - Junior Madison Kamp boldly predicted a state title after Friday's quarterfinals. The Knights fell short, but with four Kamps - Madison, 5-11 sophomore Maggie, 5-11 junior Stacey and 5-10 junior Emily - in camp next year, they should contend again. Also back will be libero Celaine Haan and 6-foot middle Becky DeRuiter.

Sandburg - Jenny Buczek and Amanda Kijewski will give Sandburg an opportunity to win a lot of matches next year.

St. Francis - How do you replace Kelsey Robinson and Kristen Kelsay?

Joliet Catholic - How do you replace Annemarie Hickey, Alyssa Warren and Jen Murphy?

Benet - Juniors Lara Ontko, Ashley Veselik, Alyson Farm and Kaitlyn King and sophomores Meghan Haggerty and Jenna Jendryk should help Benet contend for a state title.

Hinsdale Central - Juniors Natalie Skiba and Jamie Netisingha, sophomore Ally Davis and some really tall JV kids could have the Red Devils back in the top 10 in 2010.

Cary-Grove - Can Colleen Smith make everyone forget Abbey Heredia? Can Kelly Lamberti be any better than she was against Lyons? Can Ashley Rosch keep blocking and can the Trojans keep rocking?

Providence - Six-foot-1 sophomore Nora Mitros can be a superstar, but without help from Elle Burchett, Katie McDonald, Katie Urchell and Alyssa Podwell, will the Celtics go very far?

Naperville Central - Just because.

St. Charles East - The talent will still be there in 2010. But can the Saints find their mojo?

West Chicago - 6-2 junior Emily Paschke and 5-9 sophomore Julia Conard are a good place to start for a team that came oh-so-close to a share of the DuPage Valley Conference title..

And finally, if we learned anything last weekend, nobody will beat Breese Mater Dei next year.

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I do not know if you heard about this or not but for next year for Joliet Catholic, the upcoming Junior class has only lost once match and that was to Benet in 3 games and they have already avenged that loss. And an easy schedule is not the reason. They have beat Mother McCauley both years and St. Francis during their last season. Also next years Sophomore class comes in undefeated. So looking at the numbers Joliet Catholic Academy volleyball this year only suffered 2 loses across all levels.

Don't forget St. Ignatius! They have a solid core of young players returning to varsity.

Wow, I think those six sophs from LT & York play on the same club team? Looks like the WSC Silver could be tough with LT, York, & Hinsdale. LT looks to be the team to beat but York might be able to hang with them if they play their best line-up (unlike this year).

Good point on the lower levels. East not only had Niski, but four other sophomores on the team as well as freshman starting setter Erienne Barry.

you still need a positive coach to put it all together and nurture it and not kill it... look at mcauley this year... horrible start, but slowly but surely worked their way through their schedule and got where??? You can only to that by instilling confidence in your WHOLE team !

Isn't amazing how the Catholic schools are sooo deep at all levels when their school size is disproportionately small? Meanwhile, public Class 3 schools have difficulty fielding competitive teams without going to Freshman and Soph Club players.

I don't see the equity when one group of schools are bound by geographic areas and the other isn't? The completely arbritrary 1.5x multiplier is a sham. Why not just let Club teams compete too? Or, perhaps, move all private schools to the highest class?

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on November 18, 2009 7:13 PM.

Can anybody stop Joliet Catholic, Freeburg or Lanark? was the previous entry in this blog.

Post-season honors come rolling in is the next entry in this blog.

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