By Pat Brozynski

April 2010 Archives

Copy of Siroky.jpgSandburg's 6-foot-6 junior Bill Siroky (pictured left) was named the MVP of last weekend's Smack Attack volleyball tournament hosted by Brother Rice. No. 2-ranked Sandburg improved to 22-1 by defeating Lincoln-Way West on Thursday.

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All eyes will be on the IHSA website May 6 when the boys volleyball sectional seeds are released. The seeds at Gelnbard East and Marist will be pivotal as teams jockey to avoid what could certainly be brutal regional championship games due to the depth of both fields.

Meanwhile, Whitney Young could emerge as the top seed at its own sectional after improving to 16-6 with a straight-set win over Fenwick on Thursday. Another sectional to keep an eye on is Palatine, where Buffalo Grove (20-5), Mundelein (22-2) and Vernon Hills (18-1) will try to avoid each other in a sectional semifinal.

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Marist's girls volleyball team will have one of the best defenses around next fall with Molly Murphy and Caroline Niedospial patrolling the backrow. Murphy, a 5-foot-6 defensive dynamo, recently committed for play volleyball for Western Illinois University.

Former Marist setter Ellen Miller is currently on the Leathernecks' roster. Elise Crniak, another former RedHawk, competed her eligibility at Macomb in the fall.

"She (Molly) is really excited, as are they," said Marist coach Natalie Holder. "Between Niedospial (Northwestern) and Murphy, my defense is set for college. Now my returning hitters just need to decide on where they want to play."

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Sandburg (pictured at right) won the Brother Rice Smack Attack Saturday at St. Xavier University behind tournament MVP Bill Sirotky. The Eagles defeated Glenbrook North in the finals.

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Oh that IHSA. What a sense of humor.

The IHSA held its "rolling the peas" this week, which determines the pairings for the state tournaments in its various sports.

Based on the "peas," the state volleyball quarterfinals could look something like this: Neuqua Valley vs. Young, Wheaton Warrenville South vs. Lyons, Maine South vs. Buffalo Grove, and Sandburg vs. Lake Park.

So Maine South, which finished second last year and is the prohibitive favorite to go all the way this year, would have to beat (in order) Buffalo Grove, Sandburg and Wheaton Warrenville South in order to hoist the championship trophy.

Meanwhile, either the winner of the Neuqua Valley or the Young sectionals, arguably the weakest fields in the state, would be guaranteed a trophy, while either the Evanston or Palatine sectional winner could go home empty-handed.

Furthermore, the winner of the Glenbard East sectional (Wheaton South, St. Francis or Downers Grove South), has a virtual bye into the finals, while the winner of the Marist sectional, home to the best of the south suburbs, will draw Maine South in a semifinal.

Anybody laughing yet?

Oh that IHSA.

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Congratulations to St. Francis coach Mike Lynch and Addison Trail coach Tom Hubner on registering their 300th career wins this week.

Lynch is 306-89 during his 12-year career, all at St. Francis.

"It is a tribute to a lot of good players and good assistant coaches," Lynch said.

St. Francis (18-3) defeated two top 10 teams in one day - Buffalo Grove and Loyola - for the first time in the program's history Saturday at the Brother Rice Smack Attack.

Hubner earned his milestone win at the Addison Trail Tournament on Saturday when the Blazers defeated Wheaton Academy 25-18, 25-12. Hubner is now 301-117 in his 13-year career, which includes 10 years at Addison Trail and three at Wheaton North.

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All-tournament selections at the Smack Attack included: Dan Weishar (Brother Rice), Chris Shanahan (Buffalo Grove), Bryan Noltemeyer (St. Xavier, Louisville, Ky.), Adam Lepold (Glenbard West), and Stefan VanDeGraaff and Jack Preis (Glenbrook North).

Also, Connor Wexter (Lincoln-Way Central), George Langheld (Lincoln-Way East), Reis Foster (Loyola), Garrett Dempsey (Marist), Jim Connolly and Denny Falls (Providence), Urim Demirovski (Reavis), Bill Siroky and Ryan Mabbott (Sandburg), and Joe Mordell (St. Francis).

Siroky, a 6-foot-6 junior, was named the tournament's MVP.


Keefe chooses Bradley as college destination

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Thumbnail image for keefe.jpgLemont junior Courtney Keefe, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter who led the Indians to a Class 3A regional title last fall, has made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at Bradley University beginning in 2011.

Keefe and teammates 6-0 junior Danielle Susz, setter Vicki Wrobel and 5-6 sophomore Emily Brown should help Lemont rank among the top teams in the area next fall and could challenge St. Francis and Joliet Catholic for a berth downstate.

Bradley was just 9-23 overall and 0-18 in the MIssouri Valley Conference in 2009, but returns some solid young players and adds 6-2 middle Allie Falter (Lincoln, Neb./Lincoln Pius X) and 6-foot Lauren Zerante (Elmhurst, Ill./York) to the roster next fall.

Mundelein was feeling the pressure.

Previously unbeaten Mundelein ran into a buzzsaw Friday night in pool play at the Lake County Tournament hosted by Vernon Hills, falling to Highland Park 25-15, 25-14.

"I think the guys were feeling the pressure of going unbeaten up until that point," Mundelein coach George Dressen said. "They lost their confidence in that match. I hoped they would find their confidence again Saturday."

Mundelein (13-1), behind seniors Patrick Lentz and Mitchell Baumgartner, bounced back from its Friday night debacle to defeat Zion-Benton 18-25, 25-17, 25-20 and Lake Forest 25-12, 25-21 to finish fifth.

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Beware the Bronco...in 2012.

Barrington coach Rob Ridenour's team is enduring the usual growing pains that comes with starting four sophomores. The Broncos (9-6) upset No. 3 seed Deerfield 23-25, 25-17, 15-10 in pool play Friday at the Lake County Tournament, but dropped a pair of three-setters to Vernon Hills and Highland Park Saturday.

Players to watch in 2012 include libero Austin Czarnecki, setter Taylor Ganzer and middle blockers Jeff Hochstein (6-foot-4) and Tommy Leonard (6-7). Those four will be joined by junior outside Matt Logue to form a pretty solid nucleus in 2011.

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Warren's 6-5 senior setter Kyle Schwede will forego college volleyball to attend Purdue University in the fall.

Schwede led Warren to Saturday's finals of the Lake County Tournament at Vernon Hills, but his 16 assists and two kills weren't enough to prevent the Blue Devils (9-5) from falling to the hosts 25-21, 25-23.

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Vernon Hills coach Chris Curry insists that 6-2 senior outside Mike Robinson's improved hitting percentage has a lot to do with Curry's decision to elevate Robinson's brother, 6-5 outside Thomas, to the varsity two weeks ago.

Mike Robinson denies his coach's charge, but said that his brother adds an element to the team that was missing previously.

"He gives us a bigger blocker on the right side," Mike Robinson said. "We were a little undersized on that side. But no, that doesn't have anything to do with my hitting percentage."

Vernon Hills extended its winning streak to 14 by claiming the Lake County Tournament on Saturday.

Keeping team together a concern for Mike Lynch

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As if a difficult schedule and a brutal sectional field were not enough to get in the way of an outstanding season, the senior-dominated St. Francis boys volleyball team faces one rather unique obstacle this season - an $8 million construction project.

The Wheaton private school breaks ground in late May for a new library and classroom addition. The need to begin the project as early as possible forced administrators to accelerate the school's academic calendar.

Classes at St. Francis will end the first week of May with finals scheduled for the following week. What his players will do with all that free time while the season enters the stretch run has St. Francis coach Mike Lynch a little concerned.

"Our players will be out of school for almost three weeks before the state tournament begins," he said.

Ankle bracelets are probably out of the question.

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Congratulations to the following players who were named to the all-tournament team at last weekend's Tiger Classic at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Named were: Buffalo Grove junior outside hitter Nick Baronti; Andrew senior outside hitter Zach Bentley; New Trier senior outside hitter Kyle Cook; Marist junior setter Garrett Dempsey; Lincoln-Way East senior outside hitter George Langheld; and DeSmet senior outside hitter Chris Lischke.

Also, Wheaton Warrenville South junior outside hitter Eric Luhrsen; Marist senior middle hitter Dave Nelson; Lincoln-Way Central senior outside hitter Kyle Overby; Glenbrook North senior outside hitter Jack Preiss; and Lake Park senior outside hitter Pat Proctor.

Sandburg setter Ryan Mabbott was named the tournament MVP.

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Lincoln Park coach John Davis, whose team is annually among the best in the city, is touting 6-foot-6 junior Nicholas Ali.

"Ali is a really special player," Davis said. "He's one of the best hitters in the Chicago Public League. He can set, he can play back row. He averages six, seven, eight kills per game. I believe he can play with anybody."

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Players who made an impact at Saturday's Springfest hosted by Glenbard East: Benet's 6-foot-5 sophomore Bobby Wehrli, Conant's 6-6 senior Matt Schimel, Downers Grove South senior Jim Healy, Glenbard East's 6-2 senior Andrew Achenbaugh, Glenbard West's 6-5 junior Adam Leopold, Neuqua Valley's Jon Storm and St. Francis's 6-5 senior Dan McGuire.

There was no all-tournamwent team named, but had there been, Downers South's Buddy Steinhaus was deserving of MVP honors.

Class of 2012 boasts boatload of ability

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Six Illinois sophomores have been named to the Prepvolleyball.com list of Top 79 Sophomores who played varsity for their high schools last season.

The Illinois sophomores are Crystal Lake Central's Amelia Anderson, Hinsdale Central's Ally Davis, Sam Epenesa of Edwardsville, Lake Zurich's Amanda Orchard, Brooke Schulte of Breese Mater Dei and Alexis Viliunas of Lyons.

Anderson, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker, helped to lead Crystal Lake Central to the Class 3A final four with 328 kills. Davis, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, had 230 kills and 113 blocks, both team highs, for one of the Chicago area's best teams.

Orchard contributed 240 kills, 149 blocks and 201 digs for Lake Zurich, which reached the Class 4A Elite Eight in 2009. Six-foot- setter/outside hitter took Lyons all the way to the state championship game with 210 kills and 543 assists.

Named to the highest honorable mention team were Marist setter Ashley Holder, St. Charles East outside hitter Meghan Niski, Mother McAuley libero Bridget Powell and York outside hitter Caroline Rose.

Named elite honorable mention were Huntley libero Amy Dion, Cary-Grove middle blocker Ashley Rosch and Lyons outside hitter Laura Williams.

The high honorable mention list included Marian Central setter Abby Gilliland, Benet middle blocker Meghan Haggerty, Batavia setter Mary Nilles, York middle blocker Morgan Semmelhack, Plainfield Central outside hitter Taryn Trubich and Marist middle Lauren Zielinski.

St, Edward libero Katie Ayello, DeLaSalle rightside Arianna Hayden and St. Charles East libero Maisey Mulvey were named special mention, while 10 Chicago-area sophomores reaped honorable mention honors.

Named honorable mention were Klaudia Basierak (Grayslake Central), Sam Boesch (Huntley), Brittany Brown (Nazareth), Casey Durham (Evanston), Katie Gallagher (York), Jenna Jendryk (Benet), Megan Miller (Lyons), Nora Mitros (Providence), Heidi Sierks (Lake Forest) and Jessica Tulacka (Downers Grove North).

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Marist's 6-1 senior outside hitter Molly Murphy has committed to attend Indiana State next fall, coach Natalie Holder announced recently. A first-team Chicago Sun-Times all-area selection, Murphy led Marist to the sectional semifinals with more than 230 kills and 220 digs.

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