Summer camps. Summer league. College camps.
The beat goes on throughout Illinois as girls get ready for the 2010 season. At the Great Lakes Summer League, all eyes are on Benet, which lost four starters to graduation from last year's Elite Eight team but returns a ton of talent.
"Our size has overwhelmed people (during summer league play)," said coach Brad Baker. "This is the biggest team in Benet history.
The Redwings will be led this fall by juniors 6-foot-2 Meghan Haggerty and 6-foot Jenna Jendryk, who played on Sports Performance's AAU national champion 18-1 team during club season, outside htter Lara Ontko and setter Kaitlyn King.
Defensive specialists Kathleen Severyn and Grace Girardot also saw time last year.
"We have a good core back, no doubt," Baker said. "And a lot of them have been around for awhile."
Benet has been looking at 6-1 middle McKenzie Kuhn and 6-3 Gabby Pethokoukis in the middle while toying with the idea of Haggerty moving to the pin.
"It's summer," Baker said. "I want to see everybody at every position. So far, it's all worked."
Watch out for Hinsdale Central this fall. Led by the very talented Ally Davis, a 6-foot-2 junior, 5-9 senior Natalia Skiba, 5-11 middle Katarina Milojevic and libero Jamie Netisingha, the Devils hope to avenge last year's loss to Benet in the sectional finals.
"This is my last chance," Skiba said. "I really want to get downstate."
Hinsdale Central, which in addition to its own camp has been participating in the Great Lakes Summer League, was scheduled to participate in the University of Illinois team camp this weekend.
"We are going to try to improve the team aspect," Skiba said. "We have some new, tall girls. I think blocking will be our strength."
Skiba has yet to make a college commitment. Wherever she goes, she will likely be a libero or defensive specialist.
"I want to play at the highest level possible," she said. "Once I find the right school, I'll commit."
Despite the loss of Lauren Zerante to graduation, York should be one of the better teams in the western suburbs with the return of outside hitter Caroline Rose, outside hitter Morgan Semmelhack, and setters Katie Gallagher and Emily Iverson.
Iverson is the only senior among the four.
"We started camp this week (at York)," Rose said. "We're getting a little better every day. We have been working on not just utilizing our outsides but also our middles so the other team doesn't know where the ball is going."
Schaumburg's 6-foot-1 setter/outside hitter Emily Young left July 22 for a week-long camp at USC, where she will be a freshman in the fall of 2011. Although she has visited the campus two or three times, this is the first time she will participate in the school's camp.
"It's pretty exciting," she said. "There should be about 200 girls there. The first three days are a all skills camp, then there is one day of setting and one day of defense."
Young is hopeful that the Saxons can compete with Fremd and Barrington in the Mid-Suburban West this fall.
"There will be some tough competition, but I expect us to finish first in the conference," she said. "That's our goal."
Glenbard East coach Marci Maier is touting 5-foot-3 senior libero Mariah Carpio as someone to keep an eye on this fall. Despite her obvious shortcomings, Carpio saw some playing time at outside hitter last season.
Benet looking good (again) in the summer
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