Gabby Pethokoukis (pictured right), a 6-foot-3 middle blocker from Western Springs who plays at Benet and 1st Alliance Volleyball Club, has verbally committed to play Division I volleyball for Villanova University. She is the fourth junior from Benet to commit to play Division I volleyball.
"Gabby is one of the most improved players in the country," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "She is an extremely long player who has always been a force blocking, and is developing into a dominant offensive player. Gabby's upside is tremendous and her best volleyball is still ahead of her."
Pethokoukis said that Benet and Villanova share many of the same characteristics.
"Villanova is a great academic school with tremendous school spirit, a strong family feel to it, and a shared Catholic identity," she said. "I've been blessed with wonderful coaches (Melissa Cox and Sue Keck at 1st Alliance and Baker at Benet) who have really helped me improve and make this possible.
"I look to continue my development at Villanova playing for head coach Josh Steinbach, one of the outstanding coaches in D-1 volleyball today," Pethokoukis said. "I look forward to being a Wildcat and part of Nova Nation!"
Here are the rest of some of the top volleyball players in the Chicago area (in alphabetical order):
Lara Ontko, 5-11, Sr., OH, Benet
Amanda Orchard, 6-0, Jr., OH, Lake Zurich
Dena Ott, 5-6, Sr., L, Marian Central
Kaitlyn O'Reilly, 5-10, Jr., S. Burlington Central
Emily Paschke, 6-2, Sr., MH, West Chicago
Taylor Pippen, 5-11, Jr., MH, Carmel
Bridget Powell, 5-6, Jr., L, Mother McAuley
Kayla Price, 5-9, Sr., S, Fremd
Roxanne Rivera, 5-6, Sr., S, Payton
Jaclyn Rodriguez, 5-6, Sr., DS, Wheaton Warrenville South
Ashley Rosch, 6-0, Jr., MB, Cary-Grove
Caroline Rose, 5-8, Jr., OH, York
Caleigh Ryan, 5-9, So., OH, Glenbard West
Carly Schmitt, 6-0, Sr., MH, Johnsburg
Michelle Schultz, 5-9, Jr., OH, Payton
Kailey Scott, 5-8, Sr., S, Mother McAuley
Kaley Sierawski, 6-0, Sr., OH, Palatine
Morgan Semmelhack, 6-0, Jr., MH, York
Heidi Sierks, 5-9, Jr., S, Lake Forest
Natalia Skiba, 5-9, Sr., OH, Hinsdale Central
Andrea Skipor, 6-3, So., MH, West Chicago
Colleen Smith, 6-0, Sr., S, Cary-Grove
Catherine Steffen, 6-0, Sr., OH, Libertyville
Martha Stewart, 5-11, Sr., OH, Waubonsie Valley
Jill Stoltzenburg, 6-0, Jr., MB, St. Charles North
Mary Kate Styler, 5-11, Sr., OH, Mother McAuley
Danielle Susz, 6-0, Sr., MH, Lemont
Samanatha Szarmach, 5-11, Sr., OH, St. Charles East
Donata Taskunaite, 6-0, Sr., MH, Stagg
Courtney Thomas, 6-1, Sr., OH, DeKalb
Julia Thompson, 5-10, So., OH, Barrington
Megan Tompkins, 5-7, Sr., L, Neuqua Valley
Jane Trazka, 5-9, So., OH, Glenbard South
Taryn Trubich, 5-9, Jr., OH, Plainfield Central
Jessie Tulacka, 6-1, Jr., OH, Downers Grove North
Cara Tyrrell, 5-7, So., DS, Westminster Christian
Alexis Viliunas, 6-1, Jr., OH/S, Lyons
Meg Vonderhaar, 6-1, Sr., OH, St. Francis
Carly Warner, 5-8, Jr., S, Naperville North
Amelia Wegman, 6-0, Jr., MH, Rosary
Ashley Wilk, 5-11, Jr., OH, Aurora Central Catholic
Laura Williams, 5-10, Jr., OH, Lyons
Daiva Wise, 6-0, Jr., MH, St. Francis
Vicki Wrobel, 5-7, Sr., S, Lemont
Lainey Wyman, 6-1, Sr., MH, Joliet Catholic.
Emily Young, 6-1, Sr., OH, Schaumburg
Lauren Zielinski, 6-4, Jr., MH, Marist
Next week, a look at the 2010 volleyball season throughout Illinois.