By Pat Brozynski

Cary-Grove climbs to No. 1 in the nation

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After defeating McHenry on Thursday, Cary-Grove now owns the second-longest winning streak in state history. The win was the Trojans' 49th in a row, eclipsing the mark set by Breese Mater Dei in 1993-94.

Of course, Cary-Grove has some work to do to equal Illinois' all-time winning streak. Mother McAuley won 135 straight matches from November 18, 1979 to September 16, 1983. If there is such a thing as an untouchable record in sports, that might be it.

Also in the all-time list are: Breese Mater Dei (46); Mt. Pulaski (43), Crystal Lake Central (42), Naperville Central (39), Lake Forest (39), McAuley (38), and Glenbrook South (36).

Cary-Grove also became the new No. 1 in the nation according to's John Tawa (see the last item).


What a week for the maddening group from Benet (pictured above during its win at Joliet Catholic).

The pre-season No. 1, which has been in and out of the rankings all season with its inconsistent play, defeated Joliet Catholic and Mother McAuley to win the Autumnfest tournament at Glenbard East on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Benet avenaged a loss to Joliet Cathoic in the finals of the Mizuno Cup by winning an East Suburban Catholic Conference match in Joliet.

Benet's Lara Ontko was named MVP at Autumnfest and was joined on the all-tournament team by setter Kaitlyn King.

Also named to the all-tournament team was Barrington's Amanda Dee, Normal's Ellie Bliss, Emily Paschke of West Chicago, Becca Brabec of Lemont, Providence's Nora Mitros, St. Charles East's Meghan Niski and Taylor Humm from Prairie Ridge.

Also, Emily Young of Schaumburg, Lauren Carlini of West Aurora, Waubonsie Valley's Martha Stewart, Ashley Smith of Huntley, and Kailey Scott and MaryKate Styler of McAuley.


Congratulations to Natalia Skiba of Hinsdale Central, who committed to play at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. last week. The 5-foot-9 Skiba, who plays all around for the Red Devils, was recruited as a libero.


Schaumburg's Jeannate Pancratz joined elite company when she earned her 700th career victory Friday at Autumnfest when the Saxons defeated Wheaton Warrenville South.

Pancratz is the mother of former Schaumburg and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee basketball star Mark Pancratz, who led the Saxons to the 2001 IHSA Class AA state title by upsetting Thornwood and Eddy Curry.

After finishing 12th at Autumnfest, Pancratz's Schaumburg volleyball team (21-9) will face Hersey (25-4) for the Mid-Suburban League title Thursday in Arlingtonm Heights.


Has Hades frozen over?

Marian Central ended a two-decades long losing streak against St. Francis by defeating the Spartans 23-25, 25-21, 31-29 Wednesday in Woodstock. St. Francis failed to capitalize on four match points.

The outcome should not have been too surprising, however. Marian Central went three games with St. Francis earlier this season in Wheaton.


And then there was one.

Cary-Grove became the last unbeaten big-school team in Illinois when West Chicago lost to Mother McAuley 25-18, 24-25, 25-14 in the semifinals of the Autumnfest tournament Saturday at Glenbard East.

West Chicago also lost to Joliet Catholic 25-20, 25-16 for third place.

However, those matches and this weekend's appearance at Downers Grove North tournament should do nothing but make West Chicago better prepared for the state tournament, where the Wildcats are likely to face St. Charles East and York in the Bartlett sectional.


After knocking at the door two of the last three years -- finishing fourth in 2007 and second in 2009 -- is this the year that Chicago Christian finally breaks through in Class 2A?

Don't let the Knights' 22-10 record fool you. Chicago Christian plays a tougher schedule than most 2A teams in the state, save two-time defending state champion Freeburg, which plays an extremely difficult downstate tournament schedule.

The Knights went 5-1 last week, defeating Oak Lawn, Plainfield Central, Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way East at the Lincoln-Way Central invitational before losing to the hosts 25-23, 23-25, 25-21 in the champinship match.

Juniors Celaine Haan and Becky DeRuiter were named to the all-tournament team. Meanwhile, setter Madison Kamp had 150 assists, 13 kills, 10 blocks and seven aces in six matches while DeRuiter added 50 kills and 29 blocks.


West Chicago, which has suddenly lost three in a row after opening the season with 26 consecutive wins, is seeded second at this weekend's Downers Grove North invite. Marist is seeded first, Hinsdale Central is third and the hosts are fourth.

Suburban fans who don't get into the city much can get a glimpse at Payton, which is seeded fifth in the tournament and will face Marist on the main court at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Payton failed to defend its city title last Saturday, losing to Young in three games. But the Grizzlies are still one of the favorites to reach Bloomington for the Class 3A state semifinals on November 12


Finally, as hinted here last week, Cary-Grove is the new No. 1 in the nation, accoridng to's John Tawa. Here are Tawa's comments about each Illinois team in his top 100.

2010 Century Club National High School Rankings

1. Cary-Grove (Cary, Illinois)
Current record: 32-0; Last week's ranking: 2

The Trojans supplant undefeated St. James as our national No. 1 team this week. It's not that I'm unimpressed with St. James. In fact, I flew out to Kansas last Thursday just to watch the Thunder and was blown away by their defensive intensity and their fast offense. It's just that I saw Cary-Grove five days earlier polish off a big time field at the Asics Challenge and was ever so slightly more impressed by what the Trojans bring to the court. Cary-Grove has an offensive threat at every front court position, a gritty, seasoned senior setter in Colleen Smith and a defense, anchored by Sam Mainzer, that is underrated. On Saturday, C-G got 77 assists from Smith and strong RS play from Allison Whimpey to complete a sweep at the Schaumburg Invite. The Trojans won all four regular-season tournaments they entered. The only tournament remaining is the 4A state tournament, where they are defending champions. After Tuesday's win over Jacobs, Cary-Grove has now won 48 matches in a row, a streak that ranks the Trojans third all time in Illinois history.

18. Marist (Chicago, Illinois)
Current record: 26-2; Last week's ranking: 17

The Redhawks imposed their will on Marian Catholic Monday in their only match of the week. Carks Niedospial served seven points and had 14 digs in the easy win. Marist plays Fenwick today before closing the regular season on Tuesday versus Joliet Catholic, which prevailed over a solid field to win the Mizuno Cup last weekend.

19. Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois)
Current record: 25-1; Last week's ranking: 18

Playing without senior setter Erin Juley, who was resting her surgically repaired knee, Lyons prevailed in the Glenbrook North Discovery Tournament over the weekend, knocking Libertyville from the unbeaten ranks with a straight set win in the finals. Alex Viliunas, a talented junior setter committed to Illinois, who had returned to the lineup only the Tuesday before after suffering a wrist injury over the summer, led the Lyons with 20 assists. Laura Williams, Kelsey Keeve and Jocelynn Birks all had strong showings for Lyons, which plays in the Maine West Pumpkin Tournament this weekend. Lyons coach Joann Pyritz says she hopes to have two healthy setters available to her for that one.

31. Mater Dei (Breese, Illinois)
Current record: 27-1

Random note: Brooke Schulte and Abbey Winter contributed eight kills each on Tuesday as the Knights swept past Althoff Catholic at home.

33. Mother McAuley (Chicago, Illinois)
Current record: 21-5

Random note: The scrappy Macs built on an impressive Asics Challenge showing with three more wins this week. OH Marykate Styler, who was slowed by injury at the Challenge, has been coming on strong, adding another weapon to McAuley's multi-pronged attack.

53. Moline (Illinois)
Current record: 26-2

Random note: The Maroons have won 21 matches in a row, including three-set wins this week over Bloomington and Normal Community.

83. York (Elmhurst, Illinois)
Current record: 26-3

Random note: With Katie Gallagher out of the lineup ill on Tuesday, senior Emily Iverson ran a 5-1 offense and engineered York's road sweep of Glenbard West. She had 31 assists, many of which went to Caroline Rose and Melissa Deatsch.

86. Benet (Lisle, Illinois)
Current record: 21-6

Random note: Four days after losing to Joliet Catholic in the finals of the Mizuno Cup, the Redwings exacted revenge on JCA, getting 10 kills from Allyson Farm and eight kills and 11 digs from Lara Ontko in a three-set win. Benet trailed 22-19 in the decisive set, but scored six of the final eight points to pull out the win.

87. Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Illinois)
Current record: 24-5

Random note: Led by tourney MVP Kelly Feigh and big blocking middle Lainey Wyman, the Angels won the Mizuno Cup on Saturday, sweeping top-seeded Benet in the finals. Benet had to overcome nine match points against in the semifinal versus St. Charles East, which lost setter Erienne Barry to a knee injury. In the final, JCA dominated the first then had to come from behind in Game 2 to sweep. The Angels won on a kill from sophomore Morgan Reardon.

98. Huntley (Illinois)
Current record: 23-3

Teams on the bubble

Crystal Lake Central, Edwardsville, Hersey, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Libertyville, Lincoln, Marian Central, Quincy, Sandburg, St. Charles East, St. Francis, West Chicago.

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Wishing Erienne Barry a speedy recovery! Really great kid

I echo MCC's post by wishing Erienne all the best! She will be back and knowing her mental toughness and work ethic she will come out of this better than ever. She has a bright future!

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on October 17, 2010 9:54 AM.

Crystal Lake Central's Anderson commits to Indiana was the previous entry in this blog.

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