By Pat Brozynski

Twenty-five things about the state finals...

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Former Joliet Catholic outside hitter and state champion Alyssa Warren (pictured above) now plays libero at Seton Hall.

The annual "crystal ball" look ahead to the 2011 season, the top players and teams, will come out in a week or two. Meanwhile, here are some things to ponder about the 2010 state championships last weekend at Redbird Arena:

1. Was there anybody not wearing red rooting for Heyworth in the Class 1A championship game against Scales Mound?

2. The entire community of Scales Mound (not that it's that big) must have been in the audience for both of the Hornet's matches.

3. Overall, attendance was disappointing. There were more fans for the smaller school games than for any of the 3A or 4A contests.

4. The officiating was inconsistent (I bet Abby Gilleland has not been called for as many lifts all season as she was in the 3A semifinal).

5. Somebody turned the media hospitality room into a storage closet.

6. The officiating hasn't kept up with the speed and quality of the game.

7. Working media cannot subsist on generic pretzels and popcorn all weekend.

8. Maybe it is time to abolish term limits on officials doing state tournament games and let the best officials, regardless of how many times they have worked a state tournament, officiate the state finals.

9. The food at Redbird Arena is horrible and overpriced. No wonder they can't sign any decent basketball players. They don't want their families to get ill watching them, at least not on the food.

10. How can an official call a net violation when it has no bearing on the play to give a team match point in a state championship match?

11. The Sherrard pep band rocks.

12. Nobody wants an official to decide who wins.

13. Sycamore's Veronica Behrens has a beautiful singing voice.

14. I wish ALL anthem singers would stop channeling Whitney Houston.

15. I never knew Breese Central's Jena Hemann was such a beast on the track.

16, Will Toledo Cumberland's Amy Roan get axed after not winning a state title? (Her two predecessors each coached for one year and did not return after failing to win championships).

17. Once again, Stacey and Maggie are sisters, Emily and Maddie are cousins. I think.

18. The IHSA's "experiment" to run matches continuously starting at 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday worked well, although some Payton fans missed the first game of their team's semifinal on Friday.

19. Bloomington Central Catholic players wore purple shoelaces to honor Shirley Lockett, whose two daughters played volleyball there. Lockett died of pancreatic cancer October 21.

20. Kudos to IHSA assistant executive directors Matt Troha and Stacey Lambert.

21. Was there a better-looking freshman at Redbird Arena than Decatur St. Teresa's Marie Less?

22. Big Ten basketball official Ed Hightower, we know where you work.

23. Cary-Grove joined Prairie Ridge (2005) and Naperville Central (1998) as the only teams playing in the largest class (AA or 4A) that entered the championship game unbeaten since Mother McAuley in 1982. All three lost.

24. Cary-Grove's Kelly Lamberti (21 kills) and Lyons' Jocelynn Birks (18 kills) both broke the 4A state championship game record of 17 kills set by Benet's Ariana Mankus in 2008.

25. Finally, Joliet Catholic defeats Breese Mater Dei to win the 2011 Class 3A title.


In other news...

Seton Hall freshman libero Alyssa Warren (Joliet) racked up 48 digs in two matches two weekends ago to help the Pirates go 1-1 and stay in the hunt for the Big East championship. Warren had 30 digs in a four-set victory over Syracuse (one shy of tying her career-high) and 18 digs in a five-set match against Marquette.

Warren has 480 digs on the season which is a new Seton Hall freshman record and the third-highest, single-season total in school history.

Other local members of the Seton Hall volleyball team are senior Sarah Osmun (Crystal Lake), junior Meghan Matusiak (Winfield) and senior Megan Murison (Woodridge).

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Just like Columbia Blue and Brown of JCA Angels, you look great in Seton Hall Royal Blue too!

I would imagine that Edwardsville fans might argue that their freshman stacks up pretty well.

Your point #8 is right on. Having done some work with the IHSA, I find it a crime that they do not post the best officials to the better games. As just an additional example, the Class 8A football championship in 2009 was fairly poorly called ... it was the refs retirement game. I fully understand that officials should be treated with great respect, and should get treated better and paid more ... I have genuine respect for them, but there really should be little question when it comes to giving kids a great experience vs. giving adults what they want which side should win. In at least one IHSA activity, the officials are given virtual lifetime positions, no matter how inexperienced they are in terms of working throughout the year or how poor they perform.

Where to start...#1) Term limits for state finals apply only in certain sports and volleyball is not one of them. There is no limit to how many times one can work the state finals. #2)I'll take the bet on Ms. Gilleland. When a setter contacts the ball over her head, brings it down below her chin, and then arches her back and moves the ball in a circular motion to set the ball 15-20 feet behind her, all while STAYING in contact with the ball...I cannot define prolonged contact any better. #3) The quality of the officiating at the state finals was excellent. Not only did you see some of the top officials working matches as floor officials, but some of them were on lines, as well. As with the setter issues in #2 above, check the replays at #4) Quality officiating is consistent. This means that officials make the same call whether it is point 1 or set/match point. Concerning the net violation to give a team match point, as you are so fond of saying..."It isn't club season." By National Federation rule (those which IHSA member schools play under), contact with the net with anything other than hair constitutes a net violation. If officials called matches based on the score, you would have situational officiating. As a friend of mine is known to quote, there's no handicapping in volleyball. #5) You are correct in saying that nobody wants an official to decide who wins. To that end, fouls, illegal contacts, etc., have to be called consistently from point 1 - 25 (or more!). You can't have it both ways, saying that the officiating was inconsistent AND that an official called a net foul to give a team match point. As long as the net fouls were being called throughout (which they were), why stop when a team gets near winning the set? Cry "inconsistent", then want the officials to "swallow the whistle" near the end of the match and "allow the kids to decide who wins"...why call anything at all? #6) Payton's match on Friday started on time and according to schedule. Don't blame the schedule for fan's inability to get into a venue on time. #7) I agree completely with the Kudos to Stacy and Matt, although Stacy is the individual in charge of volleyball at the IHSA, and finally, #8) I fail to understand how a team that goes 32-7 and didn't make it out of sectionals remains in the top 5, much less the top 10 when a team that wins the 3A (defeating the #6 ranked team in the process and is a nationally ranked team!) doesn't earn a top 10 ranking. While I agree that the talent was there, the ability to come through when needed was not. How many teams are there out there that have that kind of talent and fall by the wayside for lack of follow-through.

On the sidelines, it sounds like you're anti-Benet. Ok, they were 32-7 and lost in the sectional championship. But not only were they in the toughest sectional in the state top-to-bottom, but they probably played the toughest schedule of anyone in the state. They started off the season 4-3, losing to St charles east, hinsdale central, and york. Over the remainder of the season, they went 28-4, with losses to marist (2x), joliet catholic, and finally to hinsdale south. All top 20 teams! And they even avenged their losses to st charles and to joliet catholic, beating both of those teams twice. They also beat mother mcauley in the one match-up they had together, beat lemont, and beat waubonsie valley FOUR times. To recount, of the 39 matches they played, at least 17 were against top-20 teams (in final rankings) and they went 10-7 in those matches, which would make them 22-0 against the rest of their schedule (which wasn't what one would call easy)

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on November 15, 2010 2:42 PM.

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