By Pat Brozynski

March 2011 Archives

Young Broncos throw an early surprise party

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When Barrington met Sandburg Saturday at the Bison Battle in the second of back-to-back-to-back matches for the Broncos, both teams were shorthanded. But Barrington overcame the absence of senior opposite Kyle Darch to surprise the Eagles 25-21, 23-25, 25-18.

Senior Matt Logue led Mid-Suburban West favorite Barrington with 11 kills, 6-foot-5 junior Jeff Hochstein added eight kills, 6-8 junior Tommy Leonard had six kills and nine blocks and junior Taylor Ganzer, three weeks removed rom basketball, dished out 26 assists.

"It was us playing and competing as a team," said junior libero Austin Czarnecki, who had nine digs and was 19-of-19 in serve receive in the match. "When we play with high energy and work together, we are a pretty good team."

***

Sandburg setter Scott Fifer, a 6-2 junior transfer from Marist, will miss another week with a torn meniscus in his knee. But the Eagles should get back 6-5 outside Andrew Muys (flu) and 6-2 rightside Kevin Groeper this week.

***

Perennial city contender Lincoln Park competed in the Bison Battle Saturday at Buffalo Grove. Although the Lions went 0-4, they took an improving Lake Zurich team to three games and gave Glenbrook North all it could handle in a 25-17, 25-22 loss.

"The reason we came out here was to play good competition," Lincoln Park coach John Davis said. "In order to be the best, you have to play the best. A tournament like this will only help us get better and get our program some exposure.

One Lincoln Park player who needs no exposure in 6-foot-7 Nicholas Ali, who has committed to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

"This is Lincoln Park's first real big tournament," Ali said. "For a lot of these guys, it's completely new experience. But it's good for them to see all of this."

When Ali arrives next fall at Grand Canyon, a private Christian school with an enrollment of 25,000, he will not be the only Chicago area player on the Antelopes' roster. Ali will join Minooka's 6-4 sophomore opposite Robbie Brannick and Waukegan's 6-7 junior Ed Ricker.

***

The annual Tiger Classic hosted by Wheaton Warrenville South begins Thursday with the first of two days of pool play. Thy top seeds (in no particular order) are: WW South, Sandburg, Marist, Buffalo Grove, Naperville North, New Trier, Glenbrook North and Lincoln-Way Central.

Rounding out the 24-team field are: Lincoln-Way East, Naperville Central, Glenbrook South, Andrew, Lake Park, York, Waubonsie Valley, St. Rita, Oak Park, Evanston, Stagg, Moeller (Ohio), Brother Rice, Wheaton North, Oak Lawn and DeSmet Jesuit.

Among the more intriguing first-round matches are Marist and Glenbrook South Thursday at 5:00 p.m. on Court 4, Sandburg and Lake Park Thursday at 5:00 p.m. on Court 2, and Glenbrook North and Brother Rice Friday at 5:00 p.m. on Court 1.

Among the players to watch are: Glenbrook North's 6-foot outside Glen Song, Brother Rice's 6-4 outside Dan Weishar, Glenbrook South's 7-foot outside hitter Lucas Rytel, Marist's 6-5 middle Jim Mead, and Waubonsie Valley sophomore setter Luke Furman.

Imagine how much better Wheaton Warrenville South would have been with Eric Luhrsen.

Luhrsen, the 6-foot-6 senior outside hitter who led the Tigers to within a few points of a fourth consecutive state title last year, sat out the Tigers' season opener Wednesday against visiting Downers Grove South.

He was barely missed.

After squandering a 20-17 lead in Game 2, the Luhrsen-less Tigers bounced back to bounce Downers Grove South 25-17. 23-25, 25-18 in their 2011 season opener in Wheaton. Their depth is one reason WW South begins the season ranked No. 1 by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Luhrsen, who was part of two state championship teams and had more than 380 kills last year during WW South's run to second place, believes this could be the best Tiger team he has been a part of yet.

"On paper, this could be," he said. "But we have to continue to work to get there. We can't take anything for granted. We have a tough schedule, that should help. And every one of our hitters can put a ball down harder than the best player on a lot of teams.

"I'm optimistic," he added.

With Luhrsen in street clothes nursing tendinitis in his right knee (he had surgery on his left knee after helping the Tigers win a state championship in football last fall), the Tigers unveiled some of the new faces coach Bill Schreier hopes will lead the Tigers to a seventh state title.

Among the new faces is 6-6 sophomore Michal Stefanski, a foreign exchange student from Poland who blistered Downers South for 13 kills and two aces, and 6-6 junior Thomas Jaeschke, who had three kills all of last year but had 12 kills and a block Wednesday.

"Jaeschke can run that backrow attack as fast as Sean Rooney," Schreier said. "He actually had to slow down on one because the ball hung up a little bit. With him, Luhrsen and Stefanski, we have three guys who can hit out of the back row."

Six-foot-7 junior Matt Callaway had just 32 kills in 2010. He had five kills and four blocks against Downers South. And Dave Priest finally wore the same color jersey as his teammates - he was the libero last year - and dished out 33 assists and six aces.

Six-foot-5 junior Matt Nussbaum (143 kills, 72 blocks in 2010) is also back, as is 6-6 junior Tim Zyburt, who was an integral part of WW South's stellar basketball team.

Players aside, WW South also has some intangibles on its side in its quest for another state title, like tradition and a long memory.

"I was disappointed with how we ended Game 2," Schreier said. "I would have thought that after the way last year ended they would not allow that to occur again. But I like the way they responded in Game 3, that's for sure."

WW South built leads of 10-6, 16-11 and 23-15 in Game 3 behind four aces from Priest, four kills from Jaeschke and eight kills from Stefanski.

"We still have a target on our back, but it's not quite as big," Luhrsen said. "This year is different because we didn't win (the state title) last year. We have some new faces, and everybody is hungrier than last year."

78 who might be great boys volleyball players

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The 2011 Chicago Sun-Times boys volleyball preview will be released soon, including the names of the top 50 players in the area. Here are 78 area players who did not make the top 50, but could make a significant contribution to their team's success in 2011.

Nikola Antonjevic, 6-8, Sr., MH, Stevenson
Mario Ascencio, 5-11, Jr., S. Loyola
Jacob Barber, 5-10, Jr, OH, Plainfield North
Sean Blackwood, 6-5, Sr., OH, Lincoln-Way Central
Jon Bolek, Sr., S, Deerfield
Bryan Bonamarte, Sr., MB, Libertyville
LJ Booth, 6-6, Jr., MH, Hinsdale Central
Dustin Borenstein, 6-3, So., OH, Highland Park
Matt Calloway, 6-6, Jr., MH, Wheaton Warrenville South
Joseph Coyne, 5-7, St., Libero, New Trier
Colin Denny, 6-2, Sr., MH, Brother Rice
Joseph Farrell, 6-5, So., OH, Glenbard East
Joe Fashingbauer, 6-0, Sr., S, St. Rita
Michael Fitzgibbons, Sr., OH, Carmel
Jason Fox, 6-2, Sr., OH, Sandburg
Mike Frederick, 6-0, Sr., L, Oak Park
Luke Furman, 6-0, So, S, Waubonsie Valley
Vince Gabuzzi, 6-5, Sr., RS, Glenbrook South
Taylor Ganzer, 6-0, Jr., S, Barrington
Andrew Gates, 6-0, Sr., OH, New Trier
Justin Ginter, Sr., S, Palatine
Kevin Groper, 6-2, Sr., RS. Sandburg
Matt Guerrieri, 5-9, Jr., L, Plainfield North
Derek Gulmond, 6-4, Sr., RS, Evanston
Kris Hawkins, 6-2, Sr., RS, Lake Forest
Kevin Hobbs, Sr., RS, York
Mark Hogan, 6-4, Sr., OH, Lyons
Luke Jacobson, 6-4, J., MH, Glenbrook North
Thomas Jaeschke, 6-6, Jr., OH, Wheaton Warrenville South
Paul Juska, 6-1, Sr., OH, Loyola
Kris Hawkins, 6-2, Sr., MH, Lake Forest
Daniel Kaplan, Sr., MH, Deerfield
Eric Kluge, Sr., MH, Hinsdale South
Martin Krasuski, 6-4, So., OH, Metea Valley
Matt Krese, 6-7, Sr., MH, St. Francis
Sam Kull, 6-5, Sr., MH, Downers Grove South
Luke Ladowski, 6-2, Jr., OH, Benet
Bobby Lenderman, 5-11, Sr., L, Hinsdale Central
Tommy Leonard, 6-8, Jr., MH, Barrington
Pat Livingston, Jr., OH, Maine West
Dylan Maziur, 6-3, Sr., RS, Oak Forest
Paris McFall, 6-6, Sr., OPP, Downers Grove South
Kyle Moore, 6-1, Jr., OH, Lake Forest
Kevin Morrison, 6-1, Sr., OH, Marist
Kevin Murphy, 5-8, Sr., L, Marist
Andrew Muys, 6-5, Sr., OH, Sandburg
Sean O'Connor, 6-10, Sr., OH, Warren
Austin Overby, 6-5, So., OH, Lincoln-Way Central
Eric Phillips, Sr., RS, Antioch
Brian Pomorski, 6-2, Sr., RS, Brother Rice
Piotr Rafalo, 6-8, Jr., MH, Glenbrook South
Andrew Regnery, 6-1, Sr., MH, Hinsdale Central
Colin Rudnick, 5-8, Sr., S, St. Ignatius
Bryan Ruggiero, 5-11, Sr., S. Downers Grove South
Josef Santos, 5-8, So, L, St. Francis
John Savickas, 6-5, Sr., MH, Minooka
Dillon Schaeffer, 6-4, Sr., OH, Warren
Scott Schwartz, 6-7, MH, Glenbrook North
Alex Severson, 6-3, Sr., MH, Lincoln-Way Central
Tim Shenkin, 6-5, Jr., MH,. Glenbard East
Danny Slutsky, 5-10, Sr., S, Glenbrook North
Jesse Solomon, 6-5, Sr., OPP, New Trier
Thomas Stevens, 6-2, Jr., OH, Neuqua Valley
Michael Storm, 6-3, Jr., OH, Waubonsie Valley
Dan Swiec, 6-2, Sr., MH, Fremd
Jordan Thompson, 6-1, Sr., MB, Downers Grove North
Parker Tortorello, 6-0, Jr., OH, Mundelein
Simon Tran, 6-2, Sr., MH, Lane Tech
Armin Trgo, 6-1, Sr., OH, Addison Trail
J.P. Tulacka, 6-6, Jr., MH, Downers Grove North
Everardo Valencia, 5-11, Sr., OH, Morton
D.J. Valenti, 6-5, Sr., MH, Oak Park
Stefan Vidovich, 6-3, Jr., MH, Libertyville
Bennett Wakenight, 6-5, Sr., MB, New Trier
Bobby Walsh, 6-6, Jr., MH, Mt. Carmel
Dan Weishar, 6-3, Sr., OH, Brother Rice
Ben Wilks, 6-3, S., OH, Oak Park
Tim Zyburt, 6-6, Jr., OPP, Wheaton Warrenville South


Benet's Severyn commits to Boston College

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severyn.jpg

Kathleen Severyn (pictured at right), a 5-foot-10 libero from (Lisle) Benet Academy, has committed to play volleyball at Boston College, coach Brad Baker announced this week.

"Boston College is getting a quality individual who is a great volleyball player," Baker said. "Kathleen will not only help Boston College on the court, but her leadership skill set is one that will make her teammates better people and players.

"Kathleen is a gem of a person and Boston College is very lucky to have her join their program," the coach added.

Severyn has a 3.98 grade point average, scored the equalivalent of a 31 ACT on her SAT and is an Illinois State Scholar, a Prepvolleyball.com Academic All American selection and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also involved in Student Government and is a Children's Liturgy of the Word volunteer.

Severyn plays on the Sports Performance 18-1 team, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason by Prepvolleyball.com. She helped lead Benet to a 32-7 record and the Sweet Sixteen in Class 4A.

"Boston College is the perfect fit for me," she said. "The school will challenge me academically, athletically and spiritually."

***

West Aurora's Lauren Carlini, St. Ignatius's Sophia Dodd and Marist's Mallory Salis were recently named to the Prepvolleyball.com Soph 79, the top varsity-playing sophomores in the country.

Carlini had 179 kills, 205 assists and 27 aces for the Blackhawks, who finished 9-5 in the DuPage Valley and won 22 matches overall. She was a Chicago Sun-Times second team all-area selection in 2010.

Dodd is a two-time All Girls Chicago Athletic Conference selection and has led the Wolfpack to a 61-17 record the past two seasons. Dodd had 440 assists, 195 kills, 28 aces and 197 digs in 2010.

Salis led Marist to a best-ever 39-3 record and a supersectional berth opposite eventual Class 4A state champion Lyons. Salis finished the season with 232 kills, 60 aces, 49 blocks and 299 digs.

Marist, Molten and miscellaneous musings...

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Marist surprised many in the Illinois volleyball community by ending Maine South's 40-match unbeaten streak 26-24, 22-25, 25-22 in the 2010 state semifinals, then dismissing three-time defending state champion Wheaton Warrenville South 25-23, 25-22 in the finals.

A similar run in 2011 would be an even bigger surprise.

Marist lost 800 kills, 500 blocks, Casey Gray and all-area middle hitter Dave Nelson from last year's 38-4 team. The RedHawks return just 3.5 starters (according to coach Bob St. Leger's arithmetic) from the team that won its fourth consecutive conference title.

But there is some silver lining in the cloud hovering over 4200 West 115th Street. Three-year letterwinner and setter extraordinare Garrett Dempsey is back for another year at the helm of Marist's offense.

Dempsey accumulated 967 assists last season and was named East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year. He could surpass 2,000 assists for his career. Marist just needs to find somebody for Dempsey to get the ball to.

The only two players with any hitting experience are 6-foot-1 opposite Kevin Morrison, who had 176 kills and 106 blocks in 2010, and part-time player Jim Mead, who had 78 kills and 65 blocks in 15 starts for the injured Tommy Clark.

"I believe Jim to be a 'diamond in the rough' because not many teams know much about him and is by far the best athlete on our team," St. Leger said.

Also back is all-conference lilbero Kevin Murphy, who had 532 digs in 2010.

But that's the extent of Marist' varsity experience. So where is the help coming from? Maybe from the graduates of a 30-1 sophomore team. Certainly from left-handed Sean Connelly at opposite.

"We will be strongest in setting, passing and defense, which can win a lot of games," St. Leger said. "We have questions marks at one of the outside positions and one of the middle positions."

***

Three area players were named to the Molten Improved Volleyball Team announced earlier this week by Prepvolleyball.com.

Allison Whimpey, a 6-0 senior rightside from Cary-Grove, who had 137 kills, 50 blocks and 42 aces for a team that ranked No. 1 nationally until falling to Lyons in the Class 4A final, was a first-team selection.

Named to the third team were Jenna Jendryk, a 6-foot junior rightside from Benet Academy who was her team's most dominant player the latter half of the 2010 season, and Taylor Pippen, a 5-11 junior middle blocker from Carmel.

Pippen, the daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, barely made the school's freshman "B" team three years ago. Yet she had 121 kills, 39 aces and nearly 100 blocks for the Corsairs in 2010.

***

The rich get richer?

Wheaton Warrenville South, which has won six state titles in the last 10 years, will likely emerge as the team to beat in 2011 with the addition of 6-6 outside hitter Michal Stefanski, a foreign exchange student.

Stefanski, who has a 8-foot, 4-inch reach and touches 10 feet, 10 inches, played for Sports Performance's 18 Mizuno team during the club season with future WW South teammate Matt Nussbaum.

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