By Pat Brozynski

April 2011 Archives

The pools have been set for next weekend's Lincoln-Way East Invitational (May 6-7), which features some of the best teams from the northern and southern suburbs including previously top-ranked Sandburg.

The eight No. 1 seeds are Sandburg, Marist, Buffalo Grove, Lake Park, New Trier, Naperville North, Warren and Lincoln-Way East. The No. 2 seeds are Maine East, Lincoln-Way North, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West, Maine South, Lyons and Marian Catholic.

The rest of the field includes Bolingbrook, Illiana Christian, St. Patrick, Joliet Catholic, Joliet West, Stagg, Homewood-Flossmoor and Maine West.

Pool assignments are: Lincoln-Way East, Illiana Christian and Maine East in Pool A; Sandburg, Marian Catholic and Bolingbrook in Pool B; Stagg, Naperville Central and Buffalo Grove in Pool C; and Marist, lincoln-Way West and joliet West in Pool D.

Pool E features Naperville North, Lincoln-Way Central and Maine West; Poll F has New Trier, Homewood-Floosmoor and Lyons; Pool G features St. Patrick, Lincoln-Way North and Warren; and Pool H has Lake Park, Joliet Catholic and Maine South.

Pool play begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. with pools A, B, C and D at Lincoln-Way East and pools E. F. G and H at Lincoln-Way North. Friday's final pool matches scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday's Gold Flight play begins with four quarterfinals at Lincoln-Way East 9:45 a.m.. The semifinals are scheduled at 12:30 p.m. with the third-place and championship match at 3:00 p.m.

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The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association is sponsoring an all-star game for senior volleyball players at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 6 at Joliet Catholic. Participants will be announced sometime after May 14. Stay tuned for more details.

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Congratulations to No. 5-ranked Buffalo Grove (21-4) and former top 10 entry Barrington (20-5) for winning their respective Mid-Suburban League divisions. East winner Buffalo Grove will host West champion Barrington at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18 for the overall conference title.

1st Alliance 17 Silver strikes gold at JVA

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One week after winning the bronze at the Northern Lights Qualiifer in Minneapolis and qualifying for the Junior Olympics in Atlanta in June -- one of only 28 teams in the country to qualify in the Open division -- 1st Alliance (Western Springs) 17 Silver won the Junior Volleyball Association World Challenge 17 Open Volleyball Championship April 22-24 in Louisville, Ky..

1st Alliance 17 Silver went 2-1 in both of its pools on Friday and Saturday to qualify for the Gold round. 1st Alliance took down Milwaukee 17 Gold 25-21, 25-20 in the semifinals and Alliance 17 Mizuno out of Nashville, Tenn. 25-16, 25-21 in the championship, avenging a three-set loss to the Tennessee crew earlier in the tournament.

Team members include Bridget Powell (Mother McAuiey), Caroline Rose (York), Gabby Pethokoukis (Benet), Jenna Jacobson (Whitney Young), Jessica Tulacka (Downers Grove North), Jill Hickey (Joliet Catholic), Katie Gallagher (York), Laura Williams (Lyons), Lauren Zilelinski (Marist) and Melissa Nava (Hinsdale South),

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Laura Williams, a junior outside hitter for 2010 Class 4A state champion Lyons, recently committed to Duke University. Williams was in the top 10 in several statistical categories in the state of Illinois among outside hitters last fall, ranking in the top 10 in hitting efficiency, digs per set and aces per set,

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Lauren Zielinski, a 6-foot-4 junior middle hitter from Marist, has recently committed to the University of South Carolina after initially opting for Georgia.

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New Trier, whch rallied from deficits of 18-14 in Game One and 21-18 in Game Two to defeat Barrington in the quarterfinals of last weekend's Mustang Invitational at Downers Grove South, built a hole too big to escape when it fell behind 14-3 in Game Two of its semifinal against the hosts in front of an overwhelmingly partisan crowd.

The Trevians lost 25-19, 25-22 in the school's "small gym" before bouncing back to beat Lake Park for third place.

"You rarely find a team that can come back in that situation," New Trier coach Sue Ellen Haak said. "I'm proud of them. But at the same time, they know that we have got to start faster. We know we can be a comeback team, but I want to be a quick-starting team."

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Two tournaments to watch this weekend are at Benet and Northside Prep.

The Benet Invitational features a quartet of 15-plus win teams including red-hot Glenbard West, which finished fifth at the Brother Rice Smack Attack, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley and the host Redwings.

Northside Prep entertains a field that includes Minooka, St. Charles North, Zion-Benton, Schurz and Von Steuben. Semifinals at Northside are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. with the championship at approximately 3:00 p.m.

The seedings have been determined and the pairings drawn for the 2011 Mustang Invitational Thursday and Saturday at Downers Grove South.

Wheaton Warrenville South was awarded the top seed, followed by Downers Grove South, New Trier, Lake Park, Downers Grove North, Barrington, Naperville North and Oak Park. Glenbard East, Glenbrook South and Deerfield were seeded 9-11. Defending champion Maine South was seeded 12th.

Pool play begins Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at Downers South, Lockport and Niles West. The gold and silver divisions will be played Saturday at Downers South beginning at 8:00 a.m. with the bronze bracket played at Lockport

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You have to like the chances of WW South and Sandburg to reach the finals of the IHSA Boys Volleyball State Tournament based on the "rolling of the peas." The teams are in opposite halves of the draw announced April 15 in Bloomington.

The Tigers' sectional at IMSA drew the winner of the St. Ignatius sectional (where Oak Park could snag the top seed) in the quarterfinals and the winner of the Belleville West (Neuqua Valley) vs. Warren (Buffalo Grove) quarterfinal in the semifinals.

Sandburg, which is expected to emerge from its own sectional after being upset in the sectional semifinals last year by Marist, drew the Niles North sectional winner (New Trier) in the semifinals and the Reavis vs. Schaumburg (Lake Park) quarterfinal survivor in the semifinals.

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Marist (13-3) travelled to Cincinnatti last weekend to play three matches against teams from Ohio, including 2010 state runner-up Moeller, Centerville and 2010 state champion Elder.

The RedHawks went 2-1 against the Ohio teams, defeating Moeller in five games (Ohio plays best-of-five) on Friday and Centerville in four before losing to Elder in five on Saturday.

The RedHawks played most of weekend without middle hitter Jim Mead, who tweaked an ankle against Moeller. Marist was also without outside hitter Kevin Morrison, who suffered a foot injury earlier in the week against Sandburg.

"(Six-foot-4 middle) Tony Natalino really stepped up for us without the other two guys," Marist coach Bob St. Leger said. "We had to go to him a lot. We played some great volleyball on Saturday even though we didn't have our two best players."

Marist also defeated Maine South 25-18, 26-24 on Thursday to finish the week 3-2.

"It's still April," St. Leger said.

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Barrington (14-2), which had four players with at least nine kills each in its victory over Highland Park in the championship of the Lake County tournament Saturday, hopes to make a splash this weekend at the Downers Grove South invite.

"We want to let everyone know that we're the real deal," said senior outside hitter Matt Logue, who had 13 kills against the Giants and is one of only two seniors who get much playing time for coach Rob Ridenour.

"Everybody looks for Wheaton Warrenville South to come out of the western suburbs and Sandburg to come out of the south," Logue said. "We want to represent the north side."

The Broncos would likely have to get past Buffalo Grove in the Warren sectional to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2005, when they lost in the finals in three games to WW South and finished 33-3.

Top-seeded Vernon Hills (10-1) and No. 2 seed Barrington (10-2) will try to evade a minefield of upset-minded contenders when 16 teams from throughout Lake County converge on Vernon Hills, Antioch and Lakes Friday and Saturday for the annual Lake County Tournament.

Vernon Hills' pool on its home court Friday includes Zion-Benton, Libertyville and Waukegan , while Barrington will try to navigate Carmel, Mundelein and host Antioch.

Stevenson (7-2) is the third seed and must get past Deerfield (5-3) in its pool at Lakes while Highland Park is No. 4 and is headed for an encounter with Warren (7-3) at Vernon Hills.

Pool play is at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Championship play begins Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Vernon Hills and the final round is slated for an early 10:15 a.m. tipoff.

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Six-foot-6 freshman setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale Central) and Ball State will wrap up the regular season this weekend when they host the Don Shondell/Active Ankle Challenge featuring No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa.).

Ball State is 17-10 overall (7-5 in the MIVA) and ranked just outside the top 15 (behind Lewis) after losing to Loyola (Chicago) and beating Indiana Purdue- Fort Wayne last week.

McIlvaine, a Chicago Sun-Times All Area selection in 2010, is sharing starting duties in Ball State's 6-2 offense and is averaging 9.84 assists per game.

"He is doing real well," said Hinsdale Central coach Len Serwat, who watched his former standout play recently. "He doesn't look like a freshman out there. He looks like a junior. He touched 11-6 on his jump test at Ball State. He's getting up in the air.

"He's the real deal," Serwat said.

Former Lake Forest star and Sun-Times All Area selection Larry Wrather is Ball State's leading hitter, averaging 2.84 kills per game. He has Led Ball State in kills in four of its last seven matches.

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One of Minooka's two losses this season came at the hands of Plainfield North. Minooka coach Janel Grzetich gushed about Tigers' setter Matt Guerrieri, who has guided the Tigers to a 13-1 record.

Grzetich knows a thing or two about setters. Her brother, Doug Burchett, currenty coaching the freshman team at Metea Valley, led Wheaton Warrenville South to back-to-back state titles in 2004 and 2005.

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Congratulations to former Libertyville star and Chicago Sun-Times All Area selection Catie Steffen, who signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Rhode Island next fall.

Liberos draw oohs and aahs at Tiger Classic

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Copy of Siroky.jpgKudos to Sandburg's outside hitter Kevin Groeper, who was named MVP of the Tiger Classic last weekend at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Joining Groeper on the all-tournament team were libero Connor Bolan (Glenbrook North), libero Danny Boryca (Naperville North), setter Garrett Dempsey (Marist), libero Mike Fredrick (Oak Park), junior outside hitter Blake Kribs (DeSmet) and outside hitter Eric Luhrsen (WW South).

Also named to the team were: setter Matthew McCown (Lake Park), middle hitter Jim Mead (Marist), sophomore middle hitter Casey Pieper (Moeller), outside hitter Lucas Rytel (Glenbrook South) and opposite hitter Chris Shanahan (Buffalo Grove).

Also, (pictured above) opposite side hitter Bill Siroky (Sandburg), junior libero Jake Tomaras (Lincoln-Way East), middle hitter Bennett Wakenight (New Trier) and outside hitter Dan Weishar (Brother Rice).

Other than Groeper, Mead, Tomaras, Bolan and Oak Park setter Diego Rodriguez-Guerrios, a move-in from Puerto Rico, might have made the biggest impression on opposing coaches and tournament officials.

Tomaras and Bolan established themselves as two of the best defenders in the area and Mead's performance in Game 2 against Sandburg in which he blocked three consecutive Sandburg attacks and added a kill to help rally Marist from a 21-17 deficit was stunning.

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Congratulations to Glenbrook South, which bounced back from a surprising loss to Andrew in pool play Thursday to win the Bronze division at the Tiger Classic by defeating Evanston, Naperville Central and St. Rita.

Glenbrook South was missing two starters during the tournament - 6-4 outside Vince Gabuzzi and 5-10 defensive specialist Niko Kontos. Both are expected back later this week when Glenbrook South plays Glenbrook North.

Glenbrook South coach Tim Monahan hopes this year's team helps to resurrect the Titans' reputation as a perennnial state power. But he also has some building blocks for the future in juniors Brian Brennan, Troy Farsakian and Peter Rafalo.

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Didn't see it. Wish we had.

The game of the weekend? Game 3 between Buffalo Grove and New Trier in the Gold quarterfinals. The Trevians outlasted the Bison 31-29 to advance to the semifinals against Sandburg.

Buffalo Grove bounced back to defeat (St. Louis, Mo.) DeSmet and Glenbrook North for fifth place.

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