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),
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,
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.
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."
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.