By Pat Brozynski

October 2011 Archives

Things are different this time, Haggerty says

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Erienne Barry (pictured at right) and her St. Charles East teammates will face crosstown rival St. Charles North in Tuesday's 7:00 p.m. sectional semifinal at St. Charles East.


After advancing to the state championship game in 2008 - only to lose to St. Charles East - Benet has fallen short each of the last two years, losing to Quincy in the supersectional in 2009 and falling in the sectional finals to Hinsdale South in 2010.

But Benet's 6-foot-3 middle hitter Meghan Haggerty said that this is a different Redwings' team.

"The chemistry is a lot different this year," Haggerty said. "Last year, we had five seniors. This year, we have 10, but we're not separating the seniors from the juniors. I think we're doing a pretty good job of that, just making everybody feel that they're the same and we're all on the same mission."

Another big advantage Benet has this year is size. In addition to Haggerty, Benet has 6-3 Gabby Pethokoukis and 6-1 sophomore Brittany Pavich roaming the middle. Pethokoukis is finally playing regularly after missing most of the season with an injury.

The Redwings exploited their height in their regional victory over West Aurora.

"It's all about matchups," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Wherever we feel like we have the best advantage, that's where we want to get the ball to. If the other team has small middles and our middles are big, we want to continue to feed them whenever we can.

"Our middles hit a high percentage (against West Aurora) and we're just going to keep going to them until people prove they can stop them," the coach added.

***

A team to watch in the Andrew sectional is Lincoln-Way Central, which defeated Sandburg in both teams' regular-season finale and ousted East Suburban Catholic Conference co-champion Providence in the regional finals.

Lincoln-Way Central is powered by 5-10 senior outside hitter Danielle Dowd and 5-5 senior libero Val Crilly.

Dowd, who has committed to Ferris State next year, had a team-high 297 kills, 295 digs, 40 aces and 327 good serve receive passes during the regular season. She also had 35 solo blocks and 69 block assists and earned all-tournament honors at Rich East and the Lincoln-Way Central Autumn Knight invite.

Crilly, who is just in her second season playing libero, broke the single season dig record at Lincoln-Way Central for the second consecutive season. Crilly had 440 digs, 13 aces and 26 assists during the regular season, and serves at 91 percent.

***

No. 6-ranked St. Charles East best beware of crosstown rival St. Charles North in the sectional semifinals Tuesday. The North Stars upset No. 3 seed Glenbard West in the regional finals to advance to Tuesday's semifinal.

St. Charles North trailed Glenbard West 24-22 in Game 3 of their regional showdown before rallying to win 25-22, 24-26, 26-24. The North Stars were led by setter Emily Belz, who dealt 39 assists, and outside hitter Taylor Krage, who had 17 kills and two aces.

Seniors Lauren Madziarczyk, Kim Juriga and Jillian Stolzenburg also chipped in with 11, nine and seven kills, respectively.

***

Did any team have a bigger turnaround this season than Wheaton Warrenville South?

The Tigers started the season 3-11, but won 13 of their last 21 matches and pushed No. 1-ranked York to the brink in the regional finals.

WW South was led by senior outside hitter Kate Phalen, a four-year varsity and three-year starting performer who was named to the DuPage Valley all-conference team and the all-tournament team at Glenbard East's Autumnfest.

Phalen had 341 kills, 49 aces, 179 digs and 29 blocks for the Tigers.

WW South will look to get off to a better start in 2012 behind a pair of juniors - outside hitter Stephanie Budlong and setter Jessica Bossman. Budlong, an all-conference selection, had 214 kills, 31 aces and 29 blocks for the Tigers, while Bossman had 645 assists, 26 aces and 101 digs.

***

You would have a hard time convincing Immaculate Conception coach Jean Field that there weren't at least a half-dozen Chicago area regionals that the Knights could have dominated.

Instead, the Knights were sent to Westmont, where they lost 25-23, 25-23 in the regional finals to Timothy Christian.

"You look at some of the other regionals and it makes you sick," she said.

Not all is lost at Immaculate Conception, however. The Knights should return several key players from their 25-11 team in 2012 including sophomore outside hitter Delaney D-Amore, junior setter Liz Martino, junior outside hitter Emily Hartnett and sophomore setter Kim Martino.

***

Don't be surprised to see defending state champion Chicago Christian and streaking Timothy Christian in the Lisle supersectional on Saturday.

Chicago Christian, which takes a 19-18 record into sectional play, has played perhaps the toughest schedule of any team in Class 2A. They also have four veterans of last year's state title trek -- 6-2 senior Maggie Kamp, 6-1 senior Becky DeRuiter, 5-10 junior Emily Lindemulder and libero Celaine Haan.

Timothy Christian (32-3) will take a 30-match winning streak into sectional play at Winnebago. Leading the way for the Knights are senior middle hitter Makenzie Vos, junior outside Bridgitt Buikema, sophomore setter Jenna Lodewyk and freshman outside hitter Kacie Stoll.

***

No. 26 Marist is the top-rated Chicago-area teams in the most recent Prepvolleyball.com Century Club national rankings, up from last week's 28th. Other nationally-ranked teams include Benet, York, Edwardsville, Joliet Catholic, Mother McAuley, St. Charles East, St. Francis and Breese Mater Dei.

Even a brief absence an eternity for McAuley

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Barrington (pictured above) defeated Hersey 25-20, 25-22 Thursday to claim its first Mid-Suburban League title since 2006.


How long has it been since Mother McAuley has advanced to the state finals in Bloomington?

It's only been three years - the Mighty Macs finished third after losing to Benet in the 2008 semifinals - but that is an eternity in McAuley years.

But McAuley coach Jen DeJarld isn't thinking that far ahead.

"I just want to get through my regional and my sectional, and then worry about that," she said. "I can't really think about that. My stomach drops when I think about it. We have the toughest road to the state tournament. It's been like that for a couple of years. If we're good enough, we'll make it there. I believe I have the team to do it."

DeJarld likes the balance her team has with seniors Jackie Aird, Lizzy Scanlon, Lauren Grady and Ryann Arundel, junior Sydney McPhillips and sophomores Courtney Joyce and Gabrielle Ennis.

"It's a nice balance," she said. "We do have great senior leadership from this group. I think that's an edge this year. They have a bitter taste in their mouths. Six of them have been with me since sophomore year. Two of them came to state with us in 2008. They know what it's about.

"We want to get back there," DeJarld added. "It's like a drug. It's addicting. Definitely, my addiction is getting to state. We have the taste. I have been here 17 years. We've done it many, many times as players and as coaches."

Since the state went to four classes in 2007, getting downstate has gotten tougher for teams from the south and western suburbs. McAuley must get past the likes of Marist, Sandburg, Providence and the Lincoln-Ways in its sectional and Lyons or Hinsdale South in the supersectional.

"It's definitely harder than it's ever been to get down there now that they only take four teams," DeJarld said. "Our road never seems to change, and everyone seems to always be good. It doesn't seem like anyone has a down year.

"Just when you think that someone's going to be down, they're not," she added. "It's a tribute to how strong Illinois volleyball is right now. It is open up to anybody. There's really not one dominant team. There are a lot of really strong teams that are very comparable."

***

It's not that York's Katie Gallagher did not want to face Lyons for the third time this season in the finals of Saturday's Lyons tournament. But enough is enough.

"I think we see them enough," she said. "It's always fun to play them though. But we like being able to play new teams to get a different feel for what's going on, teams that we don't always see.

"When you play the same teams, you get used to them and sometimes you don't have as much energy," Gallagher added. "So we like to play some new teams. It's definitely interesting."

***

Cathedral Catholic (21-2) of San Diego defeated Sun-Times' No. 2 Marist 17-25, 25-17, 15-11 Saturday in the finals of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona, behind tournament MVP Morgan Cormier (11 kills) and Krissy Witous (seven kills).

Cathedral Catholic is ranked No. 82 in the most recent Prepvolleyball.com Century Club National High School Rankings. Marist was No. 28.

***

York coach Patty Iverson lauded the Lyons tournament for providing a diverse field of teams that the Dukes would not normally see - and one team that the Dukes could see down the road.

"This tournament is great," she said. "We didn't play anybody we've played before. We got to play New Trier and New Trier is the supersectional feed. Lake Zurich, we never see them. We've never seen Minooka. So this has been really great for us.

"When you see someone from somewhere else, you see a different style of play," Iverson added. "When you see these different teams, these are nice teams, they put up a good fight. It's hard for us. We do we have matches where we don't play very well.

"Against Lake Zurich (in the finals), that match we had to figure out how to win. We weren't getting the push from our hitting. So what do you have to do to win? You have to ace, you have to block, we had to play defense. We were scrapping, and that's good."

***

Some folks may have been surprised by Lake Zurich's appearance in the finals of the Lyons tournament Saturday, but not coach Matt Aiello.

"We've battled a lot this year to get to the point where we are," he said. "We have a lot of talent, but we have different experience levels. The two weeks, two-and-a-half weeks we've played real good volleyball.

"We made some adjustments to our lineup and we're using a different defensive scheme," he added. "We're ready for next week (regionals)."

Lake Zurich, which finished third at the Maine West Pumpkinfest two weeks ago, is 24-11 heading into the Libertyville regional. If the Bears survive the hosts, the sectional field at Buffalo Grove could include Lake Forest, Stevenson and Hersey.

***

New Trier (27-7) will be favored to emerge from the Glenbrook South sectional to face the St. Charles East sectional final winner at the York supersectional on November 5.

New Trier coach Hannah Hsieh coach was pleased with her team's fourth-place showing at the Lyons tournament despite the absence of three players.

"To play as well as we did, we beat Minooka and went tough with York, I thought we played very well," Hsieh said. "I was really proud of the way the girls adjusted. We had to move positions around. The girls did a terrific job fighting.

"We turned a corner on some adjustments on ball control, and it was a great confidence booster to see York before we could see them in supersectionals," she added. The girls are excited. If we can stay healthy, we'll be happy to see them again."

***

Is there a tougher Class 3A sectional field than the one at Joliet Catholic?

Joliet Catholic (29-6) is the top seed and will be heavily favored to advance to face the Metamora sectional winner at Lincoln-Way West on November 5. The Angels have weathered the loss of 6-foot-2 middle Laney Wyman (Ole Miss) and setters Jordan Huston and Meredith Vertin.

Five-foot-11 junior Morgan Reardon leads Joliet Catholic's attack. When healthy, Kelly Feigh provides support on the outside, and 5-6 libero Jill Hickey is one of the best in the business. But the Angels must shore up their defense at the net.

"We definitely are going to be working on our blocking," Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe said. "I also think the thing we need to do is get some consistency on the floor. We've played one complete match with our starting lineup and that was the first match with McAuley at the beginning of the year."

The sectional field also includes Wheaton St. Francis (29-6), powered by 6-2 Daiva Wise and Carly Warner, the 5-10 setter/outside hitter who sat out the entire 2010 season after transferring from Naperville North.

The darkhorse in the field is Rosary (23-12). Rosary, which is just 6-5 in its last 11 matches, is led by University of Houston recruit and outside hitter Amelia Wegman, setter Abby Konovodoff and outside hitter Brianna Flagg.

***

Minooka's Stacy Perinar may not be a household name outside the Southwest Prairie Conference, but the Eastern Michigan recruit turned more than a few heads Saturday at the Lyons tournament.

Minooka (24-4) finished fifth after strong performances against Lake Zurich and New Trier.

"I feel like throughout conference, we play the same teams over and over again and this gives us a chance to see what we have to do going into regionals," she said. "It's not going to be like the conference games where we know what they're going to do.

"The Lyons tournament shows that there are other teams that are working hard and that are better than us," Perinar added. "Playing these teams is preparing us for regionals, and it's always fun to play tough competition.

"The tougher the competition, the more intense the game is and the more everyone picks up. It's exciting playing teams that you usually don't see. It's just fun."

***

Barrington senior outside hitter Olivia Szuszkiewicz hopes the Fillies' return to the Mid-Suburban League conference championship sets an example for the program's younger players to emulate.

"I just want this program to see that as you get up higher in volleyball and get better, and you come together and work as a team, it really does all come together in the end," she said. "Working hard plus doing your best equals success. That's just how it works."

***

The GCAC recently announced its all-conference selections. Players named were:

Red Division - Jackie Aird, Ryann Arundel, Esme Condon, Lauren Grady, Mary Kate Mixan, Brigid Powell, Lizzy Scanlon (Mother McAuley); Sophia Dodd, Carmille Evans, Mary Grassano, Courtney Somerville (St. Ignatius); and Julie Dombai, Megan French, Meghan Tomaszewski (Regina).

Also, Kristi Gierman, Allyson Murray (Queen of Peace); Christine Janci, Alexa Krogstad, Molly Powers (Resurrection); Jacqueline Kibir-Evans, Mikayla Leyden (Trinity); and Kaitlin Mohr and Anna Pontarelli (Loyola).

White Division - Mykel Adams (Seton); Natalie Arredia, Arianna Hayden, Julianna Townsend, Bridget White* (De La Salle); Melissa Carrillo (St. Francis de Sales); Tania Jarmola, Marta Kyrvdyk, Isabella Reilly (Gordon Tech); Juliana Pater (Maria); and Melissa Quintana and Rebecca Watson (St. Joseph).

Blue Division - Claire Chester, Eman Hamdan, Kelly Mercurio (St. Scholastica); Alexis Genge, Mary Fran Usenik (St. Benedict); Tania Lopez (Josephinum); Nina Mendoza (Notre Dame); and Itzayana Perez (Holy Trinity).

JCA, Benet have sights set on bigger things

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Sophia Dodd (pictured right) and the 24-6 St. Ignatius Wolfpack are gearing up for the GCAC conference tournament this week.


Two of the top teams in the state - Joliet Catholic and Benet - could both get shut out of the East Suburban Catholic Conference title, but neither team's coach is putting too much stock in the league race.

"(Benet coach Baker) Brad and I were talking about it," Joliet Catholic coach Chris Scheibe said. "We think it's harder to win our conference than to win a state championship.

"Last year, I didn't win conference but we took second in the state (losing to Breese Mater Dei in the Class 3A finals)," she added. "In 2008, I didn't win conference, he did, he finished second in state and we finished first.

"So winning the conference is a nice thing, but it's not the end-all, be-all," Scheibe said. "I'd rather win the last match of the season than to win our conference. But we still got a shot at it. We're tied with Marist and Providence with one game left with Marist. So it's still a doable situation.

Joliet Catholic (28-5), Marist (24-5) and Providence (25-8) each have one loss in conference play. Joliet Catholic and Marist meet Tuesday in Joliet, with the winner doing no worse than a tie for first. Providence can clinch no worse than a share of the conference title by beating Carmel and Nazareth this week.

Benet (30-3 overall), which lost to Marist and Providence and beat Joliet Catholic, is the only team with no chance to win the league. But Benet senior middle hitter Meghan Haggerty, who was named MVP of the Autumnfest tournament at Glenbard East over the weekend, sees the bigger picture.

"Our main goal is to win state at the end of the year," she said. "That's all that matters."

You have to like Benet's chances, if they can get to the finals. Benet is 12-0 on Saturdays and has won every tournament in which it has played - the Benet invite, the Wheaton Classic, St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup and Autumnfest at Glenbard East.

***

Montini's chance of advancing the state semifinals in Bloomington are small...this year.

But coach Steve Dowjotas likes the direction his program is heading and believes the Broncos can be a conference contender as early as next season. Montini started three sophomores and a freshman last week in its match against Chicago Christian.

"When you have three starting sophomores, just getting a year or two of varsity experience under their belts is beneficial," said Dowjotas, who has more than 30 freshmen playing volleyball this fall. "If we can continue to bring kids into the school, we're going to be awesome.

Dowjotas' biggest concern is getting his younger players used to the speed of the game at the varsity level.

"From the freshman level to the sophomore level, and from the sophomore level to the varsity level is a completely different game," he said. The speed of the game is 10 times faster from sophomore to varsity, and 100 times faster than freshmen."

Montini's youngsters are 6-foot-1 sophomore middle Joyce Balash, sophomore libero Bridget Lucas, sophomore outside Natalie Lopez and freshman outside Monica Loftus.

"Monica has grown so much, and Joyce, Bridget and Natalie have all grown tremendously just this season," Dowjotas said. "The future is bright."

***

The future is now for defending Class 2A state champion Chicago Christian, which has its eyes on a second successive state title despite a sub-.500 record.

A beefed-up schedule that includes the McAuley Preview and matches with teams like York and Lyons has prepared the Knights for whatever they are likely to encounter in the Class 2A field.

"We went three weeks in a row with matches Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the McAuley and Rich East tournaments facing York and Lyons and St. Francis and those big schools," coach James Garcia said. "The girls have been battle-tested.

"We went three against Lyons and they won state last year," he added. "We lost 25-20 in the third game, so we're right there with them. When our girls set their minds to it, when they step on the court they want to compete with anybody. They don't care who it is."

Chicago Christian's top gun is 6-1 senior Maggie Kamp, the second-leading attacker on last year's championship team. The other seniors are libero Celaine Haan and 6-1 middle Becky DeRuiter.

Sophomore setter Emily Workman, junior middle Emily Lindemulder and sophomore outside Jessica Krygsheid round out the starting six.

Chicago Christian (16-17 overall) should breeze through a sectional where the other top seeds are Ogden International, Cristo Rey Jesuit and Rickover Naval Academy. However, they could see Timothy Christian (24-3), Lisle (22-10) or Immaculate Conception (18-9) in the supersectional.

***

Benedictine University will hold a fall mini-camp for girls and boys in grades 1-8 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Sundays, November 20, December 4 and December 11 in the newly-renovated Dan and Ada Rice Center on Benedictine's Lisle campus.

The camps are designed to introduce beginners to fundamental volleyball skills, and allow more advanced campers to improve their skills through more complex drills and games.

The cost of one mini-camp is $15. The cost for kids who attend all three camps is $35.

For more information, contact Benedictine volleyball coach Jennifer Wildes at jwildes@ben.edu or (630) 829-6141.


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This is a familiar sight on Saturdays. Benet won its third tournament of the season Saturday at the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament hosted by the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora.


Benet might want to think about playing all of its matches on Saturday.

The Redwings (24-3 overall) improved to 9-0 on Saturdays by winning the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora last weekend. It was also Benet's this straight tournament championship.

So far, Benet has beaten York to win its own invitational, Hinsdale South to win the Wheaton Classic, and St. Charles East at the Mizuno Cup.

It's Monday's through Thursdays that have given Benet the most trouble. Benet entered the tournament having lost to Marist at home on Thursday after losing to Providence the previous Thursday.

"Obviously, we didn't have practice before we played (Friday in pool play), so we didn't have an opportunity to work on some things," Benet coach Brad Baker said.

"The girls came into this tournament with a certain sense of pride," he added. "They know the last week-and-a-half they haven't been playing their best, and they wanted to come out the last two days and make sure they did."

Benet won all of its matches at Mizuno in straight sets and was only seriously challenged once. Leon (Fla.) wiped out an 18-11 deficit in the second game of the semifinal and got within 22-21 before the Redwings pulled away.

"You're always going to have stretches in every match like that," Baker said. "It's how you fight through that and how quickly you can stay positive and move on that matters, and we were able to do that."

Benet will put its 9-0 record on Saturdays to the test this weekend at the Autumnfest Tournament hosted by Glenbard East. The field includes Mother McAuley, Joliet Catholic, Providence and Huntley.

***

Barrington was one of the teams that incurred Benet's wrath over the weekend. The Fillies (21-5), the eighth seed in the tournament, fell to the Redwings 25-9, 25-15 in the quarterfinals.

Looking back, the Benet match was a harbinger of bad things to come for the Fillies, who lost all three of their matches Saturday to finish eighth in the 24-team field.

"Benet is a very, very physical team, the most physical team we played all year," Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said. "Game one specifically, we just kind of played pretty timid. That's why this is a great tournament for us. We can come out and see kind of play and get past that mental block."

Ridenour saw one of the Fillies' strengths become a weakness Saturday.

"One of strengths all year has been winning the serve-pass battle," he said. "We definitely lost the serve-pass battle against Benet, and against a team that is that big and physical you have to win the serve-pass battle. We are better passing team than we showed.

"But this tournament is going to make us better regardless of the result," he added. "It's going to make us a more formidable team come the postseason, and that's right around the corner. I think playing this tournament is going to make our block and defense better and at a faster speed."

Barrington travels to Fremd Tuesday with a chance to clinch the Mid-Suburban West title outright.

***

Barrington was not the only team that ran afoul of Benet on Saturday, and a big reason for that was the play of 6-foot outside Jenna Jendryk, who had 11 kills and three blocks in the Redwings' 25-16, 25-13 victory over St. Charles East in the championship match.

"Setting Jenna is amazing," said Benet junior Hannah Kaminsky. "Any ball she hits straight down. She finds open spots, there were no players where she was hitting. She loves it, too."

Even St. Charles East coach Jenni Kull was impressed.

"No. 7 (Jendryk) played lights out," Kull said. "She had a great match."

For her part, Jendryk would just like to see her team get better and get ready for the postseason.

"We need to improve every day at practice so we're not making so many unforced errors," Jendryk said. "We need to make improvement every day."

***

Fans hoping to see Edwardsville's Sam Epenesa, a Purdue recruit and one of the best players in the state, Saturday at the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament were sorely disappointed.

Last year, coach Jami Parker was without two of her starters due to homecoming and the Tigers went 0-3 after winning their pool. This year, the Tigers were without Epenesa and senior setter McKenzie Collins.

"Both girls are up for homecoming queen," Parker said. "It shouldn't have been a problem this year, and then the football team changed its schedule on us spring of last year. There's nothing we can do. They (Epenesa and Collins) were here Friday night, but not (Saturday)."

**

St. Charles North finished second last weekend at the Schaumburg Invite, falling in the championship match to Cary Grove 25-17, 25-20. The North Stars defeated Schaumburg, Harvest Christian Academy and Bartlett to reach the semifinals where they ousted (Rockton) Hononegah to reach the finals.

Kim Juriga led the North Stars with 26 kills, 3 aces, and 5 blocks for the tournament, while Jillian Stolzenburg, Lauren Madziarczyk and Taylor Krage each had 22 kills. Jacey Bell and Stolzenburg each had 10 blocks while Emily Belz amassed 84 assists.

The North Stars improved to 16-8 by going 4-1 at the tournament.

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