By Pat Brozynski

Viliunas gets Gatorade nod...and a little girls hoops

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Lyons' Alexis Viliunas, the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, was recently named the Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year.


Lyons' Alexis Viliunas, the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, has been named the 2011-12 Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year. Viliunas is the first Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Lyons.

The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence and high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the court. As the Illinois awardee, Viliunas qualifies as a finalist for the Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award announced in December.

The 6-foot-1 senior setter/outside hitter led the Lions (30-9) to the Class 4A supersectional this past season. She recorded 644 assists, 320 kills, 300 digs, 54 service aces and 43 blocks while posting a kill percentage of .499. Viliunas set a school record for career assists with 2,202.

Viliunas has maintained a 4.44 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation and Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides blankets for needy children.

"Alexis Viliunas leads not only with her skill but also with her poise and confidence," Lyons coach Joann Pyritz said. "She is knowledgeable about the game and highly skilled, but more importantly she brings out the best in her teammates."

Viliunas has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Illinois beginning in the fall of 2012.

Viliunas joins recent Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Players of the Year Kelly Lamberti (2010-11) of Cary-Grove, Joliet Catholic's Annemarie Hickey (2009-10) and Chatham Glenwood's Hannah Werth (2008-09).

***

Benet's 6-foot-3 middle hitter Gabby Pethokoukis signed her letter of intent to play at Villanova on December 9, head coach Josh Steinbach announced.

Pethokoukis, from Western Springs, was named one of Prepvolleyball.com's 250 Senior Aces in 2011 and was a member of the Class 4A state championship team in 2011. She put away the state championship point for the Redwings.

Benet was ranked No. 8 in the country by ESPN and No. 12 by Prepvolleyball.com. She played club last season for 1st Alliance 17 Silver and finished 10th in the country at the USA Volleyball Girls Junior High National Championship in 2011.

"Gabby is a physical presence in the gym, and at 6-4 she immediately will be a force at the net." Steinbach said. "She has a great feel for blocking and a developing offensive game that I think will make her a top-notch middle blocker in our league.

"Her determination to improve is already showing as she has made big jumps in skills from year to year in her high school career," he added. "I'm looking forward to her making even bigger leaps after she arrives in the fall."

Gabby is not the only Pethokoukis is the news, however. Little sister Sam, a 6-foot-1 sophomore who played at Fenwick last season, will be playing for the 16 Silver team at 1st Alliance during the club season.

***

Prepvolleyball.com is compiling a list of the top 1,000 high school teams in the country. Here is a list of the top 50 teams in Illinois that Prepvolleyball.com will consider for inclusion. Feel free to discuss:

1. Benet 39-3
2. Cary-Grove 37-5
3. St. Charles East 35-7
4. Marist 34-8
5. Edwardsville
6. York 32-4
7. Breese Mater Dei 39-3
8. St. Francis 35-7
9. Joliet Catholic 32-7
10. Mother McAuley 31-6
11. Lyons 31-9
12. Sandburg 32-7
13. Huntley 32-8
14. (Chicago) Whitney Young 33-5
15. Barrington 28-8
16. Providence 27-9
17. Quincy 36-2
18. Glenbard West 31-6
19. Marian Central 35-7
20. Marian Catholic 24-18
21. Stevenson 30-9
22. Crystal Lake Central 32-7
23. Lake Zurich 26-12
24. Lincoln-Way Central 26-12
25. New Trier 30-8
26. (Chicago) Payton 25-10
27. Lake Forest 32-5
28. Lincoln-Way East 29-8
29. St. Ignatius 25-7
30. Minooka 29-5
31. Hinsdale South 27-10
32. Hersey 31-6
33. Naperville North 29-8
34. Rosary 24-13
35. Hinsdale Central 21-16
36. Libertyville 27-10
37. West Chicago 26-11
38. Downers Grove North 22-15
39. Geneva 20-10
40. (Chicago) DeLaSalle 23-12
41. Quincy Notre Dame 28-9
42. Chicago Christian 23-19
43. Timothy Christian 34-4
44. West Aurora 24-13
45. Naperville Central 21-15
46. Plainfield Central
47. Belleville West
48. Lockport 26-12
49. Immaculate Conception 25-11
50. Dakota 36-1

***

First-round pairings for the Montini Christmas Girls Basketball Tournament have been announced. Play begins at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27 and concludes at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, December 30.

First-round match-ups on December 27 are: St. Joseph vs. Oak Park, 8:00 a.m.; Bogan vs. Marian Catholic, 9:30 a.m.; Westinghouse vs. Montini, 11:00 a.m.; Guerin (Ind.) vs. Hinsdale South, 12:30 p.m.; Oak Park vs. Marian Catholic, 3:30 p.m.; Bogan vs. St. Joseph, 5:00 p.m., Montini vs. Hinsdale South, 6:30 p.m.; and Westinghouse vs. Guerin, 8:00 p.m.

***

First-round pairings for the Hillcrest Holiday Classic Girls Basketball Tournament have been announced. Play begins at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27 and concludes at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 29.

First-round match-ups on December 27 are: Tinley Park vs. Rich Central, 9:00 a.m.; Lockport vs. T.F. North, 9:00 a.m.; St. Ignatius vs. Stagg, 10:30 a.m.; Hillcrest vs. Simeon, 10:30 a.m.; Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Thornton, 12:00 p.m.; Rich South vs. Harlan, 12:00 p.m.; Sandburg vs. Oak Forest, 1:30 p.m.; and Marist vs. Thornwood, 1:30 p.m.

First-round winners and losers play again on December 27 at 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

***

First-round pairings for the Wheaton North Girls Christmas Basketball Tournament have been announced. Play begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 26 and concludes at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 29.

First-round match-ups on December 26 are: Hersey vs. Willowbrook, 9:00 a.m.; Glenbard South vs. West Aurora, 10:30 a.m.; Glenbard North vs. Jacobs, 12:00 p.m.; Glenbrook South vs. Downers Grove North, 1:30 p.m.; Lyons vs. Elgin, 3:00 p.m.; Elk Grove vs. Hinsdale Central, 4:30 p.m.; St. Charles East vs. Wheaton North, 6:00 p.m.; and Waubonsie Valley vs. Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m.

***

First-round pairings for the 29th Annual Dundee-Crown Charger Classic Girls Basketball Tournament have been announced. Play begins at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 26 and concludes at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 29.

First-round match-ups on December 26 are: Fremd vs. Johnsburg, 10:00 a.m.; Resurrection vs. Rockton Hononegah, 11:30 a.m.; Regina vs. New Trier, 1:00 p.m.; Buffalo Grove vs. Naperville Central, 2:30 p.m.; Prospect vs. Maine West, 4:00 p.m.; St. Charles North vs. Fenwick, 5:30 p.m.; Mother McAuley vs. Evanston, 7:00 p.m.; and Bartlett vs. Dundee-Crown, 8:30 p.m.

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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on December 14, 2011 7:47 PM.

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