Meghan Haggerty (left) and Jenna Jendryk helped lead Benet to an Illinois Class 4A state championship and a No. 11 national ranking in the final Prepvolleyball.com Century Club list of the country's top 1,480 teams.
Prepvolleyball.com recently released its list of the top 1,480 teams in the country, although the rankings from 101-1,480 are "largely ceremonial, designed to recognize teams for their outstanding seasons rather than meticulously determine their place in the national pecking order," according to Prepvolleyball.com guru John Tawa.
The list is headlined by Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), Prepvolleyball.com's 2011 national champions which finished 50-0 and its first-ever winners from the state of Texas.
Seventeen teams from Illinois cracked the top 200, including Class 4A state titlist Benet, which was ranked No. 41 in the pre-season and finished 11th in the final rankings. Class 4A runner-up Cary-Grove finished 44th.
The rest of the teams from Illinois breaking into the top 200 are: 48. Breese Mater Dei; 50. St. Charles East; 53. Marist; 62. St. Francis; 66. York; 67. Edwardsville; 69. Joliet Catholic; 70. Mother McAuley; 120. Lyons; and 121. Sandburg.
Also, 130. Huntley; 131. Marian Central; 185. Whitney Young; 198. Barrington; and 200. Providence.
Naperville North's 6-foot-7 senior outside hitter Spencer Sauter led his club team, Ultimate 18 Gold, to the title of the Palos Points Series last weekend. The tournament ran three weeks and Sauter was named the tournament MVP.
Sauter is being recruited by Harvard, New York University, University of California-San Diego and a few other schools.
The younger brother of former Naperville North standout Sidney Sauter missed a large part of his junior year due to injury. However, the Huskies lost only one match with Sauter in the lineup - the state championship match.
A player to watch this spring is Oswego's middle hitter Freddy Miller.
Miller was one of five athletes from Illinois selected to the USA Volleyball Indoor High Performance Boys' Youth A2 roster. The Youth A2 program consists of 31 top athletes born in 1998 or 1999 and selected from any of the 16 USAV Boys' High Performance tryouts held in 2011.
Miller was joined on the squad by Maine South libero Scotty Adamczyk, Edwardsville's opposite Eric Fitterer, and setter Zack Parik and middle blocker Jonathan Tulacka from Downers Grove North.
"Miller rocks the ball and hit .522 against Sports Performance 18 Mizuno a couple weekends ago," said West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris.
The toughest conference in the state for girls basketball?
How about the Central Suburban South?
Mane South, New Trier, Glenbrook South and Niles West are among the top 20 teams in the Chicago area, and Evanston, with the addition of 6-foot-1 senior Sinclair Cunningham from Whitney Young, is a team with which to contend.
"It's ridiculous," Glenbrook South coach Steve Weissenstein said. "There are so many talented teams. It's fun in the fact that every game is important. You have to come to play. If you don't come to play, you're going to lose because the other team is really good."
Among the top players in the conference are Niles West's Jewel Loyd, a Notre Dame recruit, and Northwestern-bound Maggie Lyon of New Trier.
Don't be surprised to see Fremd awaiting the winner of the New Trier sectional at the Stevenson supersectional later this season. Fremd, which starts only one senior, 6-1 wing/post Jessi Wiedemann, is 9-1 after losing at Trinity on Monday.
"I think one thing we're working on is we're defending better than we were earlier in the year," Fremd coach Dave Yates said. "I like that we're balanced. We have a lot of different kids, three kids leading us in scoring, not one kid.
"Our unsung kids are our post kids," he added. "They're not very tall, but they get their hands on a lot of balls and play real good defense. I'm pleased with what I've seen so far.
"We've had some hiccups here and there, but we play a lot of young kids who are just beginning to understand what it takes to succeed at the varsity level."
Fremd is one of the top seeds at the prestigious Dundee-Crown tournament next week. Players to keep an eye on include freshman guard Haley Gorecki and junior sharpshooter Ashley McConnell.
Montini junior Malayna Johnson, a 6-foot-4 center, verbally committed to play basketball at Wisconsin earlier this week. Malayna is the younger sister of Connecticut sophomore Michala Johnson.