By Pat Brozynski

February 2012 Archives

Just missed, coaches' favs and all-time greats

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Morgan_Tuck.jpg

Bolingbrook's Morgan Tuck joined a pretty impressive list when she was named the 2012 Sun-Times Player of the Year.

Selecting just 40 players in an area as talent-rich as the Chicago area is not easy. Many other athletes deserved mention for their efforts during the 2011-2012 season.

Here are 24 more players (in alphabetical order) who were considered for honorable mention honors during the selection process for the Chicago Sun-Times all-area team:

Diamond Beatty, 5-4, Jr., G, Tinley Park; Kennedy Cattenhead, 5-9, Jr., G, Bolingbrook; Kiera Currie, 5-11, Jr., F, Romeoville; Alyssa Dengler, 6-0, Sr., F, Trinity; and Emma Donahue, 6-3, Sr., C, Naperville Central.

Also, Cassidy Glenn, 5-11, Sr., F, Providence; Lisa Fruendt, 5-9, So., G, Batavia; Jacqui Grant, 6-3, Jr., F, Maine South; Alex Haley, 5-7, Sr., G, Libertyville; and Rachel Hinchman, 5-6, Sr., G, Geneva.

Also considered were Debra Jenkins, 5-2, Sr., G, Morgan Park; Donna Koerber, 5-11, Sr., F. St. Joseph; Jessica Laird, 5-8, Sr., G, Burlington Central; Caitlin McMahon, 6-0, Sr., F, Lincoln-Way East; and Claire Monroe, 5-5, Sr., G, West Chicago.

Also, Lena Munzer, 5-8, Jr., G.Highland Park; Jade Owen, 5-7, So., G, Fenwick; Rachel Ross, 6-3, Sr., C, Waubonsie Valley; Abby Smith, 5-7, Jr., G, Romeoville; and Faith Suggs, 5-11, Fr., G, Plainfield East.

Also, Megan Walsh, 6-1, Jr., F, Marian Catholic; Jakeisha Wells, 6-3, Sr., F, Proviso East; Gabby Williams, 6-0, Jr., F, Plainfield East; and Apiphany Woods, 5-9, Sr., F, Marshall.

***
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association recently announced its list of the top players in Class 1A and 2A. A number of Chicago-area girls were selected to the Class 2A team.

Named to the First team was Nikki Dizon (Latin).

Second team members included: Monica Hinderer (The Willows Academy); and Third Team: Keisha O'Neal (Tilden); Soly Roman (Chicago Academy); Cassidy Block (Timothy Christian); junior Melanie Ransom (Walther Lutheran); and Jackie Cardona (Aurora Central Catholic).

Named to the fourth team was Wayneshia Frazier (Holy Trinity).

***

In case you missed it, here is a list of the Sun-Times Players of the Year dating back to 1981:

2012 - Morgan Tuck, Bolingbrook
2011 - Ariel Massengale, Bolingbrook
2010 - Tricia Liston, Fenwick
2009 - Adrienne GodBold, Marshall
2008 - Sarah Boothe, Warren
2007 - Devereaux Peters, Fenwick
2006 - Amanda Thompson, Whitney Young
2005 - Deirdre Naughton, New Trier
2004 - Candace Parker, Naperville Central
2003 - Erin Lawless, Fenwick
2002 - Johanna Solverson, Lake Zurich
2001 - Cappie Pondexter, Marshall
2000 - Sarah Kustok, Sandburg
1999 - Olga Gvozdenovic, Loyola
1998 - Dawn Vana, Maine West
1997 - Natasha Pointer, Whitney Young
1996 - Tauja Catchings, Stevenson
1995 - Dominique Canty, Whitney Young
1994 - Terri Zemaitis, Downers Grove South
1993 - Kim Williams, Marshall
1992 - Robbyn Preacely, Morgan Park
1991 - Kina Brown, Washington
1990 - E.C. Hill, Whitney Young
1989 - Toni Foster, Marshall
1988 - Nancy Kennelly, Maine West
1987 - Michele Savage, Immaculate Heart of Mary
1986 - Sheryl Porter, Marshall
1985 - Shirley Joiner, Phillips
1984 - Kim McQuarter, Marshall
1983 - Marie Christian, Marshall
1982 - Jennifer Jones, Marshall
1981 - Janet Harris, Marshall

***

The Zebras of Northern Illinois (ZONI) volleyball officials' organization will be holding the 11th Whistle for a Cause Clinic from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 at Niles West High School in Skokie. Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase volleyball equipment for area high schools that lack even the most basic equipment, such as balls and nets, for their volleyball programs.

Since the initial event in 1997, the clinic has raised over $22,000 for a variety of causes related to high school athletics. In recent years, clinic proceeds have benefitted local high school volleyball programs as well as three New Orleans high schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Money has also been donated to assist families with medical issues. These have included seriously ill children of volleyball officials and coaches, high school volleyball players, other high school athletes, and the family of a volleyball player killed in the Columbine tragedy in Colorado.

In addition to money raised for purchases and equipment distributor contributions, many local high schools have donated their gently-used equipment to other schools that are in need.

The cost of the clinic is $20 for those who register before March 2. After that date, the cost is $30. Additional donations are welcome.

For more information about the clinic and to register, please visit the ZONI web site at http://www.zoni.org. Additional questions may be directed to Ed Vesely at eveselyvb@gmail.com or Nancy Nester at njn51@hotmail.com.

ZONI is a high school volleyball officials' organization in the Chicago area. Its goals include recruiting and mentoring new officials, developing officiating skills, promoting good sportsmanship and encouraging advancement in official ratings and member evaluations

"Zebras" set to stampede at Niles West

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

gallagher and rose.jpg

Katie Gallagher (left), pictured with former York teammate Caroline Rose, will play at Indiana next fall.


The Zebras of Northern Illinois (ZONI) volleyball officials' organization will be holding the 11th Whistle for a Cause Clinic from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 at Niles West High School in Skokie. Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase volleyball equipment for area high schools that lack even the most basic equipment, such as balls and nets, for their volleyball programs.

Since the initial event in 1997, the clinic has raised over $22,000 for a variety of causes related to high school athletics. In recent years, clinic proceeds have benefitted local high school volleyball programs as well as three New Orleans high schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Money has also been donated to assist families with medical issues. These have included seriously ill children of volleyball officials and coaches, high school volleyball players, other high school athletes, and the family of a volleyball player killed in the Columbine tragedy in Colorado.

In addition to money raised for purchases and equipment distributor contributions, many local high schools have donated their gently-used equipment to other schools that are in need.

The cost of the clinic is $20 for those who register before March 2. After that date, the cost is $30. Additional donations are welcome.

For more information about the clinic and to register, please visit the ZONI web site at http://www.zoni.org. Additional questions may be directed to Ed Vesely at eveselyvb@gmail.com or Nancy Nester at njn51@hotmail.com.

ZONI is a high school volleyball officials' organization in the Chicago area. Its goals include recruiting and mentoring new officials, developing officiating skills, promoting good sportsmanship and encouraging advancement in official ratings and member evaluations

***

The talent level in the city continues to get better, said Payton girls volleyball coach Joel Anderson, who led the Grizzlies to the Class 3A state tournament in 2008 and 2010.

Among the players to watch are Melanie Miller of Kenwood, Paige Pullen at Whitney Young, Morgan Barnes at Payton and Odessa Cody from Lane Tech.

"Miller is a 6-foot middle who touches 10-foot-3," Anderson said. "(Sports Performance) Cheryl Butler told me in December that she was going to recruit her from my club (Powerhouse), but that's OK because I was going to take (Lauren) Carlini from her. So it's an even trade.

"Pullen at Whitney Young is developing really well," he added. "She was a starting middle blocker for them this year. They had a nice season. Barnes is doing a nice job out of Walter Payton outside. Cody is developing really well. She's a middle/outside hitter. She's a strong, strong kid."

But Anderson added that the real talent in city is in the eighth grade class.

"That eighth grade class is very talented," he said. "There are probably 20-24 kids throughout the city that I can see who can be very good. I'm excited to see where they land high-school wise, if they go private or Catholic school, because there'll be some names to come out of that group."

The high school admission test scores of that eighth grade group should be issued in a few weeks, which will go a long way in determining where those young players go.

"I'm hoping to get one," he said.

Payton has some of the toughest admissions standards in the city.

***

The phone rang at the Gallagher household in Elmhurst just days before the official signing period began. It was former York star Katie Gallagher's volleyball club, 1st Alliance. The University of Indiana was looking for a setter after learning that 2010-2011recruit Colleen Smith of Cary-Grove would miss the 2012 season after being diagnosed with Wegener's granulomatosis, a rare autoimmune disease that afflicts only one in 100,000 people.

Gallagher, who originally intended to play at Iowa State, could not pass up the chance to play in the nation's elite volleyball conference.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity," she said. "That's the reason I was so attracted to it, because I think have a great opportunity to work really hard and possibly play there as a freshman. I love the school, it had good vibes, the coaches are great...I'm really excited.

"I have a lot of respect for Colleen," Gallagher added. "I don't know her personally, but I've heard great things about her, that she is such a trooper and that she's the heart of their team. I hope the best for her."

Gallagher admitted it was difficult to inform Iowa State of her decision.

"Oh, absolutely it was," she said. "I have a ton of respect for Iowa State and the coaches there and all the girls. It wasn't a matter of whether Iowa State wasn't good enough. It was just that I felt better about Indiana and I think I have better opportunities at Indiana."

Gallagher joins a recruiting class that includes another Chicago Sun-Times all-area selection, Amelia Anderson from Crystal Lake Central.

Prepvolleyball.com names POY nominees

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Thumbnail image for viliunas.jpg

Illinois-bound setter Alexis Viliunas was among five players from Illinois nominated for Prepvolleyball.com's "National Player of the Year" award.


Prepvolleyball.com recently named its "National Player of the Year." Fifty-one seniors were finalists for the award, which recognizes a player who had a massive impact on her high school team, was the best on her team at her position and one of the top players in her state.

Five players from Illinois were among the 51 finalists, including Edwardsville's Sam Epenesa, Marian Central's Abby Gilleland, Benet's Meghan Haggerty, St. Charles East's Meghan Niski and Alexis Viliunas from Lyons.

Epenesa, a 6-foot outside hitter headed to Purdue, led the 34-6 Tigers to the Class 4A supersectional with 346 kills, 192 digs, 66 aces and 63 blocks. She was a repeat first team all-state pick by the Champaign News-Gazette and All-Metro Player of the Year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ohio University recruit Gilleland led Marian Central to the Class 3A final in 2011. An all-area Sun-Times choice, she recorded 816 assists, 185 digs, 78 blocks and 35 aces for the Hurricanes. She also was MVP of the 17 Open tournament when Sky High won AAU Nationals last summer.

The Wisconsin-bound Haggerty led Redwings to the Class 4A state title, the school's first although they had come close each of the previous three years. A Sun-Times all-area selection, Haggerty finished the year with 259 kills, 80 blocks and 26 aces.

A four-year starter and first team all-area choice by the Sun-Times who is signed with James Madison, Niski led the 35-7 Saints to a third-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament with 418 kills, 207 digs, 29 aces and 48 blocks.

The Sun-Times Player of the Year, Viliunas led Lyons to a state title in 2010 and the Class 4A supersectional in 2011. She had 644 assists, 320 kills, 300 digs, 54 aces and 43 blocks and was named Illinois' Gatorade Player of the Year.

***

Prepvolleyball.com also recently named its "Frosh 59," the top 59 freshmen in the country. Only two players from Illinois cracked the top 59, although eight others including a few Chicago area selections were name honorable mention.

The two Illinois players to make the "Frosh 59" were Courtney Pence, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter from Springfield, and 5-11 outside hitter Iman McGary of Keith Country Day School in Rockford.

Pence was a do-it-all player for the 21-11 Senators in 2011. She led Springfield with 391 kills, 294 digs and 34 aces. A first-team all-conference selection, McGary played just 52 games in 2011, but still compiled 210 kills, 100 digs and 58 aces.

Among those listed as "honorable mention" were St. Francis 6-1 middle Mary Boken, Lyons 5-10 outside hitter Hannah Juley, Stagg's 5-11 middle blocker Lexi Mantas, 5-11 outside Carly Nolan of Crystal Lake South, defensive specialist Toni Saracco of Lyons and 6-2 outside Julia Saunders of Nazareth.

***

Sports Performance's annual President's Day tournament is this weekend, February 18-20, and features 272 teams playing at three sites including the Great Lakes Center, Schaumburg Convention Center and Lake County Expo Center.

For schedule information, go to:
https://advancedeventsystems.com/VolleyballResults/Home.aspx?e=PTAwMDAwMDE2MTA90

***

The Mid-Suburban League introduced its all-conference girls basketball team last Wednesday at halftime of the championship game between Fremd and Rolling Meadows. Not surprisingly, the two teams dominated the selections.

Named to the all-conference team from West Division winner Fremd were freshman guard Haley Gorecki, junior guard Ashley McConnell and senior guard Jessi Wiedemann. Representing Rolling Meadows were sophomores Alexis Glasgow, Jackie Kemph and Jenny Vliet, and senior Ann Marie Lynch.

McConnell and Kemph were named their respective division's player of the year.

Also named to the all-conference team were senior Nicole Collins (Barrington), junior Bailey North (Buffalo Grove), senior Natalie Kutrumanes (Conant), junior Diamond Boyd (Elk Grove), junior Destinee Young (Hoffman Estates), junior Nia Pappas (Palatine) and senior Katelyn Mayer (Palatine).

Also, senior Maura Benson (Prospect), freshman Taylor Will (Prospect), junior Amanda Kelly (Schaumburg), senior Alyssa Saklak (Schaumburg), freshman Deanna Kuzmanic (Wheeling) and senior Kellie Kuzmanic (Wheeling).

Young, Morgan Park look back, forward

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Last Saturday's Windy City championship game between No. 1 Young and sometimes-ranked Morgan Park probably surprised a lot of people.

But not Young's Alexis Lloyd.

"We knew what we were looking at," she said. "They played great. Maybe if we could have limited our turnovers and made more shots and not having missed layups, we probably could have been further ahead. But it was a great game. It's always great playing against them."

There are also a lot of emotions anytime Young and Morgan Park meet.

"A lot of emotions go on anytime we play each other," Young coach Corry Irvin said. "It's always going to be a close game. It was good for us to play a good game so we can see what we can work on in practice this week.

"I think if it wouldn't have been a close game, we really wouldn't know what to work on," the coach added. "So it was good for us. We played a lot of games during this tournament. It will be good to get back in the gym and practice."

Morgan Park might want to practice free throws ahead of next week's Class 3A tournament. The Mustangs finished 9 of 17 from the foul line Saturday compared to 22 of 28 for the Dolphins. The Mustangs were just 3 of 10 in the first half, while Young connected on 8 of its 10 attempts.

"We practice free throws every day, that's one of our main focuses in practice is free throws," Young's Janee Thompson said. "We knew they were going to come out tough and rough, so we knew that once we got into the bonus we were going to have to make free throws.

"It was easy with the amount of free throws we shoot every day in practice," she added. "It was a big game. They played hard, we played hard. I think the better team came out today."

But the future looks awfully bright at Morgan Park. The Mustangs started two freshmen and a sophomore, and the school's sophomore team was the No. 1 seed heading into the city's sophomore tournament.

A player to watch for the next two years is 5-7 sophomore Shami Goodman, who scored 19 points to lead the Mustangs Saturday.

"I knew I had to step up when Gabrielle (Richmond) went down with an injury," said Goodman, who likes the Mustangs' chance in next week's Class 3A tournament. "I think we're going to go real far this year."

If not this year, certainly next.

"I knew a lot of people gave up on us early because we lost our inside presence," Morgan Park coach TJ Johnson said. "But our two freshmen - Tammy Russell and Marsha Howard - did a great job, and Shami's only a sophomore.

"I think we're going to be better next year than we are this year," he added. "But right now, we're looking forward to state. We have a very good chance. We're in a great sectional. I'm looking forward to that. We ain't through yet."

Neither is Young.

"Now we have to get ready for state," Lloyd said. "We know nothing is going to come easy. We have to prepare for whatever happens next."

***

At last report, Montini is still looking for one girls basketball team to add to the field of its 2012 Christmas tournament. Teams looking for a Christmas tournament next year should contact Jason Nichols at (630) 627-6930 or jnichols@montini.org.

***

The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association will hold its Winter Coaches Clinic on Saturday, February 25. The clinic will be held at Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.

Speakers include: Bill Gleason of St Ambrose, 2011 NAIA Men's Finalist, Blocking-"Building a Wall;" and Pete Hanson of Ohio State, 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Champions, "Championship Drills From A Championship Coach."

Also, Pete Waite of the University of Wisconsin, "Get Into the Swing of Things;"
and Kevin Hambly, University of Illinois Women's Coach, 2011 NCAA Finalist and 2011 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year, "Charting for Champions."

Register at http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=ihsvca.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.