By Pat Brozynski

May 2012 Archives

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Fans won't have the opportunity to watch one of the most exciting players in the state -- Glenbard West's Ian lawson -- after the Toppers were knocked out of the state tournament by Benet in the brutal WW South sectional.


Wheaton Warrenville South survived the sectional from hades Tuesday when it defeated Glenbard East 25-19, 25-17, but you can't blame Glenbard East coach Marci Maier for feeling that the teams' fifth meeting of the year occurred much too soon.

"Unfortunately, we had to meet them here as opposed to playing them in the state championship game or something like that," she said. "It would have been much nicer. We had been playing extremely well. I wish we could have played a little better. But..."

Glenbard East (32-7) lost to WW South five times, but that is also testament to how good the Rams were this year. In addition to their two DuPage Valley Conference meetings, the teams also met in the finals of the Downers Grove South tournament and the WW South sectional.

Glenbard East's only other two losses this season were to Downers Grove South at their own Springfest tournament (after the Rams defeated Glenbard West in the previous match) and Naperville North in DVC play.

In addition to WW South, Glenbard East played two other teams this year that won sectional titles - Barrington and Payton - and beat them both. They also beat sectional finalist Glenbrook South and sectional semifinalists Downers Grove North and Buffalo Grove.

***

It was a banner year for Benet's volleyball teams this season. The girls won the Class 4A state title, and the boys eliminated Naperville North and Glenbard West before falling to Glenbard East in the sectional semifinals at Wheaton Warrenville South.

Head coach Amy Van Eekeren was disappointed that her team was unable to muster much an offense against Glenbard East, but said that one loss should not overshadow what the team accomplished throughout the season.

"I don't know if it was nerves or not being mentally prepared, I don't know," she said. "But I am really proud of them. This was a team full of seniors who have wanted this for a long time and they've been fighting for it all.

"I'm proud of how hard they played all season," Van Eekeren added. "This doesn't show the success we've had all season."

Benet was led by 6-foot-5 outside hitter Bobby Wehrli, a Sun-Times all-area selection, outside hitter Luke Ladowski and junior setter Pat Dougherty.

***

Several all-area players were victimized by the IHSA's "geography-first" mentality and will miss the state tournament this weekend. One of them is Glenbard West's 6-foot-7 Ian Lawson, who could very well go down as the best player in school history.

"Ian was an impact player, a playmaker, our go-to guy and one of the greatest players to go through Glenbard West," coach Christine Giunta-Mayer said. "One of Ian's greatest attributes to the sport is his love for the game and his competitive nature. Lawson is a true competitor. He knows how to win.

"He became a threat all over the court and his ability to 'wear teams out' worked to his advantage," she added. "He continued to improve every day and has really set the bar high for outside hitters at our school in the future."

Another all-area player sidelined by the sectional disparity prevalent in boys volleyball is Naperville North's Spencer Sauter, who is likely to receive much better treatment from the NCAA when he attends Penn State next year.

"Spencer will be leaving Naperville North as the most well-rounded, six-rotation player this program has ever had," coach Nate Bornancin said. "His work ethic and drive to improve both physically and mentally will provide Penn State with a dynamic option for the next four years."

***

The future looks much brighter than the immediate past at Hinsdale South, where junior Robbie Mead and sophomores Dylan Sarocco and Shaun Dulleck should return for head coach Billson Rasavongxay.

"We have a great core of kids coming back," Rasavongxay said. "We started two sophomores - a setter and an outside hitter - which are pretty big positions for us. Hopefully. they will get bigger and better during the off-season and will want to come back even hungrier next year."

Willowbrook coach Ryan Bazon won't be overlooking the Hornets next season.

"The upside for them is unbelievable," he said. "They are one of those teams that played us really well both times we played them. Both matches went three, and we were lucky to go ahead and pull them out."

***

Six-foot-1 outside hitter and former Geneva star Lauren Wicinski has gained her release from Northern Illinois and will play for Michigan State in the fall. Wicinski was the first two-time All-American in Mid-American Conference history.

As a sophomore, Wicinski led the nation in points (6.18) and kills (5.34) per set, and was third in aces (0.57). She reached 1,000 kills in 54 matches at Northern Illinois, the fastest in MAC history, and posted 33 career double-doubles.

***

Karen Whitehouse has been named the new girls volleyball coach at Huntley. Whitehouse, a former standout at Eastern Illinois, compiled a 138-62 record and four regional titles in six years at Hampshire including a second place Class 2A finish in 2007 behind Amy and Kara Wehrs.

Elsewhere, former Rosary and Minnesota star Rachel Hartmann is taking over at her alma Mater succeeding Lisa Kasper, and Hersey graduate Kelly Moran is assuming the reins at Hinsdale Central, where Sheralynn Kellough stepped down after giving birth to twins in November.

Can WW South win mythical national title?

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St. Francis sophomore Jeff Jendryk, brother of former Benet stars Jessica and Jenna Jendryk.


Can Wheaton Warrenville South win the mythical national championship?

WW South (35-0) was ranked No. 2 in the 2012 Powerade Fab 50 Boys' Volleyball Rankings behind (Los Angeles) Loyola in Week 9 of the rankings, compiled by a panel of ESPN high school writers. That was before Loyola lost to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa on Saturday.

Mira Costa (32-4) won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys volleyball championship by outlasting Loyola, 25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 15-12, at Cypress College.

The third-seeded Mustangs (32-4) took a 14-10 lead in the decisive fifth set, but the top-seeded Cubs fought off two match points before a net serve ignited a wild celebration by Mira Costa fans, who stormed the court.

It was the Mustangs' seventh section title and first since 2008. Loyola has won 11 CIF crowns.

Three other Illinois teams are ranked in the top 50, including No. 11 Glenbrook North. No. 12 Lincoln-Way East and No. 31 Glenbard East.

***

Maine East (21-14) is one of the surprise teams of the 2012 season. The Blue Demons finished second at Saturday's Hawk Invitational hosted by Maine South, defeating Hersey in a pool crossover match before falling to the host 25-22, 25-23 in the title match.

"Yeah I'm pleased, no doubt about it coach," said 19-year Maine East coach Jon Kulesza. "When we reflect on this, we'll feel really good about ourselves. Right now, we don't feel real good. We feel like we should have forced Game 3.

"But for our guys to get 21 wins, they feel good about it," he added. "It was one of our goals for the season to reach. That is a positive. We played good competition. Our guys are battlers. We hope we can get Hersey again in the regional Tuesday.

"The winner of that match will play Glenbrook South," Kulesza said. "We hope for that opportunity."

Maine East is led by the setter Jon Coldea and libero David Coldea, outside hitters Artur Theil and Angel Mandrazhiev, and middle hitter Adam Bioniarz.

***

Barrington volleyball coach Rob Ridenour achieved a rare double Wednesday when the Broncos defeated Buffalo Grove 25-18, 25-17 to win the Mid-Suburban League boys championship. It was the second volleyball title this school year for Ridenour, who guided Barrington's girls to the MSL title in the fall.

***

Taylor Ganzer, Barrington's 6-1 senior setter who distributed 27 to lead No. 8 Barrington (28-6) to its first Mid-Suburban League championship since 2005, hopes to erase the memory of last year's regional championship loss to Libertyville.

The Broncos are seeded first at their own sectional, where they would likely face Buffalo Grove in a sectional on Friday.

"It's a morale boost most of all," he said. "This should keep our confidence up going into the postseason after making not so good of a run last year. Hopefully, we'll get back on track after this win. Last year was not good, not good."

***

There is another Jendryk playing volleyball.

Six-foot-6 sophomore Jeff Jendryk, the younger brother of former Benet standouts Jessica (Illinois) and Jenna (Virginia Tech), led St. Francis (23-12) past Lyons last week, 26-24, 22-25, 25-18, with eight kills.

***

Buffalo Grove (23-12) has been one of the more unpredictable teams of the 2012 season. The Bison defeated a very good Naperville North team in tournament play at the Lincoln-Way East tournament, and won the MSL East title over Elk Grove.

But the Bison have also lost to Prospect in MSL East play and committed 19 unforced errors in the MSL title game against Barrington.

"We keep statistics for both team and Barrington didn't make a single hitting error," said Buffalo Grove coach Matt Aiello. "They only errors thy had were a few (10) service errors and we had a total of 19 errors, eight hitting errors in Game 1 and 11 unforced errors in Game 2.

"That's a myriad of things," he added. "Maybe a missed serve here, a net violation there. They had none. They weren't in the net all night. You have to tip your hat on a night like this."

Buffalo Grove is seeded fourth at the Barrington sectional and could get another shot at the hosts in the sectional semifinals,

"My guys will go into the gym and we'll be real excited, because they're not going to go errorless and were not going to make 20 errors again," Aiello said. "Hopefully, we'll get a chance to come back to the same gym (the Barrington sectional) and take them on again."

"It's about the experience...the gym, the atmosphere, a little bit more pressure," he added. "We'll be ready. We're excited. We'll be ready."

***

The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association first Boys All-Star Game will be held Monday, June 4 at Brother Rice.

Coaches can nominate players for the game beginning this week. Coaches must be members of the IHSVCA to nominate players. For more information, contact Br. Paul Ickes, CFC, at Brother Rice High School.

***

The Great Lakes Volleyball Center, which currently features eight courts and 61,000 square feet at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive in Aurora, is building a Youth Volleyball Academy that will add four additional courts and 23,000 square feet to its current structure.

The "Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy" will offer multiple programs to both boys and girls from grades K-7 starting in September 2012.

The Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy will focus on developing individual skills that are age appropriate and also introduce young athletes to the overall technical and tactical components of the sport of Volleyball.

For more information about the Youth Volleyball Academy, please contact Rick Butler or Cheryl Butler at (630) 898-6400 or email Rick@greatlakescenter.com or Cheryl@greatlakescenter.com.

Brother Rice (21-12) had won eight in a row behind sophomore outside hitter Mitch Weiler, junior middle Ryan Paull and outside hitter Joe Pochinskas before running into Wheaton Warrenville South in the semifinals of the Richards tournament Saturday.

The Tigers snapped the Crusaders' win streak, 25-10, 25-18, to advance to the finals against Richards. Brother Rice bounced back to defeat Lyons 25-22, 25-22 for third place. But the semifinal loss was still on Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes' mind.

"Thankfully, we have three more weeks to get ready for state," he said. "(WW South is) pretty amazing. The same thing happened to us at their place (Tiger Classic). We came out slow, then we were able to play with them a little. It was kind of a carbon copy of a few weeks ago.

"They have no obvious weakness," he said. "You just have to grit it out. We showed a few sparks. But they can turn plays that look like they're going nowhere into kills. They're pretty special."

Brother Rice is seeded fifth at the Lincoln-Way East sectional and would host No. 4 Marist for the regional title at 7:00 p.m. on May 23. The winner would get top-seeded Lincoln-Way North at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 in a sectional semifinal.

"We're getting better," Ickes said. "They've really come together. We found the right combinations. They've done a lot of things right the last three weeks. This is great because now we have a goal for the final three weeks of the season."

***

Wheaton Warrenville South's Thomas Jaeschke was named the MVP of the Richards tournament last weekend.

Joining Jaeschke on the all-tournament team were: Matt Callaway, Wheaton Warrenville South; Nick Costa, Richards; Jeremy Norton, Richards; Zack Parik, Downers Grove North; and Kevin McMahon, Lyons.

Also, Nick Timreck, Downers Grove South; Tyler Smith, Warren; Mitch Weiler, Brother Rice; Peter Ryckbosch, St. Ignatius; Will Ruiz, Reavis; John Johnson, St. Rita; and Pablo Lopez, Morton.

***

The Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Association first Boys All-Star Game will be held Monday, June 4 at Brother Rice.

Coaches can nominate players for the game beginning this week. Coaches must be members of the IHSVCA to nominate players. For more information, contact Br. Paul Ickes, CFC, at Brother Rice High School.

***

Wheaton Warrenville South's victory over the hosts in the finals of the Richards tournament Saturday was career win No. 478 for Bill Schreier as boys head coach.

***

The Great Lakes Volleyball Center, which currently features eight courts and 61,000 square feet at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive in Aurora, is building a Youth Volleyball Academy that will add four additional courts and 23,000 square feet to its current structure.

The "Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy" will offer multiple programs to both boys and girls from grades K-7 starting in September 2012.

The Great Lakes Center Youth Development Academy will focus on developing individual skills that are age appropriate and also introduce young athletes to the overall technical and tactical components of the sport of Volleyball.

A wide variety of programs will be available including single day clinics, 6-8 week short season programs, regional programs with no travel and also full season competitive programs.

The Great Lakes Center is home to the Sports Performance Volleyball Club (est. 1981), winner of 68 age group national championships. Sports Performance has sent more than 600 girls and boys on to play collegiate volleyball.

For more information about the Youth Volleyball Academy, please contact Rick Butler or Cheryl Butler at (630) 898-6400 or email Rick@greatlakescenter.com or Cheryl@greatlakescenter.com.


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Naperville's Nolan Albrecht (pictured above) will transfer to play volleyball at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.


How deep is your field?

New Trier finished fifth at the Lincoln-Way East tournament last Saturday. The Trevians are seeded fourth at the Glenbrook North sectional.

Lake Park finished seventh at Lincoln-Way East. The Lancers are the No. 2 seed at the Elgin sectional.

Naperville North finished fourth at Lincoln-Way East, beating New Trier for the second time in three weeks. The Huskies (20-10) are the No. 9 seed at the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional.

Tolis Koskinaris, whose West Aurora team is seeded 11th at WW South, is flabbergasted by the depth of the WW South sectional, which would have been the most imbalanced sectional in the state even before the IHSA decided to ship Lyons and Glenbard West there.

"Wow," he said. "Take WW South aside, and any of the teams seeded 2-14 can make a run at this. This is crazy. But it should make for some good matches."

***

Familiarity breeds respect.

Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way North met for the second time this season in the finals of East's tournament Saturday, and will meet a third time this season Thursday in Frankfort. The teams could potentially meet for a fourth time in the sectional final at Lincoln-Way East.

East coach Kris Fiore said the difference between the two teams is so slight, something as simple as one player having a bad day could be the difference.

"At this point, I think we know so much about each other because all the guys play against each other," he said. "They know the tendencies. It's truly just who's going to make plays and if somebody on the court has an off night.

"The teams are so evenly matched, that can turn the tide of the whole match," Fiore said.

***

Congratulations Coach Cooper.

The host team's victory Friday over Notre Dame in pool play at the Glenbrook North invitational had special significance for Spartans' coach Chris Cooper. It marked Cooper's 300th win as boys coach at the school since taking over the program during the 2002-2003 season.

***

WW South coach Bill Schreier has not had to go to his bench very often during the Tigers' dominant run of six state titles since 2001.

But an injury to starter Nick Smith that opened the door for 6-4 senior Trevor Wills last week against Naperville North - Wills' first career start - demonstrated that you have to be ready no matter who you are playing behind.

"The bench has been tremendous all year," Schreier said. "They've had their peaks and valleys, just like any team. They've had great days in practice where they push the starters, and they have days in practice where they say, 'We didn't bring it today. Can we just get through this?

"But with what's happened now, they finally realized the potential to be part of something," he added. "I think that potential is what is driving them, and I do believe all 15 guys on the team are on the same page."

***

Downers Grove North has had good moments in recent weeks - like beating Glenbard West - and not so good moments - like losses to Benet and Lyons.

Downers North coach Mark Wasik only has to look back to see what's impeding the Trojans going forward.

"We're neutralizing our outside hitters because of the first contact," he said. "We're not passing well. You can see (libero Brooks) Nverly trying to take more balls in the backrow to try to help out our passing."

Nevertheless, Wasik still sees a lot of upside to his team.

"We have a lot of room for growth." he said. "I'm excited. We still have a lot of volleyball left. We're talking three weeks left, but we have a huge tournament coming up, a couple more individual matches, then we go into the bloodbath known as our sectional."

***

Nolan Albrecht, a Naperville resident who did not play high school volleyball but helped lead the Sports Performance 18 Elite team to a fourth-place finish at the USAV national championships in 2001, will transfer from Franciscan University of Steubenville to Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, N.C.) and play men's volleyball.

"Nolan is a premier outside hitter and can play at an elite level," Belmont Abbey head coach Mary DeJute said. "The character and ability of Nolan is second to none. His athleticism and volleyball IQ would have allowed him to choose any program in the nation.

"He chose Belmont Abbey because of the focus on sport and virtue as well as the academics," she added. "I look for Albrecht to be one of several players to help lay the foundation of a new program. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach him over the next several years."

Albrecht is a 6-5 outside hitter who was named first team All-American by USA volleyball in 2011. Belmont Abbey is instituting men's volleyball for the 2013 season and will compete in the Conference Carolinas, the second largest men's volleyball conference in the nation.

Conference Carolinas will consist of nine NCAA Division I and II volleyball teams in 2013 and gain an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament in 2014.

***

The following players were named to the all-tournament team at Lincoln-Way East last weekend: Buffalo Grove setter Matt Bloom; Lake Park outside hitter Brian Fischer; Lincoln-Way Central middle hitter Clay Hermann; and Lincoln-Way East outside hitter Kevin McClafferty.

Also, Lincoln-Way North libero Zach Blaski; Lincoln-Way North outside hitter Jake Walenga; Lincoln-Way West middle hitter Dave O'Brien; Lyons outside hitter Jason Dolinski; Maine South outside hitter Scott Adamczyk; Marist middle hitter Tony Natalino; and Naperville Central setter Albert Lei.

Also, Naperville North outside hitter Spencer Sauter; New Trier setter Matt Wascher; Sandburg setter Nick Bendell; Stagg outside hitter Kamil Barnas; and Warren outside hitter Sean O'Connor.

Lincoln-Way East's Nate Royer was named the tournament MVP.

***

Talk about equal opportunity.

(Chicago) Young is seeded No. 1 in the DeLaSalle sectional and (Chicago) Payton is seeded No. 2. But in the Public League playoffs, the opposite is true. Payton is No. 1 and Young is No. 2.

The City Championship Tournament gets under way Tuesday (May 8) with Round 2 on Thursday, May 10, the quarterfinals at Curie and Lane Tech on Monday, May 14 and the semifinals on Wednesday, May 16 at Northside Prep.

Lincoln Park is seeded No. 3 and Von Steuben is seeded fourth.

The finals will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18 at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

***

Maddie Haggerty, the 6-foot-2 sophomore from Glen Ellyn who helped lead Benet to the 2011 Class 4A state title and announced earlier this spring she would transfer to St. Francis next fall to play with younger sister Molly, verbally committed last week to play at Nebraska.

Haggerty is the first recruit for Nebraska's 2014 class. She will join the Huskers' program one year after the arrival of the talented twins Kadie and Amber Rolfzen from Papillion-La Vista South (Nebraska). Haggerty was also drawing interest from Illinois, Texas and Minnesota.

Haggerty plays for the Sports Performance 18 Elite team with older sister Meghan, who will be a freshman at Wisconsin next fall.

"Nebraska is getting an outstanding six rotation player who has size, power and the potential to be a very strong passer and defensive player," Sports Performance coach Rick Butler said.

***

Trinity junior guard Taylor Nazon has verbally committed to play basketball at Loyola University, Nazon is a two-time GCAC all-conference selection and Player and a Sun-Times all-area honorable mention choice.

Taylor, who lives on the south side of Chicago and commutes to River Forest to attend Trinity, selected Loyola over Colgate, Yale and Northern Illinois.

"What a super-amazing young woman," Trinity president Michelle Germanson, O.P., said.

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