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.