By Pat Brozynski

June 2012 Archives

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Julia Thompson and Emily Casaletto of Sky High Volleyball Club and Barrington High School earned a bid to the USA Beach Junior Tour National Championship July 28-29.

With the AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla. winding down this week, many, but not all, of the local players will enjoy a few weeks off before returning to their high school teams for summer camp and fall practice or beginning their college careers.

AAUs were a mixed bag for area clubs, with No. 2-seeded Sports Performance 18 Elite bowing out in the semifinals of the 18 Open division to longtime rival Asics Munciana while Fusion 17 Black reached the finals of the 16 Open division

Munciana and Sports Performance have dominated the 18 Open since 2008, with the Hoosiers beating SPVB to win the title in 2009 and 2011 while Sports Performance won in 2007, 2008 and 2010, beating Munciana for the title the last two times.

But Sports Performance, which beat Fusion 18 Black 25-16, 25-12 in the quarterfinals, had no answer for Munciana this time around, losing 25-19, 25-17 after spending most of the match out of system and unable to take advantage of its size advantage at the net.

Sports Performance coach Rick Butler lamented his team's poor passing, an issue in most of its losses this season, and its inability to serve effectively.

Setter Lauren Carlini, who was named MVP of the Junior National Classic and the Wisconsin Dells Showcase earlier this season, and middle blocker Meghan Haggerty were all-tournament selections for Sports Performance.

Fusion's Julia Conard, who is Illinois-bound, also made the all-tourney list.

But the news wasn't all bad for Sports Performance in Florida. In the 18 Club division, Sports Performance 18 Red won the championship by defeating Mizuno Northern Lights 18-2 25-17, 17-25, 17-15.

SPVB 18 Red members included Casey Durham, Catherine Huebener, Katherine Keegan, McKenna Kelsay, Alison Kimmel, Stephanie Kinane, Leighanne Novak, Ashleigh Shain, Carly Warner and Amelia Wegman.

Elsewhere, Sky High 17 Black reached the quarterfinals of the 17 Open division before losing to Asics Kiva 17 Red 27-25, 25-17. However, Sky High fared better in the 17 Club division, where Sky High 17 Red defeated Sky High 17 White 27-29, 25-23, 15-12 to bring home the gold.

Member of the championship Sky High 17 Red team included Emily Aigner, Caitlyn Brocker, Ashley Dolin, Abigail Fesl, Amy Jereb, Kayla Katarzynski, Alex Larson, Merrideth Patterson and Julia Thompson.

Playing for the runner-up White team were Jessica Bartczszyn, Tara Blake, Micah Duzey, Sarah Horner, Nicole Morrisey, Anna Mullen-Muhr, Kylie Portera, Maris Smith, Janelle Stilling and Samantha Young.

In the 16 Open division, Fusion 16 Black defeated Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold 25-21. 22-25, 15-11 to win the championship.

Fusion 16 Black members included Alexandra Frantti, Olivia Hanley, Olivia Kofie, Adeja Lambert, Lauren Leverenz, Mackenzie Long, Katie Olson, Brianna Stewart and Bryanna Weiskircher.

In the 16 Club division, 1at Alliance 16 Black lost 25-17, 25-21 to Milwaukee Sting 16 Black in the semifinals.


The USA Beach Junior Tour stopped in Milwaukee, Wis., earlier this month for the Central Open. Fifty-two teams from three USA Volleyball regions competed in the one-day event hosted at Bradford Beach.

In the Girls 18U division, Sky High's Julia Thompson and Emily Casaletto lost to Claire Raddatz and Melissa Morello of Mequon, Wis. in the finals.

Nevertheless, the Barrington High School teammates earned a bid to the USA Beach Junior Tour National Championship at Bradford Beach July 28-29.

*** recently announced its list of "Gym Dandies," the best pure defenders in the land.

Players were nominated by their coaches and had to be full-time backrow players. They had to be generally considered among the best 10 defensive players in their state regardless of class year or school classification.

The list featured nine teams of 13 players with a little more than 100 more named honorable mention.

Local players in the list included Huntley's Amy Dion, a first-team selection, Mother McAuley's Bridget Powell, a third-team choice, and Lyons backrow whiz Megan Miller, who was named to the fourth team.

Evansville recruit Kim Deprez of Glenbard South was named to the seventh team, Benet's Sheila Doyle was tapped for the seventh team and Marist's Carolyn "Baby" Yerkes was a ninth team selection.

Honorable mention choices included Peyton Bykowski of Stevenson, Annie Ferlmann of Benet, St. Ignatius' Mary Grassano, Buffalo Grove's Victoria Ito, Emily Milligan of Nazareth, Shannon O'Brien of Benet Academy, and Toni Saracco of Lyons.

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Benet's Meghan Haggerty (left) and Jenna Jendryk won't be going to Wisconsin and Virginia Tech, respectively, after all.

From "On Wisconsin" to "There's No Place Like Nebraska."

Former Benet 6-foot-3 middle hitter and 2011 Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection Meghan Haggerty, who originally committed to Wisconsin, has switched her commitment and will play for Nebraska in the fall.

Haggerty is a 2012 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection, Under Armour first-team All-American, ranked No. 14 on the list of Senior Aces by, one of the top 25 seniors in the class of 2012 by ESPN, one of the best senior players by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and a 2011 second-team All-America by ESPNHS.

Haggerty's teammate Jenna Jendryk, who was originally committed to Virginia Tech, selected Dayton over Kansas State and Kentucky as her new destination. Jendryk also was a Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection who helped lead the Redwings to the 2011 Class 4A state title.

Jenna Jendryk's older sister, Jessica, who spent her first four years at Illinois but has one year of eligibility remaining after redshirting as a freshman, will play at St. Louis University in the fall while working toward a master's degree.


ESPN will award the Wheaton Warrenville South boys volleyball team with the Powerade FAB 50 Trophy at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 22, during a school assembly in recognition of the team's final ranking atop the POWERADE FAB 50.

The FAB 50 is a weekly ranking of the nation's high school sports teams compiled by ESPNHS. Wheaton Warrenville South became the first Illinois team to end the season No. 1 in the nation in boys' volleyball. The Tigers completed their perfect run with a 25-21, 25-13 triumph over Glenbrook North in the IHSA state championship.

The Tigers, who finished 42-0 and became the seventh WW South team to win a state title, were also champions of the Buffalo Grove Bison Battle, the WW South Tiger Classic, the Downers Grove South Mustang Invite and the Richards Invitational.

Senior Thomas Jaeschke, a 6-foot-6 outside hitter and Loyola recruit, was selected Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. Senior Matt Callaway, a 6-8 Penn State recruit, also was a first-team All-Area honoree. Tim Zyburt was a second team selection.


There's no confusion. It's Club Fusion.

According to statistics generated by, Club Fusion's Class of 2012 is top ranked club in the nation for college volleyball commitments. Thirty-six athletes will be headed to their respective schools in the fall to continue their volleyball careers.

These numbers include schools at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels as well as NAIA and NJCAA institutions. Nearly all of the players have received full scholarships at their future school.

The Class of 2012 includes Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selections Julia Conard (University of Illinois) of West Chicago and Meghan Niski (James Madison University) of St. Charles East, and Wisconsin all-state player Annie Kunes (University of Texas-San Antonio).

Since 2004, Club Fusion has sent nearly 300 players to play collegiate volleyball.


Lake Zurich's 5-7 libero Ashley Dina was one of 22 players named Monday to the 2012 U.S. Women's Junior A2 Volleyball Program roster.


Eight players from Illinois, including Dustin Borenstein (Highland Park), Marko Kostich (Lyons), Gert Lisha (Naperville North), Earl Schultz (Payton), Brendan Surane (Providence), Peter Van Fossan (Barrington), Jake Walenga (Lincoln-Way North) and Mitchel Weiler (Brother Rice) were named to the 2012 U.S. Boys' Youth National A2 Team last week.

Thumbnail image for Laura_Williams[1].jpgFormer Lyon's star Laura Williams will join the nation's 10th-rated recruiting class at Duke this fall.

The Libertyville varsity boys volleyball team has been named the recipient of the Zebras of Northern Illinois (ZONI) Spring 2012 Sportsmanship Banner.

Each season, ZONI recognizes teams that display good sportsmanship throughout the year. ZONI officials voted the Libertyville varsity boys team the best for overall player, coach and fan sportsmanship across all of the schools and teams that ZONI members saw during the past season.

The following other teams received certificates signifying that they also demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship throughout the season: Glenbard East; Glenbrook South; Grant; Lyons Township; Maine East; Prospect; and Waukegan.

A list of previous winners can be found on the ZONI web site:

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.

Good sportsmanship is the attitude and behavior that exemplifies positive support of the interscholastic volleyball program for schools as well as for the individuals who participate in those programs.

*** recently announced its list of the top 30 collegiate recruiting classes of 2012. Stanford, whose class features ESPN Player of the Year Jordan Burgess, a 6-foot outside hitter from Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.) has the consensus No. 1 class this year. ranked the top 30 schools with the next 17 listed as "Highest Honorable Mention" and 30 others receiving "High Honorable Mention" recognition. The schools listed below are those who feature players from the Chicago area:

10. Duke: Laura Williams (Lyons Township).

12. Michigan: Ally Davis (Hinsdale Central) and Carly Warner (St. Francis).

13. Purdue: Bridget Powell (Mother McAuley).

18. Arizona: Emily Bemis (DeKalb).

25. Illinois: Julia Conard (West Chicago), Kathryn Polkoff (New Trier) and Alexis Viliunas (Lyons Township).

30. Marquette: Mary Nilles (Batavia).

Highest Honorable Mention

Indiana: Amelia Anderson (Crystal Lake Central) and Katie Gallagher (York).

Maryland: Amy Dion (Huntley).

Pittsburgh: Jessica Boddy (Metea Valley), Casey Durham (Evanston), Jenna Jacobson (Whitney Young), Amanda Orchard (Lake Zurich) and Mary Striedl (Lake Forest).

Virginia Tech: Jenna Jendryk (Benet).

Wisconsin: Meghan Haggerty (Benet) and Victoria Ito (Buffalo Grove).

High Honorable Mention

Creighton: Melanie Jereb (Cary-Grove).

Loyola-Chicago: Brittany Brown (Nazareth Academy), Maureen Carls (Andrew), Kelly Feigh (Joliet Catholic) and Stephanie Kinane (Batavia).

Ohio: Abby Gilleland (Marian Central).

Princeton: Annie Ferlmann (Benet).

Villanova: Gabby Pethokoukis (Benet).


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 or

Junior setter Phil Hannon and the Minooka Indians should rate among the top teams in the state again in 2013.

It's official. Wheaton Warrenville South is No. 1 in the country.

The final Powerade Fab 50 was announced by ESPN on Friday and WW South was named the mythical national champion, edging No. 2 Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, Calif.). WW South became the first Illinois team to end the season No. 1 in the nation in boys' volleyball.

Other Illinois teams ranked in the final top 50 were No. 8 Glenbrook North, No. 22 Barrington, No. 23 Minooka, No. 33 Brother Rice, No. 34 Lincoln-Way East and No. 39 Glenbard East.


Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier was asked if the 2012 Tigers were the best of his seven state championship teams.

The 2012 Tigers were his third unbeaten state champion, but many consider his 2001 team with Olympian Sean Rooney to be the best.

"This team is in the conversation," he said. "For all intents and purposes, for everything these guys have done, as a coach, especially with family and everything else, to come to work with these guys every day was unbelievable. It really was tribute to these guys and everything that they've put out, from one to 15, I cannot stress enough what they've done.

"As far as where they stand?" Schreier added. "They're their own team, and they will be their own team. Someday somebody will compare to them because they created their own legacy. They weren't chasing 2001 and they weren't chasing 2004. They were chasing 2012, and they were chasing the demons of the last two years."


One of the biggest but perhaps most unheralded reasons for Wheaton Warrenville South's success this season was the play of 6-foot-6 senior outside hitter Tim Zyburt, who finished second on the team with nearly 240 kills behind Thomas Jaeschke's 350-plus.

Zyburt was asked if he felt like Scottie Pippen to Jaeschke's Michael Jordan.

"Yes, I guess you can say that," he said. "Ever since freshman year, we've been going after each other, competing against each other that way. It's always fun to have competition as good as him because you always get better. He pushed you big time."


ESPN should release its final national boys volleyball rankings in a few days, and everybody will be wondering whether WW South did enough last weekend to maintain its hold on the No. 1 spot and become the first Illinois team to be named mythical national champion.

But that honor was not WW South's top priority as the season wound down, Sun-Times Player of the Year Thomas Jaeschke said.

"During the season, it wasn't a big thing because we needed to finish this part of the season right here, winning state," he said. "National rankings without winning state mean nothing. It's a nice cherry on top. But before today it didn't mean anything. It was more something for the fans to talk about."

Of course, that was before Saturday. What about now?

"That national ranking now means a whole hell of a lot," WW South coach Bill Schreier said. "They would be the first team in Illinois that do that, and that is a great achievement."


Glenbrook North middle hitter Luke Jacobson was asked if the Spartans' had a special strategy to try to contain WW South's Thomas Jaeschke heading into their championship match with WW South.

"I don't think there was a strategy," he said. "We just tried to play our game. Blocking was tough, but we tried. We predicted some sets would go to him, but he can hang from the back row and it's hard to stop that. It's so quick. You just try to be in the right place.

"He's a good player," Jacobson added. "We tried to stop him. I think we did a pretty good job."

Jaeschke had 12 kills against Glenbrook North while hitting .348. He had 10 kills and hit .333 in the semifinals against a tall Barrington team, while he had only seven kills against Payton but hit an off-the-charts .778.


Payton coach Casey Feeney and the rest of the Grizzlies knew they were up against it when they faced WW South in a quarterfinal match at state. But what really impressed him was how mistake-free the Tigers played.

"They're a really good, big team," Feeney said. "We played a tough season. We went out and played in a lot of different tournaments, but you're rarely going to see high school guys that are just that big. They're not awkward, they move well, they're athletic and they don't make the mistakes that a lot of the teams that we see on a regular basis do."

Payton hung with WW South through the first 22 points, leading 10-9 early. But then Payton's mistakes started to compound.

"In the first game, we had four or five missed serves that sort of really killed our momentum," Feeney said. "We talked about not freaking out if they beat. They supposed to beat us. We said just play each point for what it's worth and see what we can take anyway. In the beginning, we rode that energy wave. Then the energy kind of fell off the cliff."


Lake Park rebounded from losing its top hitter early in the season to reach the state quarterfinals and had two match points before falling to Barrington. One official commented that the Lancers were the best team she had seen all season playing behind their hitters.

Rookie coach Tim Murphy said his staff picked up on something in practice that helped the Lancers get hot during the state tournament.

"The coaching staff noticed that when we play good defense, when we play that tenacious style, that's when we win," he said. "When balls end up hitting the ground and we're out of position, that's when we lose and fall behind.

"I can't really ask any more of these guys," Murphy added. "They gave everything they had. We kept preaching heart, play with heart and give everything you have. Do it for the other five guys on the court. I think they did.

"It comes down to what covering is -- one guy swinging and the other five guys saying we've got your back."


The one team of the final eight most likely to return to the state quarterfinals next year - barring another unconscionable sectional realignment from Bloomington - is Minooka.

The Indians return five starters from their 37-4 fourth-place finisher, including setter Phil Hannon, libero Adam Holstine, outside hitter Matt Svetlecich and middle hitters Maalik Walker and Justin Toth.

"I anticipate that this group of juniors will be very hungry to do well and to have a very good season next year," Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said. "Obviously, our goal as always is to get here. How they respond to the expectations we will face will set the tone for the whole season."


Who else is going to rank among the better boys volleyball teams for 2013? Here is an early, completely unscientific look:

Waubonsie Valley - Start with 6-6 sophomore Mike Simmons. Add 6-1 junior setter Luke Furman. Toss in 6-3 junior Jon Pyne, 6-4 sophomore Connor Douville and 6-5 junior Tyler House and what do you get? Next year's No. 1?

Lincoln-Way North - Four starters are back from a team that was seeded No. 1 in the sectional before running into a hot Brother Rice team, including junior libero Zach Blasgen, junior middle Haakon Skrodal and sophomores Jake Walenga and Brad McFarland.

Brother Rice - Three starters from this year's quarterfinalist return, including 6-3 sophomore outside Mitch Weiler (300 kills), 6-7 junior middle Ryan Paull and 6-3 sophomore middle Kevin Myren. Paul ickes will shop for a setter.

Glenbard East - If 6-2 junior Jake Hamaker recovers from his ACL tear, he should combine with 6-5 junior hitter Joey Farrell and 6-3 junior Seth Quam to give the Rams a solid attack. Freshman Ben Carpio is in line to set. There are also some sophomores ready to step up for coach Marci Maier.

Hersey - Heir apparent in the Mid-Suburban East? Wildly inconsistent in 2012, but there is some young talent in 6-7 sophomore middle Mike Fuerst, 6-4 freshman outside Bart Migus and 6-2 sophomore Matt Aguilar.

Others to watch include St. Ignatius, St. Francis, Sandburg, Mt. Carmel, Naperville North, Barrington and Stevenson.

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

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