Benet junior-to-be Brittany Pavich recently made a verbal commitment to play at Boston College.
According to the club's home page, "Michio" is a Japanese word meaning a person with the strength of 3,000.
Michio Chicago 15 National did not need the strength of 3,000 at the USAV Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month. Ten players were enough.
Michio Chicago 15 National, representing a four-year-old club on the south side of Chicago, defeated the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 overall seeds then took down surprising Five Starz 25-19, 25-10 in the finals to win the USAV 15 Open championship.
"Our consistency and control were the biggest keys to our success at the championships," said Michio coach and former Brother Rice standout Jordan Vidovic. "We are a very even keeled team and it paid off in a long, four-day tournament where you can really go up and down mentally and emotionally every match.
"Our focus was to grind every point of every game out and make it tough for our opponents to earn points on us," he added. "You hear it all the time but it was truly a team effort. We focus on being all-around players in practice and it really paid off as we were able to adjust and adapt to different teams and different styles of play."
In the final, Michio grabbed a quick 2-0 lead thanks to kills from 5-foot-7 outside hitter Kennedy Arundel (Mother McAuley), who was named the tournament MVP, and 6-foot-2 middle blocker Kristen Somerville from St. Ignatius.
Five Starz scored the next two points, but when Margaret Scanlon took an Amber Casey set on the next point and terminated on the right side, Michio had the lead for keeps. Somerville and 6-foot Kelsey Clark scored in the middle to extend Michio's lead to 9-5.
Arundel, Ryann Dejarld (daughter of McAuley coach Jen Dejarld) and Maggie Scanlon (McAuley) took advantage of the dominant middle play of Somerville and Clark to wreak havoc from the pins, and Five Starz went quietly in Game 2.
Clark and Scanlon joined Arundel on the all-tournament team. But it would not have been a stretch to add a few more Michio players to the All-America team
"Almost every one of our players would have been deserving of All-American honors," Vidovic said. "Kennedy came up huge in big situations on the outside with her power and athleticism. Kristin and Kelsey are our go to hitters who control the net as blockers as well. They are, in my opinion, the best middle tandem in the country and were a huge part of our success.
"Amber distributed the offense very effectively while libero Carla Cahill was nearly flawless on serve receive and great on defense," he added. "Maggie and Ryann were consistent all around and effective front and back row. Ali Lund (from Lemont) came up big from the service line in key situations."
Rounding out the 10-player roster was Morgan Mikenas, a rightside hitter from Valparaiso High School in Indiana.
"Columbus was quite a week for our team and for our new club," said Vidovic, who graduated from Lewis two years ago and has been working in the city and coaching college in the interim. "We knew going in that we were playing well enough to have a legitimate shot at making the final four.
"We trained hard the last month of the season to make sure we were ready to go at nationals," he added. "We knew it was going to be an absolute war for four days and that we needed to be mentally tough to stay in it. Our team really stuck together for the entire tournament and it was great to see it end the way it did."
Michio Chicago 15 National reached the finals four by downing Coast 15-1 from southern California, then dumped Texas Advantage Volleyball 15 Black in three sets in the semifinals to avenge a loss earlier this season at the Lone Star Qualifier in Dallas.
"That TAV match was probably the toughest of them all," Vidovic said. "We went back and forth all three sets and were able to pull away late in the third to take the match. We knew since December that we had the ability to be national champions.
"We had some bumps along the way, but we prepared well and stayed focused on our gameplans all week in Columbus," he added.
Brittany Pavich, a junior-to-be at Benet Academy from Hinsdale, verbally committed to play Division I volleyball for Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Pavich is a 6-foot-3 middle hitter who plays for Sports Performance VBC.
"I really loved the combination of academics and volleyball at Boston College," Pavich said. "I knew it was a good fit for me when I visited the campus and met the coaches and the team. I am looking forward to joining them in 2014."
Pavich was an integral part of Benet's run to the Class 4A state championship last fall when she stepped in for the injured Gabbie Pethokoukis.
"Brittany has worked very hard to become one of the best middles in the state," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Always a great teammate, Brittany continues to improve and has a tremendous upside as a player. I expect her to be difference-maker when she gets to Boston College."
Pavich's Sports Performance club team recently finished fifth in the 16 Open division of the AAU National Championships. Benet alumna Val Mattaliano (Class of 2008) is currently playing at Boston College.