By Pat Brozynski

September 2012 Archives

Or two losses in a row?

HighSchoolCube will carry Thursday's volleyball match between No. 1-ranked Benet and No. 2 Marist live. The match is scheduled for a 6:15 p.m. start. Marian Catholic ended Benet's 36-match unbeaten streak on Tuesday. Go to for the broadcast.

The "Cube" will also broadcast Gold division games and the championship of the Silver division from the Asics Volleyball Challenge at Mother McAuley on Saturday, September 29. Go to for the action from McAuley.

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Benet 16-0 (2)

Whodda thunk? Benet is back on top the rankings. That's Benet, which lost four Division I players from last year's state championship team - Meghan Haggerty (Nebraska), Jenna Jendryk (Dayton), Gabby Pethokoukis (Villanova) and Maddie Haggerty (St. Francis). All the Redwings have done is beat Marist (which just handed McAuley its first loss), West Aurora (only loss to Benet at early tournament), Sandburg, Naperville Central and Nazareth. But it doesn't get easier. Next up? Marian Catholic (Tuesday) and Marist (Thursday) on the road.

2. Marist 13-3 (3)

Rachel Dalton had nine blocks, Elyse Panick had four, Mallory Salis had 18 kills and Carolyn Yerkes added 14 digs as the RedHawks rallied to beat McAuley 18-25, 25-22, 25-22 in the finals of the Rich East tournament Saturday and avenge one of their three losses. They will get a chance to even another score Thursday when they entertain Benet. But first, a trip to Providence on Tuesday, no easy task. By the end of the week, don't be surprised to see the RedHawks back on top the rankings.

3. Mother McAuley 12-1 (1)

The Mighty Macs squandered a 19-15 lead in Game Three and solid performances by Ryann DeJarld (13 kills), Courtney Joyce (25 assists) and Kelsey Clark (six kills) in their Rich East championship match against south side rival Marist. A product of inexperience? Possibly. But you get the feeling the teams will meet again in a match considerably more important than Saturday's. Still, a week which saw the Mighty Macs reach the finals of Rich East and beat Providence 25-21, 26-28, 25-15 cannot be considered a bad week.

4. St. Francis 18-3 (4)

The Spartans' went 4-1 at Rich East, losing to Marist in the semifinals before bouncing back (25-21, 21-25, 25-22) against Sandburg in the third-place match. Earlier in the week, St. Francis had little trouble with Aurora Central Catholic - Mary Boken served up 10 points and Molly Haggerty added three blocks - and Batavia, which had an impressive performance at Waubonsie Valley Saturday. St. Francis hosts Wheaton Academy on Monday then tunes up for the Asics Challenge at Mother McAuley this weekend.

5. Glenbard West 21-0 (5)

Caleigh Ryan's 25 assists and 11 digs, 15 kills from Amanda Perry and six kills and 10 digs from Megan Wagner powered the Hilltoppers to an 18-25, 25-14, 25-17 victory over West Suburban Silver nemesis Lyons last week. Twenty-four hours earlier, Glenbard West defeated Palatine and 6-3 Taylor Fricano 25-20, 25-14. Coach Pete Mastandrea has a diamond in the rough - or maybe not so rough - in freshman Natalie Schilling, who had four kills and two blocks against Lyons and gives Glenbard West another weapon.

6. West Aurora 16-1 (6)

West Aurora shared the DuPage Valley Conference title with Naperville North last year. The Blackhawks have other ideas this fall. Lauren Carlini had 13 kills, 14 assists and five digs and Nerissa Vogt added six kills and five blocks as West Aurora defeated Naperville North 25-23, 26-24 in the team's first meeting of the season last week. The Blackhawks also took down West Chicago to run their win streak to 12. Next up? Road trips to Glenbard East on Tuesday and Wheaton Warrenville South on Thursday.

7. New Trier 16-0 (7)

The Trevians had a little trouble with Central Suburban League rival Maine South last week, but rallied from a first-set loss to defeat the Hawks 23-25, 25-23, 25-17. A non-conference contest with York four days later went much smoother as New Trier rolled to a 25-18, 25-17 victory on Saturday. Three of the Trevians' next four matches are on the road, including stops at Evanston, Lake Forest and Waukegan, before the Glenbrook North invite on October 5-6.

8. Joliet Catholic 10-1 (8)

An easy week last week for the Angels, who had little trouble with Bishop McNamara and Carmel. Tuesday, Joliet Catholic travels to Arlington Heights to take on St. Viator before getting in some work prior to the Asics Challenge hosted by Mother McAuley on Friday and Saturday. The Angels' schedule heats up in the next few weeks with matches against the East Suburban Catholic elite including Providence, Benet Marist and Marian Catholic.

9. Hinsdale South 12-3 (10)

Only one match on the calendar last week, a victory over Downers Grove South. Next up? A visit by Addison Trail on Tuesday and a road trip to York on Thursday, Barring a calamity of epic proportions, look for Hinsdale South to pull down a top three seed at the Mizuno Cup tournament hosted by St. Charles East at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora on October 5-6.

10. Libertyville 11-3 (NR)

Libertyville won a big North Suburban showdown with Stevenson on Wednesday, turning back the Patriots 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 to improve to 3-0 in the Lake division. Kristen Webb had 25 digs, Rhiannon Prentiss added 13 digs and six kills, Cindy Zhou had 20 assists and seven kills and Taylor Zant added nine kills and nine digs. "Stevenson had our number early, but defensive adjustments and tough serving keyed the change in momentum." Said Libertyville coach Greg Loika, who got his 100th career win at Libertyville.

Others: Stevenson, Naperville Central, Providence, Sandburg, Marian Catholic, Lincoln-Way Central, St. Ignatius, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Prairie Ridge, Naperville North, Nazareth, Chicago Christian, Palatine, Hersey, Fremd, Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Immaculate Conception, Stagg, Montini, Lemont, Glenbard South, West Chicago.

Quote of the Week: "I am happy to share this victory with Kristin Webb and Cindy Zhou, who have been with me since 2009 when I took over from Hall of Famer Chris Tryzna. Chris established a strong legacy of excellent volleyball in Libertyville and it has been an honor to share in that tradition. It was especially an honor to be able to celebrate this victory with girls who've been there since the beginning. To have it come against Stevenson, who had our number earlier this season, is also especially meaningful." - Libertyville coach Greg Loika on his 100th career win Wednesday, a 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory over Stevenson.

Quote II: "It's awful that she's (Rachel Baader) out, but we do have a really good replacement in Khaila Donaldson. She's really stepped up. She's doing really well this season. I'm really proud of her. Obviously, we miss Rachel, But it is what it is." - Stevenson senior Jenna Radtke about the season-ending injury suffered by Rachel Baader and the job Khaila Donaldson has done in her stead.

For the Cure: Naperville Central visits Wheaton Warrenville South on Monday, October 1 in a "Volley for the Cure" event. This has become one of the biggest cancer fundraisers of its kind, if not the biggest, in the state. The two teams raised more than $52,000 in 2011.

It's all in the family: Immaculate Conception has two sets of sisters - the Martinos (Kim and Liz) and the Manions (Rory and Molly). Delaney D'Amore is the daughter of Jean Field's assistant coach, Nancy D'Amore, who played in IC's 1984 state championship team. Six of the eight players on the team are children of alumni. One of the other two players had aunts and uncles who attended IC. The Martinos are from a long line of Martino setters -- Jessica Clifford (2004), Jennifer Clifford (2001), Kathy Clifford (1999), Michelle Martino (1990) and Cheryl Martino Butler (1981). rankings: These are bound to undergo a shakeup after Marist's victory over McAuley, but in the rankings released last week by Mother McAuley was ranked No. 10 in the nation. Other ranked Illinois teams include No. 36. Benet Academy, No. 51 Champaign Centennial, No. 52 St. Francis, No. 74 Quincy and No. 83 Marist. Teams on the bubble are Breese Mater Dei, Edwardsville, Glenbard West, Hinsdale South, Joliet Catholic, Libertyville, Lincoln-Way East, Nazareth, New Trier, Normal Community, University (Normal), West Aurora

Will the south do it again?: Champaign Centennial, which won the Effingham Crossroads Classic and is a favorite in Class 3A, is led by 6-foot-3 middle blocker Lauren Cloyd (Rutgers), 6-foot middle Rachel Jones (Bradley) and 5-9 opposite Kelsey Olion (Western Missouri).

Commitment: West Aurora's Peyton McKenzie has verbally committed to St. Joseph College in Indiana.

Young Mighty Macs storm to pair of big wins

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benet at wheaton.bmpHere's a familiar site. Benet celebrates another tournament title, this time at the Wheaton Classic on Saturday.

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Mother McAuley 6-0 (2)

Maybe the Mighty Macs' biggest week in a long time? First, Mother McAuley gained South Side bragging rights by defeating Marist 25-20, 25-16 behind Kelsey Clark's seven kills, Ryann DeJarld's five kills and 18 assists, four kills and five digs by junior setter Courtney Joyce. Then, 24 hours later, McAuley outlasted St. Francis 25-19, 19-25, 28-26 behind 11 kills from Clark and 25 assists and five kills from Joyce. It doesn't get any easier this week with the Rich East tournament on tap Friday and Saturday.

2. Benet 14-0 (3)

Who are these girls? Nicki Barnes? Cara Mattaliano? Brittany Kmieciak? Abby Willett? They may have played on their club's No. 2 team, but they are playing like No. 1 this fall. All they did Saturday was beat Naperville Central, Sandburg and Marist to win the Wheaton Classic. Setter Hannah Kaminsky earned much-deserved MVP honors, joined on the all-tournament team by Mattaliano and libero Sheila Doyle, who owns some of the best hands in the state. Brittany Pavich and sophomore Rachael Fara are playing big in the middle as well.

3. Marist 6-3 (1)

The RedHawks had no answers for Benet's fast-paced offense in the finals of the Wheaton Classic, but coach Natalie Holder is seeing some positive signs from her charges. Mallory Salis had a solid game against Benet with seven kills, two blocks and an ace, and lefty Elyse Panick was dynamite from the service line. However, too many unforced errors were Marist's undoing. Nevertheless, the RedHawks did gain some revenge for an earlier loss against Hinsdale South with a 25-15, 25-23 victory in the semifinals.

4. St. Francis 11-2 (4)

The Spartans' loss at Mother McAuley was a barnburner, as St. Francis took the Macs to the limit before falling 28-26 in Game Three. Still, narrow losses to Champaign centennial at Effingham and at Mother McAuley proved that the Spartans aren't that far from hoisting another state championship trophy. They will get another shot at some of the state's best this weekend at Rich East. Next up: a couple of tune-ups with trips to Aurora Central Catholic on Monday and Chicago Christian on Wednesday before the Rich East tournament over the weekend.

5. Glenbard West 18-0 (6)

After taking care of Antioch 25-21, 25-16 on Monday behind Caleigh Ryan's 24 assists and six kills from Meg DeMarr, the Hilltoppers ran into very little interference at their own tournament this weekend, defeating Fremd 25-17, 25-22 in the title match. Now can they get over the West Suburban Conference hump Tuesday when they visit Lyons? But first, they must not take Palatine and 6-3 Taylor Fricano lightly on Monday. Palatine has beaten Fremd twice already this season.

6. West Aurora 14-1 (7)

Six-foot-2 senior setter Lauren Carlini was named the No. 1 college recruit in the nation by last week. "She does not have a single weakness on the court and her overall skill level is the highest I have seen in a junior player since (four-time Olympian) Logan Tom in 1998," Sports Performance director Rick Butler said. "Not only is she an outstanding setter, but she is also a great point scorer as both an attacker and a blocker and her defensive and serving skills are excellent." Carlini led West Aurora to an easy win over Wheaton North last week with eight kills, 10 assists and two aces.

7. New Trier 14-0 (9)

The Trevians barely broke a sweat registering a pair of Central Suburban League wins last week over Waukegan and Glenbrook South to remain unbeaten through 14 matches. Taylor Tashima had eight kills and 14 assists in the win over Glenbrook South, while Abby Boyd added five kills. New Trier also got more good news this week with the release of the state sectional assignments - 11 Chicago public schools, Trinity and perhaps Loyola are all that stand between New Trier and the Niles West supersectional.

8. Joliet Catholic 9-1 (NR)

Chris Scheibe finds a way. The Angels have been on cruise control since losing to Mother McAuley 25-23, 29-27 earlier this season. Last week, Joliet Catholic recorded its ninth straight win with a 25-12, 25-13 victory over Bolingbrook. Julia Shemaitis had 19 service points, including seven aces. Morgan Reardon, one of the best hitters in the state, added 11 kills and two blocks and Mary Murphy had three kills and a pair of blocks. Mallory Mangun, Dana Nowaczyk and Murphy combined for 16 assists, and Sarah Adler had 10 digs.

9. Stevenson 12-1 (10)

A big week for the Patriots with wins over Hersey and Palatine, two teams that Stevenson could see at the Fremd sectional later this season. Kaalia Donaldson had seven kills and nine digs and Anne Geocaris added 13 assists in the win over the Huskies. Jenna Radtke led Stevenson with five kills and four aces in the win over Palatine. Other potential pitfalls at Fremd include Barrington and Libertyville. Next up? A key North Suburban Conference showdown with Libertyville on Wednesday.

10. Hinsdale South 11-3 (NR)

Victories over Libertyville (29-31, 25-20, 25-20) and Sandburg (25-19, 12-25, 26-24) sandwiched around a loss to Marist Saturday at the Wheaton Classic proved that these Hornets have teeth. Senior outside Jessica Brezwyn, who almost single-handedly ousted Benet from the state tournament in the sectional two years ago, rallied the Hornets from a big deficit in Game Two of their Wheaton semifinal against Marist, but it was not enough. Still, in Brezwyn's own words, there is a lot of season left for her and teammates Rachel Kent, Jackie Adelphia and Sharon Anderson.

Dropping out: Naperville Central, Sandburg.

Others: Sandburg, Libertyville, Naperville Central, Lincoln-Way East, Marian Catholic, Providence, Lincoln-Way Central, St. Ignatius, Prairie Ridge, Naperville North, Nazareth, Lockport, Chicago Christian, Palatine, Hersey, Fremd, Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Immaculate Conception, Stagg, Montini, Lemont, Glenbard South, West Chicago, Lakes.

Quote of the Week:
"I think we went into the match thinking we beat them before and maybe we don't have to come out and play as hard. Obviously, it's a good lesson for us not to just come out and play average. They're a good team. We got to come out ready to play. We were on our heels. But it's not like we're supposed to hang our heads, because there's so much for us to come." - Hinsdale South's Jessica Brezwyn after the Hornets' loss to Marist at the Wheaton Classic.

Quote II:
"When we started this tournament, I said Stagg is over. This is really our test. There were some shining moments. We brought a couple of sophomores up to put into the mix, including No. 20 (Julia Borschel), who literally came up after the Stagg match. They (Benet) attacked her with the serve a little. I thought serve receive in general let us down a little bit and I thought we got a little tired. But Julia was swinging really well." - Sandburg coach David Vales after his team's 25-18, 24-26, 25-17 loss to Benet in the semifinals of the Wheaton Classic.

Quote III:
"We got what we wanted several times. They were committing to other players and we got some one-on-ones and we just could not put the ball away. That's something we're working on a lot in practice. Sometimes it's there, and other times it's not there. We also missed some serves. I think we had nine. But overall, we played pretty well. The big thing for us is just to come out and play our game and make sure emotionally we're ready. There's more work to do, there's more good teams to see. This is our first tournament and we'll see how we respond." - Libertyville coach Greg Loika after his team's 29-31, 25-20, 25-20 loss to Hinsdale South in the Wheaton Classic quarterfinals. The Wildcats responded by defeating Naperville Central 25-18, 21-25, 25-23 to finish third.

Quote IV:"All the hills we climb and all the drills we run were worth it." - Benet's Nicky Barnes, after the Redwings defeated Marist in a match that began less than 20 minutes after a marathon three-set win over Sandburg at Saturday's Wheaton Classic.

Wheaton Classic All-Tournament Team: Sharon Anderson (Hinsdale South), Alysia Baznik (Naperville Central), Caitlin Brauneis (Prairie Ridge), Stephanie Budlong (Wheaton Warrenville South), Sheila Doyle (Benet), Brianna Flagg (Rosary), Dakota Hampton (Sandburg), Emily Kwak (Naperville North), Megan Litoborski (Lemont), Kelly Marcinek (Marist), Cara Mattaliano (Benet), Rachel Minarick (Waubonsie Valley), Mallory Salis (Marist), Kirsten Zemke (Downers Grove South), MVP Hannah Kaminsky (Benet).

Milestone: Libertyville coach Greg Loika goes for career win No. 100 Wednesday against Stevenson.

For the Cure: Naperville Central visits Wheaton Warrenville South on Monday, October 1 in a "Volley for the Cure" event. This has become one of the biggest cancer fundraisers of its kind, if not the biggest, in the state. The two teams raised more than $52,000 in 2011.

Biased about Benedictine:Congratulations to coach Jen Wildes and the Benedictine University women's volleyball team, which improved to 11-0 on the season with victories over North Central and Lake Forest on Saturday.

Seven top seeds advance to Wheaton gold quarters

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dgsvictory090812[1].jpgHinsdale Central (pictured above) won the Downers Grove South sophomore tournament Saturday.

Seven top seeds advanced to Saturday's Gold division of the Wheaton Classic by sweeping their pool lay matches Wednesday - Libertyville, Sandburg, Naperville North, Naperville Central, Benet, Marist and Hinsdale South.

Naperville Central (9-2) advanced by defeating St. Charles North 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, and Plainfield North 25-16, 25-20. Alysia Baznik led the Redhawks against the Stars with 10 kills, six digs and three aces. Kendall Ward and Sammi Condon each had six kills and Abbi Williamson had 27 assists.

"It's early," said Naperville Central coach Brie Isaacson. "It's still September. We are tired. Everybody's tired. This is part of the endurance that you build for the whole season. We went to Effingham, we played Friday, we played Saturday, we came back and played yesterday and again today.

"Today (against St. Charles North) wasn't our best performance, but we found a way to get it done," she added.

Sandburg (5-1) rebounded from Monday's loss to Stagg to defeat Wheaton Warrenville South 25-18, 25-17 and Glenbrook South 25-13, 25-15.

"We like this tournament," Sandburg coach David Vales said. "We'll see Benet. We'll see Marist. We definitely consider this a measuring stick. This tournament will show us what we need to do, what we need to tighten up."

Second-seeded Benet (11-0) advance with a 25-18, 25-17 win over Neuqua Valley and a 25-14, 25-17 victory over Downers Grove South, and Naperville North (10-1) reached the Gold quarterfinals by defeating Rosary 25-14, 21-25, 25-16 and Plainfield Central 25-18, 25-17.

Libertyville (8-2) also advanced to the Gold bracket by beating Hinsdale Central 25-12, 25-18 behind five kills from Rhiannon Prentiss and two kills and three blocks from Taylor Zant, and a 25-16, 25-13 win over Wheaton North behind six kills from Julia Smagacz and 21 digs by Kristen Webb.

Also advancing were Marist and Hinsdale South. However, Lemont won Pool H by beating No. 8 seed Evanston 25-22,17-25, 25-23.


West Aurora's Lauren Carlini, a 6-foot-2 setter who is committed to Wisconsin, was named the No. 1 recruit in the nation by

Each year, compiles a list of Senior Aces, the top 250 volleyball recruits in the country, according to a survey of nearly 100 college coaches.

"She does not have a single weakness on the court and her overall skill level is the highest I have seen in a junior player since Logan Tom in 1998," Sports Performance director Rick Butler said. "Not only is she an outstanding setter, but she is a great point scorer as both an attacker and a blocker and her defensive and serving skills are excellent."

Carlini set the USA Youth National Team in Turkey in 2011 and was also named the MVP of the USA High Performance Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. that same summer. Her Blackhawks are ranked No. 7 in the Sun-Times Girls Volleyball Top 10.

Also making the list at No. 33 was Palatine's Taylor Fricano, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter and Dayton recruit; and No. 41 Meghan McDowell, a 6-3 setter from Hinsdale Central who is committed to Virginia.

Making the list at No. 86 was St. Ignatius' 5-10 setter Sophia Dodd, who is committed to Wake Forest; and No. 91 Cindy Zhou, a 6-1 setter from Libertyville who will play for Michigan next fall.

Mackenzi Humm, a 5-11 setter from Prairie Ridge who is committed to Xavier, just missed making the top 100.

Making the list of top 250 "Senior Aces" from Illinois were Erienne Barry, a 6-foot setter from St. Charles East (Western Michigan), Megan Tallman, a 5-10 setter from Wauconda (Indiana) and Jessica Brezwyn, a 5-10 outside hitter from Hinsdale South (UNC Greensboro).

Also, Camille Evans, a 6-1 outside hitter from St. Ignatius (Connecticut), Morgan Reardon, a 6-0 outside from Joliet Catholic (Loyola-Chicago), and Katie Roustio, a 6-1 outside hitter from O'Fallon (Illinois).

Others included Mallory Salis, a 5-9 outside from Marist (Ohio), Kristen Webb, a 5-6 libero from Libertyville (Butler), Rachel Baader, a 5-11 outside from Stevenson (Penn), and Alysia Baznik, a 5-10 outside hitter from Naperville Central (Evansville).

Also, Dakota Hampton, a 6-1 outside from Sandburg (South Florida), Rachel Jones, a 6-1 middle blocker from Champaign Centennial (Bradley), and Jasmine King, a 6-2 middle blocker from Marian Catholic (Seton Hall).

Rounding out the list are Hanna Lee, a 6-1 middle blocker from Whitney Young (Wake Forest), and Emily Milligan, a 5-5 libero, from Nazareth Academy (North Dakota State).

Libertyville def. St. Ignatius 25-19, 25-20

Libertyville (6-2) defeated struggling St. Ignatius Monday in Chicago behind Julia Smagacz and Taylor Zant with seven kills apiece. Brooke Donovan's two aces keyed service runs that allowed the Wildcats to pull away in each set.

"Matches against teams like this will prepare us well for the Wheaton tournament and tough conference opponents in the coming weeks," Libertyville coach Greg Loika said.

Cindy Zhou had 17 assists and two blocks for the winners.

St. Ignatius fell to 8-3.

Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Marist 2-1 (1)

Some scheduling confusion led to the cancellation of a scheduled match at York Wednesday, so the RedHawks will have had a long layoff by the time they take on visiting Mother McAuley on Tuesday. Marist won two of three meetings between the two teams last year, including a 23-25, 25-16, 25-17 victory at the Andrew sectional. Later in the week, the RedHawks will try to defend their No. 1 seed at the 24-team Wheaton Classic, where they could get another shot at Hinsdale South.

2. Mother McAuley 4-0 (2)

The Mighty Macs cruised by Mt. Assisi last week, but things should certainly get tougher this week with a trip to Marist on Tuesday and a visit by St. Francis on Wednesday. One south suburban scribe admitted he might have underrated McAuley, but that's understandable given the team's youth. Those youngsters - including sophomores like Ryann DeJarld and Kelsey Clarke and juniors Courtney Joyce and Gabrielle Ennis - will have a chance to grow up fast this week.

3. Benet 8-0 (3)

The Redwings tune up for their title defense at the Wheaton Classic with a visit by a young Downers Grove North team on Monday. Wednesday in Wheaton Classic pool play, Benet will face a rematch with Neuqua Valley, a team it defeated 25-19, 25-18 last week behind Hannah Kaminsky's 30 assists and eight kills apiece by Cara Mattaliano, Nicki Barnes and Brittany Pavich. Also in Benet's pool is Downers Grove South. A certain assistant coach at Prairie Ridge Saturday called Benet the best team he's seen this year.

4. St. Francis 10-1 (4)

The Spartans are human after all. A 14-25, 25-11, 25-21 loss to Champaign Centennial in the semifinals of the Crossroads Classic at Effingham likely made for a long bus ride home late Saturday. St. Francis did bounce back to defeat Normal U-High 25-14, 24-26, 25-20 for third place. Earlier in the week, St. Francis opened its conference title defense with a 25-9, 25-12 pasting of Immaculate Conception behind six kills from Rebecca Shearer and a combined nine kills from Maddie and Molly Haggerty.

5. Sandburg 3-0 (5)

After another week off (has anybody had more time in the gym than the Eagles?), Sandburg's schedule finally heats up with a visit by Stagg on Monday and a trip to the Wheaton Classic Wednesday and Saturday. The Eagles are among the top four seeds at Wheaton and share a pool with the host Tigers and Glenbrook South. Should Dakota Hampton & Co. survive Wednesday's pool play, a semifinal match against defending champion Benet could be in the offing on Saturday. The winner could get Marist in the finals. The last time Sandburg and Marist met, the RedHawks prevailed 28-26, 26-24 in last year's sectional final.

6. Glenbard West 12-0 (6)

The Hilltoppers took care of business with a victory over Hinsdale Central last week. This week, Glenbard West will be busy with a long bus ride to Antioch on Monday, a trip to Oak Park-River Forest on Tuesday and the Glenbard West invitational Friday and Saturday. Caleigh Ryan, Meg DeMarr and Amanda Perry & Co. may not be tested until they participate in the Autumnfest tournament at Glenbard East in mid-October. Don't forget Tuesday, September 18, when Glenbard West visits Lyons.

7. West Aurora 12-1 (8)

Lauren Carlini had nine kills and 10 assists to lead the Blackhawks to a 25-22, 25-21 victory over Naperville Central in a DuPage Valley showdown that was moved to Aurora because of scheduling conflicts. Elli Martin added 11 assists for the Blackhawks. Despite the impressive start, the schedule gets tougher with a rematch with Naperville Central, two matches with Naperville North visits to the Glenbrook North invite and Autumnfest at Glenbard East in early October still looming. Could Benet be waiting at Autumnfest?

8. Naperville Central 6-2 (7)

The Redhawks dropped two matches last week against some pretty impressive competition, including a 25-22, 25-21 loss to DuPage Valley Conference rival West Aurora despite 11 kills and four digs from Alysia Baznik, six kills from Kendall Ward and 23 assists from Abbi Williamson. Saturday at Effingham, Naperville Central bounced back from a 20-25, 25-16, 25-20 quarterfinal loss to 3A power Normal U-High to defeat Edwardsville 25-15, 25-22 and finish fifth. Next up: Wednesday against St. Charles North and Plainfield North at the Wheaton Classic.

9. New Trier 12-0 (NR)

Will history repeat itself? Each of the last five winners of the Prairie Ridge round-robin invitational advanced to the finals of the state tournament, beginning with Naperville Central in 2007. After rallying from a 12-7 deficit in Game Three of its opener against Barrington, the Trevians rolled to wins against Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake Central, Cary-Grove and St. Charles East. Six-foot junior setter Taylor Tashima has some weapons from which to choose including 5-11 senior outside Brittani Steinberg and 6-3 junior middle Haley Fauntleroy.

10. Stevenson 9-1 (9)

New Trier ended the Patriots' impressive winning streak to open the season with a 25-15, 26-24 victory despite six kills from 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter and Northern Illinois recruit Jenna Radtke and five kills from Lisa Pflugradt. Anne Geocaris added three kills, nine assists and seven digs in the loss. Earlier, the North Suburban Conference-leading Patriots defeated Zion-Benton 25-11, 25-10 behind three kills from Radtke and three aces from Alexa Bykowski. Stevenson visits Hersey Monday in a showdown between potential sectional foes.

Others: St. Ignatius, Joliet Catholic, Marian Catholic, Providence, Naperville North, Nazareth, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Palatine, Cary-Grove, Hersey, Libertyville, Crystal Lake South, Hinsdale South, Lincoln-Way Central, Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Marian Central, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Rosary, Stagg, Montini, Lemont, Carmel, Glenbard South, West Chicago.

Quote of the Week:
"The battles on this court have been have been going on for years. We love playing against each other. If we could practice against each other, we would do it. She (St. Charles East's Jennie Kull) runs such a quality program. The battles are always back and forth. It's fun." - Cary-Grove's Patty Langanis about the rivalry between Cary-Grove and St. Charles East on Court Two at Prairie Ridge.

Quote II:
"I would say everybody has stepped up. All the other players are really pushing for starting spots. We're still moving a lot of players around. We're still waiting for somebody to really play consistently and aggressively. We have flashes from everybody. Everybody's fighting for a spot. It's really competitive." - New Trier coach Hannah Hsieh about her team's 12-0 start.

Quote III:
"We do a lot of things well, we just don't do enough of them right now. We make a lot of unforced errors. We're not making simple choices, we're not making good choices all the time. We're working on that part of it." - Prairie Ridge coach Stefanie Otto on her team's 2-3 performance at their own round-robin invitational.

Milestone:Burlington Central's Marv Leavitt joined some exclusive company Saturday when he earned his 600th career victory as the Rockets finished second at the DeKalb tournament. Leavitt has been a head coach for 23 years at three different schools, including St. Charles, St. Edward and now Burlington Central. He won eight Upstate Eight titles, eight regionals and four sectionals at St. Charles, and five regionals and two sectionals at St. Edward. He led Burlington Central to a second-place finish in the 2008 Class 3A tournament.

Putting the "X" on the server:
Sometimes it doesn't take a timeout to ice an opposing server. Sometimes all it takes is a 10-minute "teaching moment" when an official decides to educate the home team's young scorekeeper on the intricacies of keeping the book while the server who just served two straight point to give her team a 24-22 lead has nothing to do but stand around and bounce the ball off a wall. Not surprisingly, when play finally resumed, the ensuing serve went wide and the home team rallied to win the set and the match. What? Like it couldn't wait until AFTER the set was over?

Wheaton Classic:
The top eight seeds at this year's Wheaton Classic are Marist, Benet, Sandburg, Hinsdale South, Libertyville, Naperville North, Naperville Central and Evanston, Play begins Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at Wheaton North and Wheaton South high schools. The Gold Division finals will be held Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Marist gets back on track after opening loss

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Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)

1. Marist 2-1 (1)

After losing its opener to Hinsdale South, Marist got back on track Wednesday with a 25-7, 25-17 victory at Wheaton North. Mallory Salis had 10 kills and 14 digs and Morgan Murphy added 12 assists and four digs. The RedHawks then followed up that win with a 25-8, 25-15 victory over Whitney Young on Thursday. Mark Tuesday, September 11 on your calendar. That's when McAuley pays a visit to 115th and Kedzie. Next up: a trip to York on Wednesday.

2. Mother McAuley 3-0 (2)

The Mighty Macs got a scare from Downers Grove South but pulled out a 25-15, 23-25, 29-27 victory behind sophomore Kelsey Clarke's nine kills and 32 assists from junior Courtney Joyce. Earlier in the week, McCauley took down Lockport behind Ryann DeJarld's 10 digs and five kills and Clarke's five kills and two blocks. The Mighty Macs travel to Mt. Assisi on Tuesday, then face a brutal schedule the following week with matches at Marist and at home against St. Francis.

3. Benet 7-0 (5)

The surprising Redwings had little trouble with York last week, winning handily behind Cara Mattaliano's 10 kills and nine kills from Brittany Pavich. Libero Sheila Doyle, who was named tournament MVP of the Benet invite, added 12 digs. Benet has a light week with only one match on tap, a trip to Neuqua Valley on Wednesday, before a big week the following week which includes a visit from Downers Grove North on Monday and the Wheaton Classic Wednesday and Saturday.

4. St. Francis 5-0 (3)

St. Francis coach Peg Kopec notched career victory No. 1,100 Saturday at Fremd when the Spartans held off (Milwaukee, Wis.) Pius XI 25-23, 25-22 in the finals of the early Bird Classic. Maddie Haggerty had 11 kills against the Lady Popes, freshman Molly Haggerty added seven kills, Mary Boken had five kills and McKenna Kelsay added 29 assists. Next up: a visit from Immaculate Conception on Wednesday before the Spartans hit the road to Effingham for the Crossroads Classic, where St. Francis is the top seed.

5. Sandburg 3-0 (6)

All that extra practice paid off as Sandburg opened its season by sweeping the Lyons quad on Friday, defeating Lake Forest 25-12, 25-14, Lyons 25-17, 25-20 and York 25-18, 25-19. Sandburg will spend another week in the gymnasium working on whatever weaknesses coach David Vales discerned Friday before heading into the meat of its schedule with a visit by Stagg September 10 and a trip to the Wheaton Classic the following Wednesday and Saturday.

6. Glenbard West 12-0 (7)

The Hilltoppers had a successful week with a championship at Joliet Central and victories over a fairly solid Trinity team (25-19, 25-19) and a young Glenbard East (25-15, 25-11) squad. Northwestern recruit Caleigh Ryan led Glenbard West against Trinity with four kills and 27 assists, Amanda Perry added nine kills, six digs and an ace, and "Is-she-a-libero, is-she-a-hitter?" Meg DeMarr had five kills and 14 digs. Next up: a visit by Hinsdale Central on Tuesday. Circle Tuesday, September 18, when Glenbard West visits Lyons.

7. Naperville Central 1-0 (7)

The Redhawks opened the season with an impressive 25-17, 25-16 victory over visiting Downers Grove North on Tuesday. Five-foot-11 middle hitter Sammi Condon led the Redhawks with six kills and a block, all in the second game, and Alyssa Baznik and Kendall Ward each had four kills. Setter Abbi Williamson added 15 assists. All eyes will be on Naperville Thursday when West Aurora pays a visit in an early DuPage Valley Conference showdown. Next up: Tuesday at Glenbard East.

8. West Aurora 11-1 (10)

West Aurora rallied from a Game One loss on Saturday to defeat Glenbard South 19-25, 26-24, 25-15 for the title of its own tournament. The Blackhawks also defeated Wheaton Academy (25-11, 25-12), Plainfield South (25-22, 25-16) and Marengo (25-4, 25-11) in pool play and turned back Sycamore (25-11, 29-27) in the semifinals. Earlier in the week, Lauren Carlini had 10 kills, 13 assists and an impressive 10-point service run and Peyton McKenzie added three kills as West Aurora defeated Geneva.

9. Stevenson 8-0 (NR)

The Patriots snapped a string of eight consecutive losses to Cary-Grove with a 25-21, 25-17 victory Saturday to win the Jacobs Invitational. Six-foot-1 senior middle hitter and Northern Illinois recruit Jenna Radtke led Stevenson with 11 kills with 6 blocks and all-tournament selection Lisa Pflugradt added eight kills. Earlier, the Patriots defeated St. Ignatius 14-25, 25-20, 25-22. Stevenson, one of the tallest teams in the state with 6-2 junior middle Julia Osmond and 6-4 rightside Cara Maleski, will face a stern test Monday, September 10 when it visits Hersey.

10. St. Ignatius 7-2 (4)

A tough and busy week for the Wolfpack, who lost to Providence early in the week despite Rachelle Lock's six kills then dropped a heartbreaking 14-25, 25-20, 25-22 decision to eventual champion Stevenson at the Jacobs tournament on Saturday. But St. Ignatius bounced back from that loss to defeat the host Eagles 25-20, 26-24 for third place. Sophia Dodd had seven kills and three assists in a 25-18, 25-9 win over Resurrection earlier in the week. Next up: Queen of Peace on Tuesday.

Joliet Catholic, Marian Catholic, Providence, New Trier, Naperville North, Nazareth, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Palatine, Cary-Grove, Hersey, Libertyville, Crystal Lake South, Hinsdale South, Lincoln-Way Central, Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Marian Central, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Rosary, Stagg, Glenbard South, Montini, Lemont, Carmel.

Quote of the week:
"Effingham has many teams we don't know about, teams from St. Louis, teams from Kentucky, from Indiana. It's kind of a mini-ASICs Challenge. That's what it's developing into. They are trying to make it bigger every year." - St. Francis coach Peg Kopec on her team's trip to the Crossroads Classic this weekend.

Quote II:
"We're much better this year. It's because we have eight seniors and we have been in the program for four years. Just being in the program together and helping each other out. We just clicked. Staying in school, being in the same classes...we just have a bond. We have the greatest chemistry. We just mesh." - Palatine's 6-1 senior outside hitter Taylor Fricano.

Jacobs all-tournament:Liza Pflugradt, Annie Geocaris (Stevenson); Mallory Wilczynski, Jess Bartczyszyn (Cary-Grove); Camille Evans, Kristi May (St. Ignatius); Alyssa Ehrhardt, Kassie Kasper (Jacobs); Abby Fesi, Taylor Schill (Hersey); Ruby Hunt, Arianna Salas (Evanston); Lauren Leverenz, Krissy Pratt (Crystal Lake Central); Jen Dumoulin, Juliana Gass (Hampshire); Hope Demel, Taylor Powers (Elgin).

Crossroads Classic St. Francis is seeded No. 1 and shares a pool with Illiana Christian and Paducah (Ky.) Lone Oak. Naperville Central is seeded No. 3 and shares a pool with Hermann (Mo.) and East Peoria. Indianapolis (Ind.) Chatard is seeded second and Henry Clay of Lexington (Ky.) is seeded fourth. Play begins Friday.

Player of the Week: Marist's Elyse Panick had 14 kills in two matches including 10 in a 25-8, 25-13 victory over Whitney Young. Panick also had two blocks and three digs.

Game of the Week: Lincoln-Way East def. Downers Grove North 25-23, 25-12
Lincoln-Way East's Sarah Buchbach was a spectator much of last season. This year, people have to keep an eye on her.

Buchbach, a 5-foot-7 senior outside hitter, had six kills, 14 service points and an ace to lead Lincoln-Way East (3-0) to a 25-23, 25-12 win over Downers Grove North Tuesday in Downers Grove.

"It's exciting," Buchbach said. "It's nice being part of everything, contributing to the team. It was definitely worth the wait."

While Buchbach's offense got a lot of attention Tuesday, her defense opened a few eyes, too.

"Sarah had a good match," Lincoln-Way East coach Linda Vivona said. "She has really stepped up and become a big contributor. We had her for six kills and 14 service points, but her defense was really strong as well.

"She's very agile," the coach added. "She got to couple balls that look like they were out of play, and that's contagious. When someone sees that, they're willing to throw their body around and chase a ball that's 20 feet out of bounds.

"You see that and say, 'Hey, I got to do that, too," Vivona said. "When somebody sets a bar that high, you have to step up if you're on the same side of the court. I was really pleased with her performance today."

Lincoln-Way East jumped out to an 18-12 lead in Game One, but Downers North rallied to within 24-23 on a kill by 6-foot-1 junior Katherine Mahlke before Jessica Lindsey ended it with a nice putaway off a backset by Taylor Nirchi.

In Game Two, the Griffins extended an 8-6 lead to 20-10 on another Lindsey kill. Downers Grove North coach Mark Wasik tried to slow the visitors by burning both of his timeouts, but the hosts could not find the magic that produced an 11-6 run late in Game One.

"I think both teams hurt themselves with service errors in Game One, then when we started to make a run in Game Two they just got out of system," Vivona said. "I think they lost a little heart."

Nirchi contributed 14 assists and an ace, Jessica Lindsey had five kills and Marissa DeGroot added four kills. Mahlke paced Downers Grove North (0-3) with 10 kills and freshman Mary Helen Beacom added nine assists.

"We did graduate three key players, but I think the girls are working hard, they have set their goals high, the chemistry is good and they have a lot of fight them," Vivona said.

"Hopefully, if they stay focused, push real hard throughout matches even when they have their backs against the wall, they'll come out on top."

Don't get down on the Dukes:
York has been one of the top teams in the Chicago area the past several years. So a 4-7 start is very uncharacteristic. But the Dukes are finally getting healthy - 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter Amy Nosek made her first start of the season Tuesday against Proviso West - and still have one of the best hitters around in Oakland (Mich.) recruit Melissa Deatsch.

"We've have kids come in who normally would not have gotten the chance to play," coach Patty Iverson said. "We've seen some really great things from girls like (junior) Claudia Zerdin. She ended up playing a lot for us this year and I wouldn't have known that she would be that strong if she didn't have to take that position.

"The same with the freshman (Alexandra) Preuss, " the coach added. "She would not have played if Amy (Nosek) hadn't gone out. She's the one who stepped in until she got a concussion. Basically, I've been running everybody in. It's pretty exciting. We're very young, but were very athletic and taller than we've ever been."

Other players to watch for York include 6-foot junior middle Molly Schlecht, 5-11 junior setter Rachel Iverson and 5-6 freshman libero Halle Truett.

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