Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams
(Last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Mother McAuley 20-2 (1)
On the heels of their third-place finish at the Asics Challenge, the Mighty Macs defeated GCAC rivals St. Ignatius (25-20, 25-16), Mt. Assisi and Resurrection last week. This week, McAuley will tune up for what many people hope will be a showdown with Benet at the Autumnfest tournament hosted by Glenbard East with road trips to Queen of Peace on Tuesday and Trinity on Wednesday. McAuley wraps up the regular season at Lyons on October 17 followed by its annual ceremonial crowning at the GCAC tournament.
2. Marist 20-5 (2)
Marist bounced back from a fourth-place finish at the Asics Challenge to defeat East Suburban Catholic Conference rivals Marian Catholic 25-22, 25-16 and Fenwick 25-14, 30-28. Kelly Marcinek helped the RedHawks hold off the Friars with 10 kills and Taylor Holder added 14 assists and five digs. Elyse Panick powered Marist over Marian Catholic with nine kills, two blocks and 10 digs. Tuesday, Marist hosts Joliet Catholic before closing out the regular season with a trip to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions October 19-21.
3. Benet 24-2 (3)
A big week for the Redwings included a 25-14, 25-22 win at always-hostile (but in a good way) Joliet Catholic on Thursday and a third tournament championship in as many tries Saturday at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament. Benet defeated downstate power Edwardsville 25-14, 25-21 in the quarterfinals, regional rival Naperville Central 25-23, 25-23 in the semifinals and surprising finalist Lincoln-Way Central 25-5, 25-19 for the championship. How is this for a road to state - a regional final against Naperville Central and a sectional semifinal against West Aurora?
4. Joliet Catholic 23-4 (4)
The Angels defeated Providence 25-20, 25-15 behind eight kills apiece by Morgan Reardon and Julia Shemaitis and Hinsdale Central last week before cooling off a little with losses to Benet at home Thursday and Lincoln-Way Central 25-18, 25-11 in the semifinals of the Mizuno Scholastic Cup. Joliet Catholic did bounce back with a 27-25, 25-16 win over Naperville Central in the third-place match at the Great lakes Volleyball Center. It doesn't get any easier this week. Tuesday, the Angels visit Marist.
5. Glenbard West 27-0 (5)
The drought is finally over. The Hilltoppers clinched at least a share of their first West Suburban Conference title since 1984 with a 25-18, 25-17 Silver division victory over York last week. Caleigh Ryan led the way with four kills and 11 digs, Amanda Perry added seven kills and eight digs, and Katie Ball contributed four kills and two blocks. Now the Hilltoppers really get a chance to show what they're made of when they put their unbeaten record on the line at Autumnfest this weekend.
6. New Trier 25-0 (7)
New Trier rarely gets challenge in the Central Suburban League - last week was no different with a 25-7, 25-4 win over Waukegan - so at least Libertyville offered some resistance in the finals of the Discovery tournament at Glenbrook North. Despite trailing 17-11 in Game 1 and 18-11 in Game 2, the Trevians rallied for a 25-23, 25-21 victory. New Trier figures to have an easy road in the state tournament as well with only Trinity standing between them and berth in the Niles West supersectional.
7. West Aurora 23-3 (6)
A tough week for the Blackhawks. First, there was the 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 loss at Naperville Central on Tuesday despite 15 kills from Peyton McKenzie and eight kills, 16 assists and five blocks by Lauren Carlini, then there was the 25-19, 25-16 loss to New Trier in the semifinals of the Discovery tournament at Glenbrook North. West Aurora did come back to beat Nazareth for third place. The Blackhawks have another challenging week with a visit by DuPage Valley foe Naperville North Thursday and Autumnfest on the weekend.
8. St. Francis 26-5 (8)
The Spartans took care of business last week, defeating Rosary (25-13, 25-22), Immaculate Conception (25-8, 25-13) and Downers Grove South (25-8, 21-25, 25-14). Maddie Haggerty had 12 kills against Rosary, Becca Shearer led the way with six putaways against IC and Molly Haggerty had 14 kills against Downers South. A light week with a visit from Marian Central Catholic on Wednesday before the Spartans close out the regular season with home dates with Aurora Central Catholic and Chicago Christian the following Monday and Wednesday.
9. Libertyville 18-4 (9)
A frustrating final against New Trier at the Discovery tournament on Saturday. Libertyville led 17-11 in Game 1 and 18-11 in Game 2 before failing to finish the Trevians in a 25-23, 25-21 loss. Libertyville got caught in a difficult rotation at the end of Game 1 and lost rightside Taylor Zant in Game 2 when she stepped on a New Trier player's foot. Cindy Zhou led Libertyville with 11 assists, four aces and two kills after getting 14 kills in a semifinal win against Nazareth. Libero Kristen Webb had 22 digs in the final.
10. (tie) Naperville Central 20-6(NR)
Why does Benet coach fear playing Naperville Central in a regional final at Naperville Central? The Redhawks gave the Redwings all they could handle in a 25-23, 25-23 semifinal loss at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament on Saturday after they downed West Aurora 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 earlier in the week. The veteran Central team is led by outsides Alyssa Baznik, Kendall Ward and Sammy Condon and gets great work in the back row from libero Carly Wesolowski. A player to watch is 6-foot-2 sophomore middle Phoebe Havenaar.
10. (tie) Lincoln-Way Central 20-6(NR)
The surprise team of the weekend was Lincoln-Way Central, which knocked off No. 2 seed Joliet Catholic 25-18, 25-11 and No. 3 seed Hinsdale South 27-25, 25-18 at the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament. An eye opener for visiting college scouts was 5-foot-8 junior outside Maria Brown, who was unstoppable in both matches. But it was 5-10 setter Kaitlyn Siadek who drew the most praise from coach Kathy Sulkowski. Siadek had a "game-changing" solo block at 25-25 in Game 1 against Hinsdale South that propelled the Knights into the semifinals.
Others: Stevenson, Marian Catholic, Providence, Hinsdale South, Sandburg, Stagg, Naperville North, Hersey, Prairie Ridge, Palatine, Richmond-Burton, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Nazareth, Fremd, Crystal Lake South, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, DeLaSalle, St. Ignatius, Rosary, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Lemont, Glenbard South, Trinity, Timothy Christian.
Quote of the Week: "It was like magic. Our defense was crazy good." - Benet setter Hannah Kaminsky about a 25-5 first set in the Redwings' 25-5, 25-19 victory over Lincoln-Way Central in the championship of the Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament at the Great Lakes Volleyball center in Aurora on Saturday.
Milestone: Congratulations to Fremd's Curt Pinley, who recently won his 300th match as girls volleyball coach when the Vikings defeated rival Palatine 25-13, 22-25, 25-15. Pinley has also won more than 350 matches as the school's boys volleyball coach.
Help, I need someone...: Montini is looking for one more team to fill its 16-team Christmas tournament December 26-29. If interested, please call Eric Scott at (630) 627-6930, ext. 174.