By Pat Brozynski

January 2013 Archives

Small schools tip off state tournament next week

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The IHSA Class 1A and 2A tournaments get underway next week with the area's Class 2A teams feeding into the Concordia University Supersectional on February 18.

Walther Lutheran and Lisle, the two top teams in the Lisle sectional, should meet on Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the finals of the Immaculate Conception regional. The other top seeds in the Lisle sectional are Noble Street Charter, Willows Academy and Chicago Academy.

On the other side of the bracket, the Seton sectional features Chicago University High and Agricultural Science. They would meet in a sectional semifinal at Seton Academy at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 11 with the winner likely facing either Seton or Cristo Rey in the finals February 14.


St. Joseph is peaking at the right time.

Less than a month ago, the Chargers lost to Girls Catholic Athletic Conference foe Resurrection 59-36. Monday in the quarterfinals of the GCAC Red Tournament, St. Joseph nearly upset the No. 4 seed before losing 51-47.

"The Lady Chargers have been starting to put it together of late and this game was a test of how much they have improved," St. Joseph coach Jim Maley said. "We knew we needed to defend a good three-point shooting team and allowed only one in the first half."

Chanel Brown led St. Joseph with 23 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Shaakera Jones added 17 points and five rebounds.


The Quote: "You tell the kids you can make excuses or you can get results. Ever since Maggie (Dansdill) went out early in the year, Kelly (Langlas) went out and Diamond (Thompson) went out and now Sierra (Bisso) is out, guess what? We keep getting results." - Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Kroehnke after his team lost Sierra Bisso to an ACL injury last week.

The Quote, Part II: "At some point, we're going to catch a break." - Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas, who lost 6-2 forward Anna Petersen and point guard Bria Walker to ACL injuries within three weeks of each other.

*** has released its preseason rankings of the top club teams in the country in the 18s, 17s, 16s and 15s age groups. Local clubs are among the top 10 in all four age divisions with Club Fusion to No. 1 choice among the 17s and Sports Performance the preseason choice among the 15s.

Club Fusion's 17s is led by Richmond-Burton's Ali Frantti, who led the Rockets to second-place in the IHSA Class 3A state tournament. The 2012 AAU National champions in 16 Open also boast former Milwaukee Sting outside hitter Simone Lee, Penn State recruit Bryanna Weiskircher of Rockford Boylan, and St. Francis libero Samantha Dubiel.

Also ranked No. 1 in the country is Sports Performance's 15 Elite team which is led by three players who played up last year and were the offensive focal points of team that went 9-1 at AAU Nationals. The three are 6-1 setter/outside hitter Molly Haggerty of St. Francis, 6-1 setter/outside Mackenzi Welsh of Plainfield East and 6-2 outside Allie Lindroth of Plainfield North.

Sports Performance's 18 Elite team is ranked eighth in the preseason thanks to the presence of Lauren Carlini, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, outside Alysia Baznik, middle hitter Sammy Condon, and juniors Maddie Haggerty of St. Francis, all-around attacker Annika Albrecht and Benet middle hitter Brittany Pavich.

1st Alliance 16 Silver comes in at No. 3 behind setter/hitter Hannah Juley, 6-2 Julia Sanders, 6-3 middle blocker Symone Speech and libero Riley Burchett. Newcomers include 6-3 middle/outside Mary Boken from St. Francis and 6-foot outside Lexi Mantas of Stagg.

Also among the 16s is No. 7 Michio, which features members of the USAV 15 Open national championship team. Eight players return from last year's squad, including Mother McAuley outsides Kennedy Arundel, Maggie Scanlon and Ryann Dejarld, middles Kristin Somerville (St. Ignatius) and Kelsey Clark and libero Carla Cahill.

Girls city championship quest begins Tuesday

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all-area.jpgWest Aurora's Lauren Carlini (top row, far right) and Benet's Sheila Doyle (bottom row, third from right) were named to Volleyball Magazine's All-America First Team recently. Benet setter Hannah Kaminsky (top row, third from left) was a third-team selection.

Defending state champion Whitney Young will be the top seed when the Chicago Public Schools Girls City Championship Tournament begins Tuesday with first-round games. The second round will be played Thursday with the quarterfinals on Saturday, January 26 at Chicago State's Jacoby Dickens Arena.

The tournament continues with the semifinals at 5:15 and 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30 at Chicago State's Jacoby Dickens Arena. The championship will be played at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at the Jones Convocation Center on the Chicago State campus.

Morgan Park is the second seed and will open with 31st-seeded Hope. Bogan is seeded No. 3 and opens with No. 30 seed Austin. Taft received the fourth seed and hosts Longwood in its tournament opener. Rounding out the top eight seeds are Phillips, Payton, North Lawndale and Hyde Park.


Hillcrest's Dana Gettis will try to become the 14th player in school history to score 1,000 points in her career Thursday against T.F. North. Gettis is at 429 points on the season (20.4 points per game) and 999 for her career. The 5-foot-9 senior guard has also added 94 rebounds, 114 assists, 86 steals and 32 three-pointers for the 16-5 Hawks.


Metea Valley guard Bria Walker was expected to have an MRI performed on her right knee Monday after she injured it in the Mustangs' loss to Morgan Park Saturday at the McDonald's Shootout at Willowbrook High School.

Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas is hopeful but not optimistic that it's not an ACL injury.

"Possibly, it's just a hamstring, but possibly it's an ACL," Kalivas said. "She jump-stopped. That's what scares me, the way she jump-stopped. That's usually an ACL injury. She had one on her other knee as a freshman and she said it felt the same."

If the 5-6 senior Walker is done for the season, she would be the second starter the Mustangs have lost this season. Metea Valley's 6-2 senior forward Anna Petersen, also a standout softball performer, injured an ACL in the championship game of the Oswego East holiday tournament.


West Aurora's Lauren Carlini and Benet's Sheila Doyle have been named to Volleyball Magazine's 2012 All-America First Team.

Ebony Nwanebu, a 6-4 outside hitter from Lovejoy High School in Lucas, Texas, was named the magazine's Player of the Year after amassing 701 kills for the Texas Class 4A state champions.

Other first-team members included Amber and Kadie Rolfzien of Papillion-La Vista South (Neb.), who led their team to the mythical national championship, and 6-3 middle hitter Taylor Paulson of Asics Challenge champion Assumption (Louisville, Ken.).

Hannah Kaminsky, a 5-11 senior setter who led Benet to a second consecutive state championship and who recently committed to Southern Illinois, was a third-team selection.


Montini coach Jason Nichols said earlier this year that he intended to make the Montini Christmas Tournament the girls' equivalent of Proviso West. He is well on his way toward making that goal a reality.

Nichols announced Monday that Trinity, Geneva and DeKalb will join the field next season, and he is close to adding a fourth powerhouse - possibly Neuqua Valley - by the end of this week.

This season's field included Montini, Marian Catholic, Rolling Meadows and Plainfield East, all ranked in the top 10 at the time, as well as Fremd and Bogan.


The Quote: "I told them (his players) after the game that they could have held that team to 28 points. I know that's kind of a jerk move, but that is just the way I think. We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but that's what they are. We didn't give up a ton. A great win by our kids." - Nichols after his team's 51-36 victory over No. 1-ranked Whitney Young Monday at the McDonald's Shootout.


The Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red Division tournament starts Monday, January 28 with four quarterfinal games and concludes Saturday, February 2 with the championship at Trinity at 6:30 p.m.

The four quarterfinal games Monday are: St. Ignatius (8) at Trinity (1), 5:30 p.m.; Resurrection (4) vs. St. Joseph (5) at Trinity, 7:00 p.m.; Loyola (3) vs. Queen of Peace (6) at Mother McAuley, 7:00 p.m.; and Regina (7) at McAuley (2), 5:30 p.m.

The semifinals are Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Trinity, and the third-place game (4:00 p.m.) and championship (6:30 p.m.) are Saturday at Trinity.

Catch the McDonald's Classic on HighSchoolCube

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18 mizuno 2.jpgSports Performance Volleyball Club's 18 Mizuno team won the recent Palos Courts Invitational.

Sports Performance Volleyball Club's 18 Mizuno team finished 8-0 and its 17 Mizuno team went 6-1 to win the Palos Courts Invitational January 12-13. SPVB 16 Mizuno finished second in its division.

All-tournament selections in their respective divisions included: MVP Jeff Jendryk (St. Francis) of SPVB 18 Mizuno; best attacker Mike Gulczynski (Bartlett) of SPVB 18 Mizuno; best setter Gert Lisha (Naperville North) of SPVB 18 Mizuno; and MVP Jared Wilcox (Wheaton Warrenville South) of SPVB 17 Mizuno.

Also, best setter Marko Kostich (Lyons) of SPVB 17 Mizuno; best libero Tyler Zowaski (Downers Grove South) of SPVB 17 Mizuno; best attacker Will Tischler (Downers Grove South) of SPVB 16 Mizuno; and best setter Nidhin Thomas (Schaumburg) of SPVB 16 Mizuno.

The 2013 USA Volleyball Boys' Junior National Championships will be played at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nev. on June 26-July 4.

*** recently released its list of the National Senior Player of the Year candidates. The list featured two players from Illinois, West Aurora's Lauren Carlini and setter Hannah Kaminsky of two-time Class 4A state champion Benet.

Carlini started the fall season by being named the No. 1 recruit nationally in her class by The 6-foot-2 Wisconsin signee then led the Blackhawks to a 32-6 mark and their first regional title in 15 years.

Carlini finished the season with 333 kills, 303 assists, 156 digs and 92 aces. She was not only the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year and the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, she was also named the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

Kaminsky, a 5-11 senior, was named First Team All-Area by the Chicago Sun-Times after compiling 1,041 assists this fall and leading Benet (40-2) to victory in every tournament in which it competed during her tenure, including the Illinois Class 4A state tournament.

The nominees also included 6-1 outside hitter and University of Illinois signee Michelle Strizak of Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio), the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year who led her team to a 25-1 record with 401 kills, 232 digs, 48 service aces and 26 blocks.

*** will stream the McDonald's Chicagoland Classic January 18-21 at Willowbrook High School live. The girls basketball shootout schedule features:

Friday, January 18
Guerin vs. St. Ignatius, 6:00 p.m.
Warren vs. Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 19
Prospect vs. Bogan, 11:00 a.m.
Wheaton North vs. Maine West, 12:30 p.m.
Metea Valley vs. Morgan Park, 2:00 p.m.
Romeoville vs. Geneva, 3:30 p.m.
Fremd vs. Neuqua Valley, 5:00 p.m.
Hillcrest vs. Wheaton Warrenville South, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, January 21
Andrew vs. Niles West, 9:00 a.m.
Vernon Hills vs. Benet, 10:30 a.m.
Plainfield North vs. Willowbrook, 12:00 p.m.
Rolling Meadows vs. Fenwick, 1:30 p.m.
Marist vs. Trinity, 3:00 p.m.
Bloom vs. Providence, 4:30 p.m.
Bolingbrook vs. Marian Catholic, 6:00 p.m.
Montini vs. Whitney Young, 7:30 p.m.


The Quote, Part I: "We beat ourselves. It sounds stupid because we lost by 20, but they don't do anything special, and if you get the ball in the right places and you don't hang your head and you stay composed, the game's pretty easy. As good as we were Tuesday, that's as bad as we were tonight. The kids weren't motivated, they didn't have good energy, conference is on the line and playing rival across town. I'm at a loss. I don't have an answer." - Metea Valley coach Kris Kalivas after her team's 60-43 home loss to Neuqua Valley last Friday in a Upstate Eight Valley Division showdown.

The Quote, Part II: "We're just going through a tough stretch. We're playing tough team after tough team after tough team. We just have to keep the faith, believe in what we're doing and keep working hard. It'll all come together one of these games." - Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly after the RedHawks' 59-44 loss to Marian Catholic last Saturday, the team's fifth loss in six games. recently released its final rankings for the 2012 season.

The rankings from 101-250 are largely ceremonial, designed to recognize teams for their outstanding seasons rather than meticulously determine their place in the national pecking order.

2012 Final Century Club National Rankings

1. Papillion-La Vista South (Papillion, Nebraska) Final record: 41-1; Last week's ranking: 1 Pre-season Ranking: 3 The Titans were a pre-season candidate for the top spot, thanks to their three incredible seniors, setter Kelly Hunter and hitters Amber Rolfzen and Kadie Rolfzen. But a lack of experience in most other positions pushed them down a few pegs. The team got a scare early from Iowa's Western Christian, but entered the Nfinifty Battle on the Plains unbeaten. Papio South lost its first match of the battle, snapping a three-year unbeaten streak, to No. 2 Assumption, but rallied from a Game 1 loss to then-No. 1 Torrey Pinesto win in three. Led by their dynamic senior trio, as well as senior MB Katie Kurtz, senior RS Olivia Schonewise and freshman libero Raegan LeGrand, the Titans did not lose again. Head coach Gwen Egbert's 700th career win came in the Class A championship victory over Omaha Marian. The victory capped a three-year run in which Papio South lost a total of one match.

13. Benet Academy Final record: 40-2; Last week's ranking: 13 Pre-season Ranking: "School to Watch" Benet was won the Illinois 4A title the past two years. In neither year did the Redwings start the season as favorites, though the 2012 title was certainly more surprising, as the team graduated two All-Americans, then saw a stud outside hitter, Maddie Haggerty, transfer to Wheaton St. Francis and help the Spartans win the Class 3A title. Coach Brad Baker said before the year that his team would be better defensively and he always belied that his squad would fare better than expected. With Sheila Doyle anchoring the back row, setter Hannah Kaminsky dishing as well as any full-time setter in the state and Cara Mattaliano picking up the slack big time on offense, Benet made believers of every team it came across.

21. New Trier Final record: 39-2

36. Mother McAuley Final record: 36-5; Last week's ranking: 36 Pre-season Ranking: 22 The Mighty Macs took third in the state in 2012, a great season considering how many underclassmen got the lion's share of playing time. In 2013 and 2014, however, anything less than everything might not be good enough for a team that hasn't won state since 2004. All starters will be back, including All-Area performers Courtney Joyce (setter), Carla Cahill (libero) and Ryann DeJarld (OH).

41. Marist Final record: 29-6; Last week's ranking: 41 Pre-season Ranking: 14 Senior dominated, this was Marist's year to win state. A shocking loss to Lincoln-Way Central two matches shy of another showdown with local rival Mother McAuley ended the Redhawks' season and now, barring an infusion of youthful talent, they may be looking up at the Mighty Macs for the next several years.

47. St. Francis Final record: 37-5; Last week's ranking: 47 Pre-season Ranking: 26 The Spartans won state for the first time since 2006 this past fall. Many will return in 2013, including Haggerty sisters Molly and Maddie and Mary Boken, making a repeat for venerable coach Peg Kopec a distinct possibility.

66. Joliet Catholic Final record: 32-7; Last week's ranking: 66 Pre-season Ranking: Not ranked. The Angels authored an eighth consecutive 30-win season in 2012, but lost out on a chance to get Downstate in a three-set loss to nemesis Wheaton St. Francis, the 3A champions. OH Morgan Reardon, who graduates fourth on the school's all-time kills list, is one of seven seniors on the 2012 team. The 2013 JCA squad will be young, with only three seniors, but talented, coach Chris Scheibe says.

118. Libertyville Final record: 34-6

140. Glenbard West Final record: 37-3

175. Edwardsville Final record: 32-9

176. West Aurora Final record: 32-6

193. Sandburg Final Record: 29-9 Not many Illinois teams were as hot mid-season as Sandburg, which was ousted by Mother McAuley in a sectional semifinal, 25-23 in the deciding set. The Eagles graduate three studs, Dakota Hampton, Paige Bendell and Kristy Theisen, but with 10 returning players, including sophomore setter Sami Knight, David Vales expects to put another very competitive team on the floor next fall.

194. Richmond-Burton Final record: 35-6 Richmond-Burton reached the state 3A Final Four this fall in the best season in its history, which included a record 23-0 start to the year. Conference player of the year Ali Frantti will return but the five seniors will be hard to replace.

195. Champaign Centennial Final record: 37-5

Illinois' Top 50

1. Benet 38-2
2. New Trier 39-1
3. Mother McAuley 36-4
4. Marist 31-6
5. St. Francis 35-5
6. Joliet Catholic 32-7
7. Libertyville 34-6
8. Glenbard West 37-3
9. Edwardsville 32-9
10. West Aurora 32-6
11. Sandburg 29-9
12. Richmond-Burton 35-6
13. Champaign Centennial 37-5
14. Breese Mater Dei 36-7
15. Naperville Central 28-9
16. Prairie Ridge 30-10
17. Hinsdale South 31-8
18. Stagg 31-8
19. Marian Catholic 28-9
20. Stevenson 34-4
21. Lincoln-Way Central 29-9
22. Lemont 26-13
23. Naperville North 27-9
24. Hinsdale Central 14-26
25. St. Ignatius 28-10
26. Rockford Boylan 32-3
27. Springfield 25-9-1
28. Quincy 34-2
29. O'Fallon 33-7
30. Crystal Lake South 26-10
31. Providence 25-12
32. Geneva 30-8
33. Palatine 27-12
34. Hersey 32-6
35. Trinity 26-9
36. Nazareth 24-14
37. St Charles East 25-13
38. Chicago Christian 24-16
39. Plainfield North 27-9
40. Oak Lawn 25-8
41. Jacksonville 30-10
42. Metamora 30-9
43. Columbia 35-3-1
44. Deer-Creek Mackinaw 38-1
45. Dakota 37-5
46. Port Byron (Riverdale) 33-4
47. Albion (Edwards County) 35-7
48. Keith Country Day 33-7
49. Mt. Pulaski 33-9
50. Kansas (Tri-County) 36-3


Abby Willett, a 5-foot-11 senior rightside hitter who helped Benet Academy win its second straight Class 4A state title, has committed to play volleyball for Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

"I committed to Rollins because they play the same level of volleyball that I play," said Willett, who plays club for 1st Alliance. "I loved the coaches and the girls, and the school is just beautiful. It just seemed to fall into place."

Cara Mattaliano, a 6-foot senior outside hitter who led Benet in kills last fall, has committed to play volleyball for Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

"I chose Princeton because I love the way I can get a great education and have a competitive volleyball experience," said Mattaliano, who also plays club for 1st Alliance.

Everything not so sunny in Florida for Marist

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Marist lost three of four games at the Naples (Fla.) Holiday Shootout last weekend.

The RedHawks lost to eventual champion Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett 69-42 in their opener, and after a 53-22 win over Barron Collier, fell to Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh 51-48 and New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton 71-63.

"The girls got pretty beat up down there," Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. "But by the last day, everybody knew what to expect. We played really, really well the last game.

"The girls learned that there's always somebody better than you, and that's why you keep coming to practice and working on your game," the coach added.

There was a bright side to the trip...a real bright and sunny side.

"It was phenomenal down there," Connolly said. "Every day was close to 80 degrees. The girls went to the beach twice, visited downtown Naples, did some shopping. We did a lot of things outside basketball that the girls had a lot of fun doing and really helped build team chemistry."

JeTaun Rouse led the RedHawks with 83 points in four games including 30 in the loss to Owings Mills, but was not named to the all-tournament team.

"My favorite part was when we had dinner at a restaurant just off the beach," Rouse said. "The scenery was beautiful."


Who had the most impressive performance of the holiday tournament season?

With Fremd's 6-foot sophomore guard Haley Gorecki sidelined by injury, everybody at the Montini tournament knew where the ball was going. But the Vikings' 5-foot-9 senior guard Ashley McConnell was still virtually unstoppable.

McConnell had 35 points in a 64-47 victory over Proviso West, 22 points in a 59-41 loss to No. 2 Marian Catholic, 38 points in a 62-47 victory over Zion-Benton, and 14 points in her team's 40-39 win over Romeoville.

But the non-committed senior credited her teammates for her success.

"We've come together as a team," McConnell said. "Obviously, losing Haley is a big impact, but we've been coming together, setting screens, executing our plays, pushing the ball, getting stops on defense. It's a team effort.

McConnell played the entire 32 minutes in all four games at Montini, but looked like she could go another 32 minutes after her 38-point effort against the Zee-Bees.

"I don't get tired," she said. "He's (Fremd coach Dave Yates) pretty good at conditioning us."


Rolling Meadows led Montini 31-21 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter of the championship game at the Montini Christmas Tourmanent, but it was all Broncos after that. The hosts went on a 21-2 run to put the Mustangs away.

Alexis Glasgow led Rolling Meadows (16-1) with 16 points, but had just two points after halftime. Tournament MVP Jackie Kemph finished with only nine points after scoring 88 her previous three games, and Jenny Vliet added six.

"We had opportunities to extend it a little bit, we just didn't perform very well against their zone," Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. "We became a little too stagnant and didn't push the ball as much as we wanted to. That's a credit to them. They had a good game plan against us.

"We kind of rushed some things sometimes," he added. "We wanted to go in-out before taking a shot. We didn't continue to execute throughout the game."

Rolling Meadows led 23-19 at the break, but could have enjoyed a bigger lead had the Mustangs converted a few more free throws (5 of 10) and shots from the field (7 of 33).

"Some of the missed layups...that had something to do with the length and quickness of Montini," Kirkorsky said. "We told the kids they're good shooters and the shots are going to fall, but it was a matter of playing their style of game instead of our style."


You can bet Bogan will be on time in the future.

The Bengals (13-2), led by Cincinnati recruit Brandy Tarver, won the consolation title at Montini. But had the Bogan bus not been 15 minutes late getting to Lombard and the Bengals able to warm up prior to their game with Batavia, they might have been able to advance to the championship bracket.

Bogan defeated St. Francis de Sales, Oak Park and Proviso West to win the backdraw.


Quote: "We were just tango dancing out there." - Plainfield East coach Missy Mitidiero about the physical play and numerous foul calls in the Bengals' loss to Marian Catholic in the third-place game at Montini.


Named to the all-tournament team at Montini were MVP Jackie Kemph of Rolling Meadows, Kateri Stone (Montini), Ashley McConnell (Fremd), Malayna Johnson (Montini), Teniya Page (Marian Catholic) and Alexis Glasgow (Rolling Meadows).

Named to the second team were Nikia Edom (Plainfield East), Ashton Millender (Marian Catholic), Kiera Currie (Romeoville), Megan Walsh (Marian Catholic) and Faith Suggs (Plainfield East).

Named to the all-tournament team at St. Viator were Erin Fabbri and Michelle Presslak (St. Viator); Shaylee Sloan, Elonta Slowak and Jasleen Gonzalez (Maine East); Sidney Montano and Tina Guarino (Fenton); Rebecca Bartnicki and Allison Stieber (Guerin); Joanna Bukowinski (Elmwood Park); and Victoria Galizia (Leyden).

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