By Pat Brozynski

Benet No. 13 in Prepvolleyball.com's final top 250

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Prepvolleyball.com 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.


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This page contains a single entry by Back Row published on January 9, 2013 7:38 PM.

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