Chicago Sun-Times
By Pat Brozynski

November 2013 Archives

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Copy of rush.jpgHinsdale Central junior guard Gabrielle Rush broke her own single-game scoring record last week.


SportsTownChicago.com will sponsor its Fourth Annual Illinois High School Girls Volleyball All Star Game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 30 at Wheaton College.

Expected to play for Team Pink coached by St. Francis' Peg Kopec are: libero Sam Dubiel (St. Francis); setter Katie Olson (LaSalle-Peru); libero Katie Shashack (Edwardsville); libero Allie O'Reilly (Burlington Central); and outside hitter Ali Frantti (Richmond-Burton).

Also, middle blocker Nicole Slimko (Crystal Lake South); outside hitter Kelli Bates (Bradley-Bourbonnais); setter Rachel Minarick (Waubonsie Valley); outside hitter Kyleigh Block (Deer Creek-Mackinaw); and outside hitter Annika Albrecht (home schooled).

Also, setter Emily Workman (Chicago Christian); outside hitter Whitney Beck (Edwards County); setter Kate Federico (Plainfield North); and middle blocker Lauren Leverenz (Crystal Lake Central).

Scheduled to play for Team White coached by Erik Eastman of St. Ignatius College Prep are: outside hitter Jana Brusek (St. Ignatius); libero Caroline Wolf (Benet); setter Courtney Joyce (Mother Mcauley); outside hitter Taylor Krage (St. Charles North); and middle hitter Hannah Davis (Marian Central).

Also, setter Carly Jimenez (St. Charles East); setter Meghan Seymour (Cary-Grove); libero Meg Demaar (Glenbard West); outside hitter Kathryn Malke (Downers Grove North); middle hitter Jaelyn Keene (Jacksonville); and setter Kristen Walding (Lake Zurich).

Also, outside hitter Abby Barrow (Metamora); outside hitter Skyler Day (Minooka); outside hitter Krissa Gearing (Bolingbrook) and middle hitter Sam Pethokoukis (Fenwick).

Preceeding the contest will be the 2013 SportsTownChicago Senior Showcase featuring the top uncommitted seniors who will be showcasing their skills to potential college scouts and coaches. That match tips off at 12 p.m.

***

Top-seeded Ohio University (27-4) capped off a stellar 2013 MAC tournament with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-19 victory over Eastern Michigan University (18-16) in the championship match Sunday to claim the program's eighth MAC tournament title.

Members of the Ohio team include former Cary-Grove star and 2010 Sun-Times Player of the Year Kelly Lamberti, who leads Ohio in kills, former Marian Central setter Abby Gilleland, who was named MAC Player of the Year, and former Marist outside hitter Mallory Salas.

Former Crystal Lake South middle Hannah Burkle is a reserve for the Bobcats.

Sophomore Stacey Perinar of Minooka is a starting outside hitter for Eastern Michigan, which also features former Marist middle hitter Katie Krasowski and junior setter Jill Briner of Oak Park-River Forest.

***

Hinsdale Central's junior guard Gabrielle Rush set a school record in her team's season opening game scoring 39 points in the Red Devil's 62-60 victory over St. Ignatius Thursday at the Hinsdale South tournament.

Rush broke her own record of 36 points in a game she established last season. In addition, Rush's 10th point of the evening put her at the 1,000-point mark for her career.

***

Rush wasn't the only player to crack the 1.000-point barrier last week. Huntley's 6-foot senior forward Sam Andrews got her 1,000th career point as part of a 23-point outburst in a 60-48 victory over St. Viator Friday at the Dundee-Crown tournament.

***

Players to watch: Junior center Ashley Dennis of Rich East scored 29 points and had 18 rebounds in the Rockets' season opener against Eisenhower, then had 21 points against Joliet Catholic and had 39 points and 19 rebounds against Bloom. Chanel Brown of St. Joseph registered her third double-double in four games with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 49-34 victory over St. Francis at Willowbrook on Wednesday.

***

Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, two teams that are in the top five of the Sun-Times rankings, headline the 2013 Mac Irvin Diabetes Awareness Classic at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at Elgin Larkin.

Young returns 6-5 senior center Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 senior forward Taylor Brame from last year's third-place Class 4A finisher and welcomes 5-8 sophomore guard Kiara Lewis, who missed all of last year with injury.

Rolling Meadows returns six of its top seven from last year's Class 4A runner-up including point guard extraordinaire Jackie Kemph, sharpshooting Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.

***

Whitney Young will host the 2013 ChiTown Showdown on Friday-Saturday, December 13-14.

Friday's games feature Champaign Central vs. Harlan at 5 p.m.; Proviso East vs. Morgan Park at 6:30 p.m.; and Huntley vs. Whitney Young at 8 p.m.

Saturday's schedule has Mother McAuley vs. North Lawndale at 11 a.m.; Bolingbrook vs. Crete-Monee and Phillips vs. South Shore at 12:30 p.m.; Vernon Hills vs. Trinity and Bloom vs. Kenwood at 2 p.m.; and C. Miller vs. Joliet Catholic and Christ the King vs. Hyde Park at 3:30 p.m.

Fremd plays Marian Catholic at 5 p.m.; St. Thomas More plays Whitney Young at 6:30 p.m.; and Rolling Meadows plays Milwaukee Riverside at 8 p.m.

The wait is over for Jean Field, IC Catholic Prep

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wolf.jpgCaroline Wolf is one of four starters who won't be back for Benet next year when the Redwings go for their third state title in four years.


Jean Field waited 29 years to get back to the state championship game. In 1984, the Knights won the longest championship match in state history, 15-5, 15-5, 12-15, 14-16, 15-9, over Stewardson-Strasburg to claim their second Class A state title.

Field said even after all that time, the memories are still fresh.

"It's indescribable," Field said. "We talk about the 1981 and 1984 state championship teams. Two of our coaches were on the 1984 state championship team. We actually watched the game Friday night.

"It never gets old," she added. "The memories of those players. They wrote down things they remembered for these guys to enjoy. It's something they're going to remember for the rest of their lives.

"This is the best you can do in high school sports ... to get to the state championship and hopefully do well."

***

Mother McAuley slipped to No. 8 in Prepvolleyball.com's latest Century Club National Rankings prior to winning the Class 4A state championship Saturday.

St. Francis moved up to No. 12, while New Trier (91st) and Crystal Lake South (93rd) also moved up after advancing to the state tournament last weekend, while Benet checked in at No. 96 after not being ranked most of the season.

Dropping out were former No. 87 Naperville North, former No. 89 Plainfield North and former No. 98 St. Charles North.

Teams on the bubble (listed alphabetically) were: Boylan (Rockford), Breese Central, Crystal Lake Central, Geneva, Glenbard South, Glenbard West, Keith Country Day, Lake Zurich, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way North, Marist, Mater Dei, Montini, Naperville North, Nazareth, Normal Community, Oak Park, Plainfield North, Sandburg, Springfield, St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Stevenson and Waubonsie Valley

***

In case you missed them, here are the final Chicago Sun-Times rankings for the 2013 season:

Sun-Times Girls Volleyball Top 10 teams
(Records through November 16. Preseason rank in parenthesis)

1. Mother McAuley (1) 40-2
2. St. Francis (2) 39-3
3. Benet (4) 36-6
4. New Trier (5) 33-4
5. Crystal Lake South (10) 37-5
6. Glenbard West (9) 34-4
7. Naperville North (NR) 34-5
8. Plainfield North (3) 33-5
9. Waubonsie Valley (7) 30-8
10. IC Catholic (NR) 36-6

Others: Payton 27-13, Sandburg 30-8, Marist 28-10, Geneva 29-10, Lake Zurich 35-5, St. Charles North 32-6, St. Charles East 31-7, Lincoln-Way North 30-7, Stevenson 31-8, Montini 30-4.

***

Quote of the week:

"It's pretty unreal. I'm so proud of my team, and I'm really happy that we finished our business. We were so pumped going into it (the match against Benet). We just came out ready to play defense. We were ready to go. We knew we had it in us. Oh, my gosh, I'm so happy for my mom and for all of the coaches. Every single person on this team deserved it." - Mother McAuley's Ryann DeJarld.

***

IC Catholic's Rory Manion cut her chin during Game 1 of the Knights' 25-22, 25-17 semifinal victory over Deer Creek-Mackinaw. But six points into Game 2, she tossed the makeshift bandage the coaching staff improvised.

"I slammed my chin on the ground diving for a ball," she said. "I kept trying to push (the tape) down, but my sweat was pushing it off. It was a rough time. I was like, 'Is it done bleeding yet?' I was trying to hide it. It didn't work too well. It was just crazy."

***

Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, two teams that are in the top five of the Sun-Times rankings, headline the 2013 Mac Irvin Diabetes Awareness Classic at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at Elgin Larkin.

Young returns 6-5 senior center Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 senior forward Taylor Brame from last year's third-place Class 4A finisher and welcomes 5-8 sophomore guard Kiara Lewis, who missed all of last year with injury.

Rolling Meadows returns six of its top seven from last year's Class 4A runner-up including point guard extraordinaire Jackie Kemph, sharpshooting Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.

***

Whitney Young will host the 2013 ChiTown Showdown on Friday-Saturday, December 13-14.

Friday's games feature Champaign Central vs. Harlan at 5 p.m.; Proviso East vs. Morgan Park at 6:30 p.m.; and Huntley vs. Whitney Young at 8 p.m.

Saturday's schedule has Mother McAuley vs. North Lawndale at 11 a.m.; Bolingbrook vs. Crete-Monee and Phillips vs. South Shore at 12:30 p.m.; Vernon Hills vs. Trinity and Bloom vs. Kenwood at 2 p.m.; and C. Miller vs. Joliet Catholic and Christ the King vs. Hyde Park at 3:30 p.m.

Fremd plays Marian Catholic at 5 p.m.; St. Thomas More plays Whitney Young at 6:30 p.m.; and Rolling Meadows plays Milwaukee Riverside at 8 p.m.

Who will be 2013 Sun-Times Player of Year?

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gators 2.jpgCrystal Lake South is playing on the final weekend of the season for the first time since 1996.


Mother McAuley held on to the No. 7 spot in Prepvolleyball.com's latest Century Club National Rankings after cruising in its Class 4A sectional and supersectional matches last week.

St. James (46-0) of Lenexa retained its No. 1 ranking after winning its sixth consecutive state title, but there is still some debate whether it will be enough for the Thunder to claim the mythical national championship.

St. Francis moved up one spot to No. 14 after coasting to sectional and supersectional titles last weekend.

Naperville North cracked the top 100 at No. 87 before losing to Benet in the sectional championship game. Plainfield North fell from No. 80 to 89 after losing to Naperville North in the sectional semifinal.

New Trier checked in at No. 95 after not being ranked the previous week, Crystal Lake South moved up two spots to No. 97 and St. Charles North broke into the rankings at No. 98 prior to its sectional final loss to Geneva.

Glenbard West, which had been ranked No. 69, fell out of the rankings after its loss to Geneva.

Teams on the bubble (in alphabetical order) were: Benet, Rockford Boylan, Breese Central, Crystal Lake Central, Geneva, Glenbard South, Glenbard West, Keith Country Day, Lake Zurich, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way North, Marist, Breese Mater Dei, Montini, Nazareth, Normal Community, Oak Park, Sandburg, Springfield, St. Charles East, Stevenson and Waubonsie Valley.

***

Fred Rakers, who built Breese Mater Dei High School into one of the state's top volleyball programs, died last Wednesday from cancer. He was 68.

Rakers led the Knights to six state championships and a career record of 1,046 wins, 200 losses and seven ties. The win total is the second-highest in Illinois history, second only to St. Francis coach Peg Kopec.

"Fred was an old school kind of guy who valued all the solid characteristics - hard work, teamwork, integrity, etc." Kopec said. "There is a good reason he is remembered fondly by so many. He was a strong, kind mentor to my daughter who coached with him."

Rakers won state titles in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2010. His teams won 14 state trophies, including one runner-up finish, three third places and three fourths. His final team was 41-1 and finished the 2010 season ranked 26th in the nation.

***

The Chicago Sun-Times Girls Volleyball Player of the Year and 2013 All-Area team will be announced Saturday. Here is a look at the past winners of the Player of the Year honors:

1982 Eva Murray, Mother McAuley
1983 Nancy Reno, Glenbard West
1984 Mary Eggers, West Aurora
1985 Cheryl Prihar, Oak Forest
1986 Barb Blizzard, Richards
1987 Julie Bremner, St. Francis
1988 Michele Kohler, Richards
1989 Kristin Henriksen, Immaculate Conception
1990 Kathleen Shannon, Immaculate Conception
1991 Sara Skryd, St. Francis
1992 Michelle Battistella, Mother McAuley
1993 Nicole Peterson, Lockport
1994 Jeanine Szczesniak, Mother McAuley
1995 Ryann Connors, Mother McAuley
1996 Christie Landry, St. Francis
1997 Stephanie Jackson, Lockport
1998 Elizabeth Gower, Naperville Central
1999 Melissa Vandrey, Queen of Peace
2000 Marian Weidner, St. Francis
2001 Samantha Tortorello, Joliet Catholic
2002 Colleen Byrne, Sandburg
2003 Katie Brudzinski, Naperville North
2004 Laura Holloway, Barrington
2005 Jessica Yanz, Naperville Central
2006 Lindsey Mango, Naperville Central
2007 Kelly Murphy, Joliet Catholic
2008 Desiree Aramburu, Mother McAuley
2009 Anne Marie Hickey, Joliet Catholic
2010 Kelly Lamberti, Cary-Grove
2011 Alexis Viliunas, Lyons
2012 Lauren Carlini, West Aurora

***

Did you know?

Under the old two-class system in girls volleyball when the Chicago Public School champion was awarded an automatic berth in the state quarterfinals (the equivalent of a supersectional since today only four schools in each class advance to state), city teams were 0-27 downstate.

***
Thumbnail image for sam.jpgDiane Mikulskis (left), director of the Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy, and Kathleen O'Laughlin (right), Fenwick girls volleyball coach, flank Sam Pethokoukis on Wednesday as she signs her national letter of intent to play Division I volleyball next fall for Siena College, a private Roman Catholic college of about 3,000 undergraduates in Loudonville, N.Y.

***

Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, two teams that will be in the top five when the Sun-Times rankings come out later this month, headline the 2013 Mac Irvin Diabetes Awareness Classic at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at Elgin Larkin.

Young returns 6-5 senior center Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 senior forward Taylor Brame from last year's third-place Class 4A finisher and welcomes 5-8 sophomore guard Kiara Lewis, who missed all of last year with injury.

Rolling Meadows returns six of its top seven from last year's Class 4A runner-up including point guard extraordinaire Jackie Kemph, sharpshooting Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.

***

Whitney Young will host the 2013 ChiTown Showdown on Friday-Saturday, December 13-14.

Friday's games feature Champaign Central vs. Harlan at 5 p.m.; Proviso East vs. Morgan Park at 6:30 p.m.; and Huntley vs. Whitney Young at 8 p.m.

Saturday's schedule has Mother McAuley vs. North Lawndale at 11 a.m.; Bolingbrook vs. Crete-Monee and Phillips vs. South Shore at 12:30 p.m.; Vernon Hills vs. Trinity and Bloom vs. Kenwood at 2 p.m.; and C. Miller vs. Joliet Catholic and Christ the King vs. Hyde Park at 3:30 p.m.

Fremd plays Marian Catholic at 5 p.m.; St. Thomas Moore plays Whitney Young at 6:30 p.m.; and Rolling Meadows plays Milwaukee Riverside at 8 p.m.

***

Four Rolling Meadows starters will ink their national letters of intent on Wednesday and will be recognized at a special ceremony at 6 p.m. in the school's faculty lounge. Players signing letters are: Alexis Glasgow (Northwestern), Jackie Kemph and Jenny Vliet (St. Louis University) and Ashley Montanez (University of Indianapolis).

mollychina.jpgCan super sophomore Molly Haggerty lead St. Francis to another state title with older sister Maddie sidelined with a torn labrum?


Mother McAuley held on to the No. 7 spot in Prepvolleyball.com's latest Century Club National Rankings after taking down Crete-Monee and Homewood-Flossmoor in the Class 4A regional last week.

St. James (41-0) of Lenexa, Kansas, which is shooting for its sixth consecutive state title, retained its hold on the No. 1 ranking after defeating Blue Valley Southwest in a sub-state meeting.

St. Francis remained No. 15 after surviving a three-setter in a regional semifinal against host Timothy Christian and a strong challenge from Montini in the championship at last week's Class 3A regional in Elmhurst.

Plainfield North dropped 25 spots to No. 80 from No. 55 after losing to Oswego East during the final week of the regular season, and Glenbard West moved up five spots to No. 69. Crystal Lake South also broke into the rankings for the first time at No. 99.

Naperville North, which did not lose, fell out of the rankings.

Teams on the bubble (listed alphabetically) are: Benet, Bloomington, Rockford Boylan, Breese Central, Crystal Lake Central, Dakota, DeKalb, Edwardsville, Geneva, Keith Country Day, Lake Zurich, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Marist, Mater Dei, Montini, Naperville North, Nazareth, New Trier, Sandburg, Springfield, St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Stevenson and Waubonsie Valley.

***

Mt. Pulaski coach Donna Dulle joined some exclusive company Thursday when the Hilltoppers outlasted Hartsburg-Emden 27-25, 28-26 to win the Class 1A regional at Mason City Illini Central.

The win was No. 1,000 for the 32-year veteran, who has taken teams to state 12 times in her career and won two state titles (1989, 2007). Only St. Francis' Peg Kopec and former Breese Mater Dei coach Fred Rakers have won more games than Dulle.

Cady Lowery, one of only three seniors on the team, understatedly mastered the moment.

"I was a freshman when she got 900, and I never really put two and two together, that she could get 1,000 while I was in high school," she said.
Mount Pulaski was scheduled to face Roanoke-Benson in the Hartsburg-Emden sectional on Tuesday.

***

Sophomore Gabby Pethokoukis (Benet) registered a career-high 19 kills on 35 hits (.429) and added seven blocks, but Villanova (12-11, 4-6) came up just short November 2 in a 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 12-25, 16-14 loss to Georgetown in a Big East Conference battle in Washington, D.C.

***

Six-foot-1 junior middle hitter Mary Boken of St. Francis recently committed to Clemson. Boken is the second area athlete to commit to Clemson, joining Plainfield North setter Kate Federico. The Tigers are currently 12-11 including 6-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

***

Oak Lawn varsity boys volleyball coach Matt Hunt is looking to fill a few openings on his team's schedule this spring. He is also looking for a sophomore tournament to add to his program's schedule. If interested, contact Hunt through the school's athletic department at (708) 741-5624.

***

It's not too early to think about girls basketball.

Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, two teams that will be in the top five when the Sun-Times rankings come out later this month, headline the 2013 Mac Irvin Diabetes Awareness Classic at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at Elgin Larkin.

Young returns 6-5 senior center Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 senior forward Taylor Brame from last year's third-place Class 4A finisher and welcomes 5-8 sophomore guard Kiara Lewis, who missed all of last year with injury.

Rolling Meadows returns six of its top seven from last year's Class 4A runner-up including point guard extraordinaire Jackie Kemph, sharpshooting Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.

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