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Back Row: May 2011 Archives

strong>Prepvolleyball.com has released its list of the top 30 recruiting classes in the country, and Illinois and Wisconsin, both loaded with top talent from Illinois, are among the top 10.

Illinois is ranked No. 3 with a class that includes 6-foot-3 outside hitter Jocelynn Birks from state champion Lyons and Decatur Lutheran's 6-2 outside hitter Morganne Criswell. The Illini also landed 6-6 rightside/middle hitter Elizabeth McMahon from Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio).

"Birks has elevated herself into the upper echelon of outside hitters in the country, and Criswell is a great athlete who could have the most potential of the group," Prepvolleyball.com's John Tawa said. "She's been unstoppable for Illini Elite this spring."

Wisconsin checked in at No. 7 behind Glenbrook South's 6-4 outside hitter Ellen Chapman and DeKalb's 6-foot setter Courtney Thomas.

Northwestern, which landed 5-11 setter Hannah Crippen from Plainfield North and Marist's 5-7 libero Caroline Niedospial, was listed among the highest honorable mention group, while Bradley, with Chicago Christian's Madison Kamp and Lemont's Courtney Keefe, was high honorable mention.


Great Lakes Volleyball Center is sponsoring the annual National Junior Classic this weekend, May 28-30, with the 17s and 18s age groups played at Great Lakes and the 15s and 16s at the Schaumburg Convention Center.

For more information, go to www.advancedeventsystems.com.

Benedictine University and the Great Lakes Center are teaming up to sponsor a series of summer camps at Benedictine's newly-renovated Dan and Ada Rice Center this summer.

The camp schedule is:

July 5-13 -- Setting Academy I ($850 overnight, $600 commuter)
July 14-18 -- 1st Contact Academy (Pass-Dig-Serve) ($500 overnight, $350 commuter)
July 19-23 -- Setting Academy II ($500 overnight, $350 commuter)
July 24-26 -- Setting Collegiate ($295 overnight, $250 commuter)
July 24-26 -- Attacking & Passing Collegiate ($295 overnight, $250 commuter)
July 24-26 -- Libero Collegiate ($295 overnight, $250 commuter)
July 24-26 -- Middle Blocker Academy ($295 overnight, $250 commuter)
July 27-29 -- All Skills Junior High ($325 overnight, $245 commuter)
July 27-29 -- HIgh School Girls Attacking and Passing ($325 overnight, $245 commuter)
July 27-29 -- Boy's Attacking and Passing (all ages) ($325 overnight, $245 commuter)

For more information, call (630) 898-6400 or visit http://www.greatlakescenter.com/9292/index.html

Brother Rice and Marist will play indoors Friday at Brother Rice to benefit scholarships in the names of two young men from both schools who passed away recently.

"Back Inside: Together for Jarrett Rowe and Paul Simmons" will begin with the Freshman B and Junior Varisty matches at 5:00 p.m. and the Freshman A and Varsity matches at approxaimtely 6:00 p.m.

"During this school year, both schools have experienced the loss of a senior class member -- Jarrett Rowe of Brother Rice last September and Paul Simmons of Marist last week," said Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes.

"Both Brother Rice and Marist are dedicating Friday's matches to the memory of Jarrett and Paul, and all gate proceeds will be divided equally between the schools to benefit their scholarship funds for students in need."

The players will be wearing special jerseys for the match as well which include a memory message on the sleeve. Admission to all four matches is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students, and free for children age 5 and under.

A large crowd is expected for the matches, so fans are encouraged to arrive early.

"We ask everyone to please join us to support one another in this special event for two worthy causes, to see some great volleyball, and most importantly to remember the lives of two great Brother Rice and Marist young men -- Jarrett and Paul," Ickes said.

Coverage will also be provided for the varsity match by www.sportstownchicago.com.

For further information on these matches, contact Br. Paul Ickes, C.F.C. at Brother Rice at pickes@brrice.org or (773) 428-1957.

For more information on the financial aid funds for both schools, the Brother Rice "Lifeguard Fund" can be found at http://brotherrice.org/alumni/development/lifeguard/ and the Marist Financial Aid Program is at http://www.marist.net/dev_support.php.


Barrington's Matt Logue and Buffalo Grove's Chris Shanahan were recently named Players of the Year in the Mid-Suburban West and East divisions, respectively, by league coaches.

Named to the MSL All-Conference team were Logue, Taylor Ganzer, Tommy Leonard, Austin Czarnecki and T.J. Shanahan of Barrington; Zachary Lindeman of Conant; Dan Swiec of Fremd; Kyle Caldwell of Hoffman Estates; Justin Ginter and Eric Gabbard of Palatine; and Matt Jarosz and Sean Duminie of Schaumburg.

Also, Shanahan, Lukas Karch, Jon Ward, Jamie Schnittker and Cameron Castle of Buffalo Grove; Jeff Miceli, Michal Kawa and Aaron Kraus of Elk Grove; Matt Cayton and Dave Muller-Muhr of Hersey; Dan Hoffman of Prospect; and Daniel Speidel of Wheeling.


Planning to see Downers North's Greg Petty play in the state finals at Hoffman Estates this season?

You might want to make other plans.

Want to catch Providence's uber-exuberant 6-foot-9 junior Marty Ross?

You probably won't see him at Hoffman Estates, either.

There's a good chance won't see Naperville North's Ball State-bound outside hitter Shane Witmer or Downers South's outstanding middle Sam Kull or Lincoln-Way East's Royer brothers or a number of other talented players whose teams are worthy of Elite Eight status at Hoffman Estates.


The IHSA's dreaded geographical-driven sectional assignments - in a sport played almost exclusively in the Chicago area.

"The state is a joke," said Marist coach Bob St. Leger, who led the RedHawks to the state title in 2010 after negotiating a minefield sectional that featured 30-game winners Sandburg, Lincoln-Way Central and Providence.

"The way they put teams in sectionals is laughable," he said.

Based on the latest Sun-Times rankings, the (Aurora) Illinois Math and Science Academy sectional has more top 20 teams than any other field (five). The Sandburg and Warren sectionals feature four top 20 teams.

The other five sectionals - Schaumburg (three), Niles North (two), St. Ignatius and Belleville West (one) and Reavis (zero) -- have a combined six top 20 teams among them.

The state also continues to shuffle sectional lineups to create even greater imbalance. For example, Lyons, which previously had been grouped with the St. Ignatius field, is now lumped with the IMSA field. Brother Rice, a former member of the Reavis field, now goes to Sandburg.

And this is not a one-year problem. This is an ongoing situation in boys volleyball that penalizes the more successful programs at the expense of programs that are rewarded not for their prowess, but for where they land when the IHSA stretches a rubberband.

That imbalance does create a more manageable match-up for the team lucky enough to survive its talent-heavy sectional and draw one of the lesser-blessed sectional winners in a state quarterfinal.

But that is of little consolation to those teams and players unlucky enough to be guaranteed a seat in the bleachers at Hoffman Estates not because they aren't good enough, but because they have the wrong address.

At least they will be in good company.


Defending state champion Marist suffered a huge blow to its hopes of making a title defense when 6-foot-4 middle Jim Mead suffered what is believed to be a torn ACL in his right knee recently.

Test results are not complete and Mead and the Marist coaches plan to seek a second opinion, but according to coach Bob St. Leger, "it does not look good."

"He plans to see another doctor," St. Leger said. "He is walking and moving well. He tells me he should be playing, We'll see what happens.

"We were playing so well at Brother Rice," the coach added. "This stuff happens."

Marist was able to win its pool at Lincoln-Way East last weekend without Mead, but the RedHawks were beaten by Naperville North (26-24, 25-14) and Maine South (25-20, 25-19) on Saturday before winning their finale 25-18, 26-24 over Warren for seventh place.


Lincoln Park is the top seed in the Chicago Public League Athletic Association City Championship Tournament that begins Tuesday with 16 first-round matches. Lane Tech is seeded No. 2, followed by Northside College Prep and Payton.

The quarterfinals will be held Monday, May 15 at 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. at Brooks and Northside, with Wednesday's semifinals at 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. at Senn.

The championship match will be played at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20 at UIC's gymnasium on Roosevelt Road.

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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Back Row in May 2011.

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