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Back Row: March 2012 Archives

Glenbrook North advanced to the championship game of the Bison Battle Saturday at Buffalo Grove in impressive fashion, defeating the hosts, Naperville North and Sandburg in pool play before falling 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 to Wheaton Warrenville South in the finals.

Although a veteran team, Glenbrook North does not start anyone taller than 6-foot-3. Size obviously doesn't matter.

"Size doesn't matter as long as you can do a lot of other good things," coach Chris Cooper said. "This group has experience, we have depth at some positions and guys know they can't take plays off. And we have ball control. If you can ball control, you can stay with anybody."

The Spartans boast veterans in twins Kyle and Patrick Bedford, middle Luke Jacobson, libero Mitch Shapiro and rightside Trevor Ponticelli. Junior Jakub Barabus was a big factor in the Spartans three-set loss to WW South.

The Spartans could get another shot at WW South at the Tigers Classic this weekend.

"I wasn't sure how we'd do these first two weeks," Cooper said. "I thought we could have a really poor record because of who we are playing. You just never know. You have to challenge yourself to see where you're at."


Despite heavy graduation losses - setters Nick Bendell and Scott Fifer are the only starters back from last year's state championship team - Sandburg looks ready to challenge for domination in the south suburbs again this spring.

The Eagles should have a better idea of where they're at after playing at the Tiger Classic this weekend and visiting Lincoln-Way North on April 12.

"We're learning how to play next to one another," coach Sean Airola said. "Right now, it's a big hodge-podge full of kids. We're tall, we have talent. But when they're next to one another for the first time against real competition, it becomes a difficult transition."


Barrington's Rob Ridenour wasn't the happiest of coaches after his team squandered leads of 9-6 and 13-11 in the third set of a 25-23, 22-25, 15-13 loss to Glenbard East Saturday at the Bison Battle.

"I think we just got to be a little tougher," he said. "That's the bottom line. Glenbard East blocked great down the stretch. That was a contributing factor. We got a little tentative as well. We have to get our guys in the right mentality."

Ridenour would like to see his team take on some of the attributes and attitude of 6-foot-1 senior setter Taylor Ganzer, a three-sport athlete (golf, basketball, volleyball) whose college plans are still uncertain.

"I think Taylor really is maturing as a leader," Ridenour said. "He really is becoming our heart and soul on the court. If we accept his personality - a little bit of fire, a little bit of his competitiveness - I think our whole team would be better off.

"We have guys who are good competitors, I think Taylor is a great competitor," he added. "If that competitiveness permeates throughout the team, we'll be better off in the long run."


Naperville North, which reached the state championship game in 2011 but is looking at a few new faces in 2012, finished 2-2 and in fourth place in the Blue pool at the Bison Battle Saturday at Buffalo Grove.

The Huskies stunned the hosts 16-25, 27-25, 15-12 after trailing 18-13 in Game 2, but lost in straight sets to Sandburg and Glenbrook North.

"Everyone is adjusting to a new role on the team," coach Nate Bornancin said. "We have a lot of talent, it's just a matter of guys getting used to playing together. Last year's team, all those guys played together in the off-season. They knew what to expect from each other."

Six-foot-7 senior outside Spencer Sauter, who missed the first half of last season with an injury, and part-time starters Kyle Losik and Matt Jennings are all that return from a season ago. The Huskies are also breaking in a new setter in 6-6 junior transfer Gert Lisha.

"It's just going to take a lot of time, more time than I thought it would," Bornancin said. "We have extremely high expectations for this season."


Lake Park improved to 6-0 under first-year coach Tim Murphy by winning the "speed-dating" Conant invitational last Friday. Teams played four matches in one evening session beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The furious schedule did not seem to bother Lake Park, which defeated Conant, 25-15, 25-14; Lyons, 25-17, 25-19; Walter Payton, 25-14, 25-24; and Stevenson, 25-20 25-22.

Six-foot-3 senior outside Michal Ragan led Lake Park with 33 kills. Six-foot-5 senior Mike Dickerson had 29 kills and 11 blocks, 6-4 senior Dave Prentis had 59 assists, 11 blocks, 6 kills and 5 aces, Devin Burke had 12 kills and 18 blocks, and Kevin Smith had 20 kills and 5 aces.

Lake Park will tangle with Naperville North and Evanston in Pool C Thursday at the Tiger Classic hosted by Wheaton Warrenville South.


Speaking of the Tiger Classic, ESPN High School (ESPNHS) will be at the Tiger Classic on Saturday. ESPN will have a tent set up near the concessions stand to collect information for player profiles and to take photos for ESPNHS.com, ESPNHS Magazine and potential usage on air.


Alex Valdez lost the duel with Kit Bruzek for the setter position with Wheaton Warrenville South, but that doesn't mean the 6-foot-1 senior St. Ambrose recruit has not been a huge contributor to the Tigers' 6-0 start.

"He's a very, very consistent server," WW South coach Bill Schreier said. "He was one of the guys we were looking at as far as setting was concerned, but it ended up that there are other ways he can help us. Serving is one of those ways, and he also plays solid defense back there.

"He's going to St. Ambrose for a reason," the coach added. "I just like his consistency as far as serving is concerned. There's enough movement on his ball that will keep the pressure on people in serve receive."


The Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora will host the 2012 Collegiate Challenge on Saturday, April 14.

Eleven teams, including Bradley, Wisconsin, Illinois, Marquette. Iowa, DePaul, Missouri State, Michigan State, UW-Milwaukee, Notre Dame and a team from Tianjin, China, will participate in the tournament.

Play begins at 8:00 a.m. with two pools of four teams and one pool of three teams playing six sets, The pool winners, runners-up and losers from Round 1 will meet in a best two-of-three format beginning at 1:45 p.m.


Prairie Ridge has openings for teams in two girls' tournaments in the fall 2012 - a sophomore tournament on September 15 and a junior varsity tournament on September 29.

For more information, contact Prairie Ridge athletic director Patti Hie at phie@d155.org or Prairie Ridge coach Stefanie Otto at sotto@d155.org.

Buffalo Grove reached the state quarterfinals three consecutive seasons before running into Vernon Hills in a sectional semifinal last year. The Bison suffered some losses at graduation, but veteran coach Matt Aiello is excited for the latest edition of Buffalo Grove volleyball.

"People seem to be talking like we are done," Aiello said. "We love that assumption. We will work as hard as usual and maintain our usual goals. We are not and will not be afraid of any team in the state. Our focus is on being prepared for the postseason. We will do that by getting better every day."

The defending Mid-Suburban League champions will build around 6-7 four-year starter Sam Wacker, 6-7 middle/rightside Michael Starzec, 6-7 middle Jose Aguirre, 6-3 setter Matt Bloom, 6-2 outside Scott Swedberg and 5-9 libero Michael Maley.

"Wacker and Starzec are arguably the best middle combination in Illinois," Aiello said. "In some matchups, Starzec will play rightside and actually do some setting to allow Bloom to hit some.

"Starzec was a huge addition to our lineup last year and not just because of his size," the coach added. "He will surprise people as one of the better all-around players in the area."


After stunning top-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South in a sectional final, Naperville North took down Oak Park and Vernon Hills to reach the 2011 championship match.

The Huskies hope to go one step further in 2012 behind 6-7 senior Spencer Sauter, who is being recruited by Penn State, Ohio State, Harvard, NYU and UC-San Diego, and 6-6 setter Gert Lisha, who set for Sports Performance's 18-1 team.

"We are looking to have another strong season," coach Nate Bornancin said. "We return seven players from our state finals team. Like most of our teams at North, we will be built on team defense."

Sauter had 150 Kills and 98 digs despite missing a big part of the season due to injury. Also back are 6-3 senior middle Matt Jennings (91 Kills, 48 blocks) and 6-3 senior outside Kyle Losik.

"We are strong at the outside hitter position again and look to improve as a good blocking team with the addition of Lisha at setter," Bornancin said. "It will also be interesting to see how Spencer looks over the course of a full season."


Tom Hubner returned to the sidelines last year and led Addison Trail to a sparkling 31-7 record. Don't look for similar results in 2012.

"The long and short of it for Addison Trail is rebuilding," Hubner said. "We have been able to go a while without having to do this, but we are going to this year."

Addison Trail returns only two starters from last year's regional winner that lost to Glenbard West 25-20, 22-25, 25-13 in a sectional semifinal - middle hitter Tom Caputo and former libero Tom Connolly, who is expected to move outside.

"Otherwise, we will have a freshman rightside and a sophomore setter and libero," Hubner said. "I think that sums it up. Downers Grove South and Willowbrook should be the class of the
West Suburban Gold this year."


Eight returning players are back from a 22-15 team that lost to Wheaton Warrenville South in the regional finals for veteran Lyons Township coach Joann Pyritz, including 6-7 senior middle Jason Dolinski (116 kills, 30 blocks).

"The senior class is ready to go," Pyritz said. "Our hitting, blocking and versatility with a deep bench will be our strengths this season."

Also back are starters Kevin McMahon, who had 77 kills from his outside hitting position in 2011, senior defensive specialist John Peterson (84 digs) and defensive specialist Jack Murphy (83 digs).

"Dolinski will dominate the net with his ability to play middle and outside and McMahon will lead the charge outside," Pyritz said. "Peterson and Murphy are consistent passers and will assist on defense. Our big decision will be who gets the job at setter."

Contenders are setter include junior Mike Pajkos, Marco Kostich, John Peterson and junior Clayton Smentek.


Maine South had some big wins over New Trier, Marist and Lake Park. But the Hawks also suffered a few more losses than their recent predecessors and finished 26-11 overall and third in the Central Suburban League South, losing to Glenbrook South in the regional final.

Top returning players for Maine South are Scotty Adamczyk, Ivan Zelic, Adam Forbes, Matt Garvey and Tommy Calandriello.

"We expect to be very competitive in the CSL and hopefully challenge for a conference title by the end of the season," coach Gary Granell said.


Unanimous all-Upstate Eight selection Luke Furman, a 6-1 junior setter, and 6-3 sophomore outside hitter Michael Simmons will try to lift Waubonsie Valley (24-10 a year ago) into contention in the Valley Division.

Also back for coach Al Lagger are 6-3 junior opposite hitter Jon Pyne, 5-9 junior defensive specialist Dan Allen, 6-4 senior middle hitter Seth Salmon, 6-4 senior outside hitter Mike Storm and libero Michael Nicholas.

Top newcomers include 6-5 junior middle blocker Tyler House, 6-4 sophomore middle blocker Connor Douville and freshman defensive specialist Andrew Salmon.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to compete this year," Lagger said. "We are returning a strong team from last year. We are still young, but we have great depth and playing experience at the varsity level."


Stagg junior Kamil Barnas arrived from Poland when he was in the fifth grade. He didn't pick up a volleyball until he reached junior high, but he has been hooked ever since.

First-year head coach Lauren Royer hopes her young team can hook a few fish in the rugged Southwest Suburban Conference Red Division and improve upon last year's 6-29 overall record including 0-5 in the league.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us this year, but we have a group of athletes who are willing to put forth the time and effort to make a name for this program," Royer said. "With two returning seniors and a crew of rookies who are eager to learn, we will have a solid mix of athletes who are focused on becoming a threat in our conference."

Senior setter Matt Hartigan is at the center of the Chargers' rebuilding program. Newcomers include Barnas, senior outside Jordan Joseph and junior setter Matt Meyering.


Warren lost some of its big boppers from last year to graduation, but with senior setter Tyler Smith back, any dropoff could be miniscule.

"We have a really solid all-around group this year with a returning senior setter to run the offense and lead the team," assistant coach Kim Paasch said. "We lost some big offensive players, but our prospects this year have better ball control and are more focused on defense."

Back from the team that lost to Stevenson in the regional finals in 2011 are Smith, rightside Sean O'Connor, outside hitter Joe Alexander, outside hitter Eric Lindsay, 6-9 middle John Kroc and libero Tyler Beckley.

Kroc was slotted to start as a junior but missed most of the season with a bad ankle sprain.

Players to watch include junior outside Vuk Jakovljevic and sophomore middle hitter Max Bongratz.

"We're excited to see who earns the starting spots because we have a lot of depth, especially at the outside hitter position," Paasch said. "We also pulled up two sophomore middle hitters (Bongratz and Mitch Maan De kok) with a lot of potential, so we're looking forward to having them with the program for the next three years."


Stevenson lost four two-year players from a 31-6 team that shared the North Suburban Conference championship, but don't feel bad for coach Tim Crow. He's got 6-4 rightside Jason Fleischman, 6-3 middle Aaron Zalewski, junior setter Jonah May and senior middle Mitchell Robinson to console him.

Fleischman, who will miss a few early matches due to a school trip to France, had 158 kills and 88 total blocks as a junior. Zalewski added 112 kills and 48 total blocks, and Robinson had 101 kills and 77 total blocks in 2011.

Crow is very high on May.

"When he is finished, he could be one of the best we have had here," Crow said.


Nine seniors graduated from last year's 39-3 state championship team at Sandburg. But nobody will be throwing a pity-party for coach Sean Airola. He's got two all-state caliber setters back in Scott Fifer and junior Nick Bendell and an endless list of candidates everywhere else.

"The season has started surprisingly well for what players we lost to graduation," Airola said. "We return, in my opinion, the best setter in the state in Fifer. We also return experience with Bendell, who has grown four inches in the off-season and is now 6-2."

Among the newcomers is 6-9 John Hodul, who played for D1 18-1 as a junior.

"We have new outsides, middles and liberos this season, but feel that we can be competitive," Airola said. "We may not have the court experience, but we do have solid defense and superior setting.

"I may not see us as a top 10 team right now, but we will still compete," Airola said.


It just won't be the same without Garrett Dempsey, Kevin Morrison, Jim Mead and Kevin Murphy roaming the court at Marist. The quartet played a big role on the school's 2010 title team and helped lead the RedHawks to a 33-5 mark in 2011.

But while the faces may change, the goals are always the same under veteran coach Bob St. Leger.

"Our goal like always will be to compete for a sectional title," he said. "I think we will take our lumps early, but we should be pretty solid by the end."

Marist will rebuild around 6-3 middle Tony Natalino and 6-1 outside John Yerkes. Big contributions are expected from 5-10 junior setter Mike Schreiber and 6-3 senior outside/rightside Matt Mead.


After back-to-back seasons of 30-8 and 33-6, Loyola slipped to 20-17 in 2011, However, the Ramblers did win 11 of their final 13 matches before running into New Trier in the regional finals.

Hoping to get Loyola off to a better start and a better finish are 6-7 senior outside hitter Chris Bulava, a three-year varsity veteran, senior setter and three-year starter Mario Asencio, and junior outside hitter Sean Barry.

Add 6-5 sophomore outside David Wieczorek and junior setter James McCabe to the mix and there's reason for optimism on Laramie Avenue.

"We should compete for a conference title and make a strong run at a sectional championship," coach Lionel Ebeling said.


The record may not show it - 16-20 overall and 5-9 in the DuPage Valley Conference - but Naperville Central was a tough out every time it took the floor in 2011. The problem was playing at least six matches against WW South, Naperville North and Glenbard East.

But coach Jeff Danborn will have his guys ready to go after it again in 2012 led by 6-5 senior setter Albert Lei, 6-2 sophomore outside hitter Jon Chiczewski and newcomers Lucas Parker and Dan Trembacki.

"We hope to be competitive within what should be a very strong conference again," Danborn said. "Our focus will be on defense and speed. We'll be more balanced this year and rely on the distribution from an experienced setter in Lei."

Third-year varsity starter LJ Booth, a 6-6 senior middle hitter, returns to lead Hinsdale Central under rookie coach Kelly Maley.

The Red Devils finished 14-23 a season ago, including 1-5 in conference. But Booth and some solid veterans - 6-0 junior outside hitter David Whinery, 6-2 middle Peter Thompson and 6-1 rightside Jake Brosius - hope to make Maley's first season a success.

"While we lost a lot of seniors, we have gained many underclassmen that have the ability to make a huge impact on our varsity team," Maley said. "Our goal is to be among the top teams in the West Suburban and to surprise people in the state playoffs.

"I am excited to be working with this group of young men in my first season and to have my mentor (and former head coach) Len Serwat guiding me through the process as the assistant varsity coach," she added.

Here is a look at some teams that are just outside the top 10 in boys volleyball this spring, some that will fall in the middle of the pack, and some that just might fall a little further. More teams will be posted next week.

Benet finished 24-13 a year ago and was second in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference before losing to Downers Grove South in the regional finals.

With a solid group of players back led by 6-foot-5 senior Bobby Wehrli and ESCC coach of the year Amy VanEekeren, the Redwings hope to go where only their girls have gone before.

"We are looking forward to making an exciting run in the 2012 season," Van Eekeren said.

Also back for Benet is 6-3 junior setter Pat Dougherty, 6-3 senior middle blocker Kevin Weithers, 6-1 junior outside hitter Luke Ladowski and 6-1 junior outside hitter Sawyer Yeazel. A player to watch is 6-5 sophomore middle Garrett Metzger.


St. Ignatius went 23-15 last year and reached the sectional finals before falling to Oak Park 25-17, 25-23. The Wolfpack was decimated by graduation, losing six of seven starters, so coach Mark Johnston will be starting all over on Roosevelt Road.

"We are very young and inexperienced this year, and I am lacking a 'big banger' on the outside like I have had in the past in Peter Doerrer and Rimas Grybauskas," Johnston said. "I have five sophomores and three of them might start or at least see a good amount of playing time."

St. Ignatius will turn to the only returning starter from last year's team, 6-foot-8 middle hitter Peter Ryckbosch, to lead the way. Last year, Ryckbosch accumulated 178 kills and 158 blocks. He should shatter Doerrer's school blocking record and climb into the IHSA's top 10.

"Like Doerrer, he lives and breathes basketball," Johnston said. "They both just happened to play volleyball."

A newcomer to the St. Ignatius starting six will be 6-5 Joe Loftus, who was a starter on the D1 16's Green team. Loftus will see a little playing time in the middle at the beginning of the season before working his way outside.


York finished 17-19 overall last year including 2-4 in the West Suburban Silver. Ken Dowdy begins his second season at the helm, with just three returning starters - Jacob Ruprecht, Jack Ribar and Trevor Jordan.

Ruprecht amassed 341 assists, 19 kills and 19 blocks in 2011, while Ribar, a senior middle hitter, had 122 kills and 41 blocks. Jordan, another senior middle hitter, had 102 kills and 44 blocks as a junior.

"We are a young team overall," Dowdy said. "I expect Ribar to have a breakout year at the middle-hitter position."

St. Francis coach Mike Lynch got a headstart on his Christmas shopping when 6-7 Ryan Cole returned to the volleyball court for the first time since his sophomore season.

"Coyle's return to volleyball after two years of focusing on basketball, where he was MVP in the conference and had a deep playoff run, will definitely bolster our attack," Lynch said.

The Spartans will rely on Cole, Joey Trunk, Tim Olsen and Brendan Roberts to handle the hitting duties while Josef Santos mops up the back row from his libero position. Once he settles on a setter, Lynch expects St. Francis to crack the top 20 in the state.

"We should be much stronger with better balance than last year," Lynch said. "We will be running a quick, multi-attack offense. Once the battle for the setting position is settled, we should be ready to face our tough schedule."


No one can accuse Lincoln-Way Central from scheduling weak sisters. The Knights play in one of the toughest conferences (Southwest Suburban) in the state and compete at the WW South Tiger Classic, the Marist invite, the Lincoln-Way East invite and Brother Rice's Smack Attack.

Even with a schedule like that, Lincoln-Way Central went 22-15 last year and won the conference's Red Division with a 9-2 record.

Top players for veteran coach Joann Holverson include 6-6 middle hitter Clay Hermann, the team's only legitimate elite-level player, 6-6 outside hitter Austin Overby and 6-4 outside hitter Matt Nawa.

"This team has a few key positions that could significantly impact our performance this season," Holverson said. "However, we have decent size and great team chemistry. We are not as strong as we have been in the past, but our outsides will get better with experience.

"I believe we will be one of those teams that will take some time to develop but will finish strong," she added. "We are struggling with the setting position, and until it is resolved, we will be challenged to find a good rhythm in our offense."


The setting position at Glenbrook South is also unsettled with Brian Brennan not playing this spring. The Titans have plenty of experience hitters, however, in players like 6-8 Piotr Rafalo, Charley Tisch, Drew Maki, Troy Farsakian and Will Kozloski.

"I have kids coming back who have experience, but there is a lot of talent as always in the area and we have a new setter," Glenbrook South coach Tim Monahan said. "I think we will do alright, but we are untested right now because of our setting situation."


Brother Rice hasn't been to the dance since 2008, which is an eternity for the Crusaders.

However, with 10 returning varsity players back from last year's regional finalist, there is cause for optimism on 99th and Pulaski.

"The key issue for us heading into this season is remaining healthy," Brother Rice coach Paul Ickes said. "We have three players recovering from various knee injuries and one recovering from a stress fracture in the lower back.

"But we do have 10 returning varsity, three returning JV players and a freshman from last year's squads along with two new players," he added. "A number of players either started or saw some significant time on their teams.

"Almost all of our players competed in club volleyball and committed themselves to an off-season workout regimen that we believe will help us tremendously," Ickes said. "We especially like the way the team has gelled thus far, but we have many skill areas to refine."

Returning for Brother Rice are senior outside hitter Mike Carroll, senior setter Dan Dwyer, senior rightside Matt Kill, senior middle hitter George Mantas, senior middle hitter Theo McManigal, senior libero Cody Leahy, senior libero Joe Pochinskas, and senior setter Dominic Vilarosa.

Also back are 6-7 junior middle hitter Ryan Paull and sophomore outside hitter Mitch Weiler.

Brother Rice will be tested early, often and everywhere in between competing in the Tiger Classic and a slate of non-conference matches with Lincoln-Way East, Oak Park-River Forest, Glenbrook North, Marist and Sandburg.


St. Patrick got to the dance in 2010 but slipped to 18-11 in 2011 including 5-3 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Coach Julie Wiejak will try to reload with setter John Budzinski (509 assists, 35 blocks) and outside hitter Joey Williams (145 kills, 99 digs).

"I am very excited for the experience we return to the floor and am looking forward to the new guys we have added to the roster," Wiejak said.


The 13-man roster at Whitney Young features nine seniors including Carthage College recruit Okello Hope, a 6-3 senior outside, 6-3 junior outside hitter Tom Wesolowski, 5-11 senior setter Jack Tracy and 6-9 senior rightside Ben Schwister.

"We're expecting great things this year," said Young coach Jaime Walters.


Graduation took a heavy toll at New Trier where only one starter - Alex Cook - returns from last year's 32-7 state quarterfinalist.

"We have a very strong group of newcomers," New Trier coach Sue Ellen Haak said. "I still foresee see us in the sectional final against Glenbrook North, but we will have switched roles. They will have all the seniors this year and we will have lots of juniors.

"We will have a pretty big front line this year with both our two middle standing between 6-4 and 6-5 and our outsides being 6-5 and 6-6," she said.

Other players to watch include 6-6 junior opposite Mike Gajos, junior setter Matt Wascher and freshman setter Dante Chakravorti.


One of the great things about the boys' high school volleyball season?

Somebody who plays libero for his club team gets to collect a little payback outside for his high school team.

Oak Lawn's 6-1 junior Marc Hansen, the starting libero on Ultimate's 17-1 team, returns for his third varsity season at outside hitter for the Spartans after collecting 90 kills and 160 digs to earn all-South Suburban Conference honors in 2011.

Hansen could be joined by four other juniors in the starting six for Oak Lawn, which was 15-16 last year including 11-5 in conference. Six-foot-3 junior Sean Dunne begins his second season as the starting middle, while senior setter Ali Sheik and libero Kyle Ferrero will contribute.

"We expect to be in the top three of the conference," Oak Lawn coach Ryan Skendzel said.


Tim Murphy, a 1998 graduate of Lake Park, takes the reigns of his alma mater's volleyball team after it reached the sectional finals last year before losing to Glenbard West to wrap up a 30-8 season.

Six-foot-3 senior Michal Ragan, a four-year varsity starter, will lead the Lancers in 2012.

"Michal is top tier outside hitter," Murphy said. "He has libero-type ball control, a great vertical and a textbook arm swing. He will be an integral part of our team."

Also back from the Upstate Eight Valley Conference championship title are senior libero Brian Fisher, 6-4setter Dave Prentis, 6-5 senior opposite Mike Dickerson and 6-3 middle hitter Devin Burke. Newcomers include 6-5 senior middle Andrew Hochstadt, 6-2 senior outside Kevin Smith and 5-9 senior defensive specialist Pasquale Maranto.

"I have high expectations for this season," Murphy said. "We are obviously a senior-heavy team, which gives us a great deal of experience on the court. I believe that we have the physical talent in the gym to be a strong volleyball team.

"Like any other team, if we can find unity, timing and cohesion on and off the court and avoid injury, we can have a very fulfilling season," he added.

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Hillcrest's Shannise Heady was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A, 4A all-state team.

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association released its Class 3A and 4A all-state selections last weekend. Here they are (minus the non-Chicago area folks on the 3rd, 4th and special mention teams):

Class 3A, 4A

1st Team

Linnae Harper, Jr., Whitney Young
Janee Thompson, Sr.,Whitney Young
Jewell Loyd, Sr., Niles West
Morgan Tuck, Sr., Bolingbrook
Zahna Medley, Sr., Springfield
Emmonnie Henderson, Jr., Edwardsville
Brooke Schulte, Sr. Breese Mater Dei
Megan Podkawa, Sr. Trinity
Shannise Heady, Sr., Hillcrest
Katie Meador, Sr., Salem
Haley Videckis, Sr. Bartlett
JeTaun Rose, Jr., Marist
Kendyl Nunn, Sr., Morgan Park
Octavia Crump, Sr., Zion-Benton
Sarah Livingston, Jr., Morton

2nd team

Maggie Lyon, Sr., New Trier
Nikia Edom, Jr., Montini
Keiera Ray, Sr., Bolingbrook
Leah Bolton, Jr., Bolingbrook
Alexis Lloyd, Sr., Whitney Young
Taylor Johnson, Sr., Lincoln-Way East
Mikayla Fallon, Sr., United Twp.
Ashley Santos, Sr., Geneva
Jacqui Grant, Jr., Maine South
Nia Moore, Sr., Bolingbrook
Meredith Boardman, Sr., Fenwick
Maggie Cunningham, Sr., Peoria Richwoods
SamirahAli, Sr., Hillcrest
Justice Collins, Jr., Springfield Southeast
Nicole Smith, Sr., Rockton Hononegah

3rd team

Megan Doody, Sr., Nequa Valley
Skylar Jessop, Sr., Grayslake Central
Kellie Kuzmanic, Sr., Wheeling
Christen Prasse, Jr., Benet
Marquisha Coleman, Sr., Marshall
Emma Donahue, Sr., Naperville Central
Merri Bennett-Swanson, Jr., Vernon Hills
Lisa Palmer, Sr., Bartlett
Michelle Maher, Sr., Maine South
Paige Lincicum, Sr., Cary-Grove
Asiana Bey, Sr., Marist
Becca Smith, Sr., South Elgin
Ashley McConnell, Jr., Fremd

4th team

Kateri Stone, Soph., Montini
Kalie DiNunno, Sr., Guerin Prep
Nicole Collins, Sr., Barrington
Becky Williford, Sr., Waubonsie Valley
Haley Gorecki, Fr., Fremd
Ashton Millender, Soph., Marian Catholic
Jessi Wiedermann, Sr., Fremd
Deanna Kuzmanic, Fr., Wheeling
Jackie Kemph, Soph., Rolling Meadows
Kristin Conniff, Sr., Bartlett
Kiera Currie, Jr., Romeoville
Jessica Cerda, Jr., Streamwood
Colleen McDonagh, Sr., Glenbrook South

Special Mention

Cassidy Glen, Sr., Providence
Caitlin Garant, Sr., Bogan
Alissa Hirsh, Sr., Niles North
Mariyah Henley, Sr., Niles North
Charnelle Reed, Sr., Homewood-Floosmoor
Sidney Prasse, Sr., Benet
Uzo Ukuro, Sr., Hinsdale South
Brita Wilborn, Sr., St. Joseph
Amber Johnson, Sr., Von Steuben
Gracie Sanchez, Sr., Glenbrook North
Tammy Morice, Sr., Waubonsie Valley
Claire Monroe, Sr., West Chicago
Donna Koerber, Sr., St. Joseph
Kasey Gassensmith, Sr., Wheaton Warrenville South
Erin Thomas, Sr., Richmond-Burton
Marek Burchett, Sr., Fenwick
Janessa Baker, Sr., Bartlett
Ali Sanders, Sr., Dundee-Crown
Lauren Rooney, Sr., St. Viator
Cabriana Capers, Sr., Bolingbrook
Caitlin McMahon, Sr., Lincoln-Way East
Dori Darras, Sr., Lake Zurich
Debra Jenkins, Sr., Morgan Park
Claire Brennan, Sr., Grayslake Central
Kennedy Cattenhead, Jr., Bolingbrook
Diamond Boyd, Jr., Elk Grove
Bria Gaines, Jr., Bloom
Destinee Young, Jr., Hoffman Estates
Alecia Cooley, Jr., Evanston
Rebecca Stoczynski, Jr., Hoffman Estates
Lilly Sarros, Jr., Hinsdale Central
Olivia Jakubickek, Jr., Cary-Grove
Tiana Karopulos, Jr., Andrew
Jessica Villa, Jr., Round Lake
Carlie Corrigan, Jr., Plainfield North
Jade Owens, So., Fenwick
Erin Fabbri, So., St. Viator
Hannah McGlone, So., Streamwood
Brittnay Collins, So., Maine West
Morgan Dahlstrom, So., Grayslake Central
Sara Mickow, So., Crystal Lake South
Shami Goodman, So., Morgan Park
Gabrielle Rush, Fr., Hinsdale Central


Here's some IHSA girls basketball trivia:

How many busloads of students did Vernon Hills bring down to the IHSA Class 3A state semifinals last Friday? The answer: six.

How many busloads of students did Vernon Hills bring down to the IHSA Class 3A state championship on Saturday? The answer: two. Hey, it's Saturday.

The IHSA assigned 13 officials to call eight girls basketball games over the weekend. How many were officials were women? The answer: two.

Who had the biggest crowd at any of the four sessions? The answer: Springfield.

Who had the smallest crowd? The answer: Montini (I guess since it's not football or wrestling, they just don't care).

Best pep band? Romeoville.

Best part of the trophy presentations? More Flo Rida and less Kool and the Gang.


What do Aurora Christian, Montini (twice), Rockford Boylan, Quincy Notre Dame (twice), Breese Mater Dei, Benet Academy, Freeport Aquin and Whitney Young all have in common?

Need a hint?

They are all non-boundary schools. And between them, they have won 10 of 16 state titles in volleyball, basketball and football during the 2011-2012 school year.

So I don't know about you, but I am the biggest Breese Central fan in the land this weekend.

Sorry, sis.


Is it time for replay in high school?

Take a look at this: http://www.pjstar.com/video/x1160498097/End-of-third-OT-between-Washington-and-Manual.


Congratulations to Batavia senior libero Stephanie Kinane, who has verbally committed to Loyola University.


The Zebras of Northern Illinois (ZONI) volleyball officials' organization will be holding the 11th Whistle for a Cause Clinic from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 at Niles West High School in Skokie. Proceeds from the event will be used to purchase volleyball equipment for area high schools that lack even the most basic equipment, such as balls and nets, for their volleyball programs.

Since the initial event in 1997, the clinic has raised over $22,000 for a variety of causes related to high school athletics. In recent years, clinic proceeds have benefitted local high school volleyball programs as well as three New Orleans high schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Money has also been donated to assist families with medical issues. These have included seriously ill children of volleyball officials and coaches, high school volleyball players, other high school athletes, and the family of a volleyball player killed in the Columbine tragedy in Colorado.

In addition to money raised for purchases and equipment distributor contributions, many local high schools have donated their gently-used equipment to other schools that are in need.

The cost of the clinic is $20 for those who register before March 2. After that date, the cost is $30. Additional donations are welcome.

For more information about the clinic and to register, please visit the ZONI web site at http://www.zoni.org. Additional questions may be directed to Ed Vesely at eveselyvb@gmail.com or Nancy Nester at njn51@hotmail.com.

ZONI is a high school volleyball officials' organization in the Chicago area. Its goals include recruiting and mentoring new officials, developing officiating skills, promoting good sportsmanship and encouraging advancement in official ratings and member evaluations.

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