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Girls Volleyball: October 2008 Archives

By Phil Brozynski

"Volley for the Cure," the fundraising effort for breast cancer awareness hosted by a number of schools throughout Illinois, has been called an overwhelming success by participating schools and members of the Illinois High School Association staff.

But the "Volley for the Cure" event held Tuesday, October 21 at Marist High School had special meaning for coach Natalie Holder and her players.

"Every year that I have been here we have had a player whose family has been touched by cancer," Holder said. "This year, we have player whose grandmother is battling cancer. We have another player who has a six-month-old relative who has been diagnosed with leukemia."

Marist raised more than $10,000 through T-shirt sales, raffles, donations and other money-raising efforts. The money is being donated to Little Company of Mary Hospital and an organization called "Faye's Light," which provides services for cancer victims.

Benet, Marist's opponent October 21, also made a contribution.

"When I was looking for someone to participate in this event with us, Brad (Benet coach Baker) was the first coach to get back to me," Holder said.

Although the Redwings put a little damper on the event by defeating the RedHawks, they also presented a check for an additional $1,500. Much of that money was raised through donations by Benet parents, Holder said.

"This was an opportunity for us to try to make a dent into this disease," Holder said.

Naperville North and host Wheaton Warrenville South also raised more than $10,000 for "Volley for the Cure" on Thursday, October 23. But the day had even more meaning for Naperville North's Audrey Wilson.

"My mother, Kristine, had breast cancer when I was in eighth grade," Wilson said. "She's fine now. But it was a very special and very emotional day for me."


By Phil Brozynski

Benet's No. 3 national ranking by Prepvolleyball.com, it's No. 1 rating in the Sun-Times poll and its unbeaten season all evaporated in the span of a few minutes Saturday at the Autumnfest Volleyball Tournament hosted by Glenbard East.

That's how long it took for Joliet Catholic to run off 14 straight points and turn a 23-20 Game 2 deficit into a 9-0 Game 3 lead. Benet got within 20-18, but a service error and service receive error sealed the Redwings' fate.

"When you're in a hole, you have to go after them," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "You can't play sideout. You can't take your foot off the pedal."

Benet can still contend for a state title, but it will be difficult for the Redwings to pull off a national title.

"To win 30 matches anytime is still a big accomplishment," Baker said. "There's so many quality teams out there. It's been a long time since a big school went unbeaten."

The last Illinois big school to go undefeated was Mother McAuley, which went 48-0 in 1982 under Mary Anne Malone. Crystal Lake Central went 42-0 last year, but the Tigers pulled off the feat in Class 3A.

Defending Class 4A state champion Naperville Central also had a difficult day at Autumnfest, but the Redhawks were shorthanded.

Naperville Central setter Kelsey Hoey caught an elbow to the face from teammate Emily McGee during Friday's pool play. X-rays were negative, but Hoey's right eye was swollen shut Saturday.

Hoey joined outside hitter Meghan Bray on the bench for Central Saturday as the Redhawks lost to McAuley in the semifinals and Benet in the third-place match. Both should be back by the state tournament.

"We're at a little disadvantage right now," Naperville Central coach Brie Isaacson said. "But I expect certain things from the kids out there no matter who is playing. You hope to learn from your mistakes and get better. You learn from the bad and you learn from the good.

"It's been a crazy week," said Isaacson, who is also expecting her fourth child at any time. "But to be in the top four here down two kids...it's OK."

One team expected to finish in the top four at Autumnfest was St. Charles East. But the Saints had to settle for seventh after squandering a 7-1 lead in Game 2 of a 25-13, 25-21 quarterfinal loss to Joliet Catholic.

"Emotionally, we weren't into it (Saturday)," St. Charles East coach Jennie Kull said. "Our young kids played well, but our leaders didn't. It's been a tough two weeks. We just have to regroup and go after it."

St. Charles East finished second at its own tournament on October 11, defeated Downers Grove South on October 13, defeated Upstate Eight Conference rival Bartlett in an emotional match 24 hours later then ran out of steam Saturday.

The Saints' top hitter, Caroline Niski, is also dealing with a sore shoulder.

"We lost to two good programs (Saturday)," Kull said. "It's not an end all."

Finally, at least this time the damage was minimal, but Joliet Catholic might want to consider wearing rubber suits at Autumnfest.

Joliet Catholic libero Stephanie Keca injured her ankle after stepping on a teammate's foot while jumping up and down following the Angels' win over Benet Saturday. Keca was unable to play in the championship match against McAuley.

Last year, Joliet Catholic lost one player to a knee injury at Autumnfest and Kelly Murphy injured an ankle at practice the following day. The injuries contributed to Joliet Catholic's Class 3A supersectional loss.

Notes and quotes from Mizuno Cup

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By Phil Brozynski

What's up with Wheaton Warrenville South?

The Tigers (17-8) have been struggling all season with preserving leads and winning big matches against a schedule that can only be described as brutal. But Saturday at the Mizuno Cup, the Tigers stunned nationally-ranked Belleville Althoff 25-14, 27-25 for fifth place.

"This was something we've been striving toward," Wheaton South coach Bill Schreier said. "We've been able to get off to good leads against good teams, but we have not been able to hold on.

"Maybe we're turning the corner," he added.

Wheaton South's only loss at Mizuno was a 25-15, 25-15 setback to eventual champion Joliet Catholic in the Gold quarterfinals.

"It would have been nice to play better against them," Schreier said.

The Tigers, whose schedule includes the Wheaton Classic and Mizuno Cup tournaments, are seeded sixth at the York Sectional

***

Geneva (23-3), which drew the second seed at the York sectional, finished 13th at Mizuno. The Vikings lost to nationally-ranked Muskego (Wis.) 25-12, 25-23 in Friday's pool play and to Freeport 25-21, 26-24 in the Silver quarterfinals before beating St. Charles North 25-12, 25-18.

Freeport (23-4) won the Silver bracket with a 25-16, 25-22 victory over Neuqua Valley.

"We started off a little slow (this weekend)," said Geneva junior Lauren Wicinski. "It was important to get a chance to play St. Charles North because they're in our regional. They're a good team. During regional, everybody is more into it."

***

It was not a good weekend for Naperville North.

The Huskies, who were seeded in the top four, lost to eventual tournament champion Joliet Catholic 22-25, 25-19, 25-12 in pool play then fell to Neuqua Valley 21-25, 32-30, 25-20 in the Silver semifinals.

"Overall, we were pretty inconsistent," Naperville North coach Jennifer Urban said. "When you play good competition, it's important to be consistent. Both of our losses were in three games and both after we won the first game.

"It was a combination of our inconsistent play and our opponents' stepping it up and playing better," she added.

***

Rosary is a mystery.

The Royals, fresh off their victory over St. Francis Thursday, were routed by Naperville Central 25-15, 25-6 and then lost to St. Charles North 25-21, 16-25, 27-25 in pool play at the Mizuno Cup and found themselves relegated to the Bronze division.

Rosary did come back to win the Bronze, but it was not the kind of performance that coach Lisa Kasper had hoped for.

"Our most consistent player has been (junior) Emily Weber, and (senior setter) Karen Matic has been pretty steady as well," Kasper said. "But we need the rest of our seniors to step up and be more consistent."

***

And finally, congratulations to Crystal Lake Central coach Doug Blundy and Fremd coach Curt Pinley for reaching milestones last weekend.

Blundy recorded his 700th career victory Saturday. His 702-175 overall record gives him the ninth-most wins in state history. Pinley won his 500th high school varsity volleyball match (girls and boys combined) as his girls team won the Grayslake North invitational on Saturday.

By Phil Brozynski

The statewide sectional seeding meetings will be held Wednesday, and coaches will have some interesting decisions to make.

Four teams can make a legitimate argument for the No. 1 seed at the Class 3A Crete-Monee sectional, which features Lemont (15-1), Joliet Catholic (18-2), Oak Forest (17-1) and Evergreen Park (18-0). Joliet Catholic may get the nod based on reputation, but Lemont may be the best team in the field.

On the other hand, after Payton (26-1) snags the top seed at the Class 3A (River Forest) Trinity sectional, who will round out the top four?

Five teams are top-four worthy at the Class 4A York sectional - St. Charles East (19-1), Geneva (18-1), York (20-4), Bartlett and Wheaton Warrenville South. Wheaton South has played the toughest schedule, but will that impress the voters?

Hersey (18-3), Lake Zurich (18-2) and Fremd (16-5) should be the top three seeds at Barrington, while Benet (19-0), Naperville North (18-1), Naperville Central (18-2) and Downers Grove South (17-6) should go Nos. 1-4 at Downers South.

The nod at DeLaSalle should go to a steadily improving Lyons team over St. Ignatius, while Mother McAuley's sectional title at Andrew is mere formality.

***

Is there a hotter team in Illinois than Mother McAuley?

After losing their season opener at Downers Grove South, the Mighty Macs reeled off 17 consecutive wins including a victory over Nike Challenge champion Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) before faltering late against St. James (Kansas City, Kan.) at the Nike Challenge.

The streak helped catapult Mother McAuley into the 18th spot (up 23 spots) in the October 2 PrepVolleyball.com national rankings. The Mighty Macs leapfrogged both Naperville Central and Naperville North.

Benet Academy remained the highest ranked Illinois team, checking in at No. 3 after last week's big win over visiting Downers Grove South. Ariana Mankus had 17 kills for Benet, while Jessica Jendryk added eight kills and two blocks.

Naperville North checked in at No. 22, down two spots from the previous week, followed by Naperville Central (25th, down three spots), St. Charles East (35th, up two spots), No. 63 Lemont (ranked for the first time), No. 90 St. Francis and No. 93 Downers Grove South.

Teams on the bubble include: Bloomington, Breese Mater Dei, Burlington Central, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Edwardsville, Freeburg, Geneva, Hampshire, Joliet Catholic, Lemont, Metamora and St. Francis.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Girls Volleyball category from October 2008.

Girls Volleyball: September 2008 is the previous archive.

Girls Volleyball: November 2008 is the next archive.

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