Young players making a big impact

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By Phil Brozynski

The girls volleyball season is still young, but not as young as some of the players who are leaving an imprint on the 2007 season.

More and more sophomores – and even a few freshmen – are making the leap to the varsity level. And these players are not just filling roster spots. Like Joliet Catholic’s Kelly Murphy and Naperville North’s Colleen Ward two years ago, they are making a huge impact on the game.

The present looks good at Plainfield North, but the future may be even brighter. Coach Kerri McCastland is blessed to have two exceptional sophomores on her team in Sarah Scott, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter, and budding superstar Kylee Baker, a 5-10 outside hitter.

The Prairie Ridge Invitational showcased some young talent in St. Charles East sophomores Caroline Niski, a 5-9 outside hitter, and 5-11 outside hitter Jacqui Seidel, as well as Cary-Grove’s young duo of sophomore setter Abbey Heredia and promising freshman Kelly Lamberti.

Neuqua Valley upset Naperville North earlier this year behind the contributions of two sophomores – 5-10 outside hitter Nikki Feredico and 5-11 middle Emily Tulloch. The Huskies also showcased a sophomore in that match, 5-11 middle Audrey Wilson, who saw varsity time as a freshman.

Two sophomores sparked Sandburg’s upset of Mother McAuley last week – 6-1 middle hitter Lanie Muys and 5-8 outside Mary Kate Imrie, while Prairie Ridge hopes that 5-11 sophomore setter Taylor Brauneis can fill the shoes of Hillary Haen.

Perennial power Barrington is struggling through injuries and inexperience. But coach Chris Bronke is looking toward a brighter future with 5-10 outside hitter Katherine Leitner and 6-0 middle blocker Emily Harris.

At Downers Grove North, coach Laura Johnwick is getting solid contributions from a pair of young sophomores in outsides Robyn Eggert and Britta Baarstad, while Mundelein sophomore middle blocker Michelle Parssinen is establishing herself as a force at the net for the Mustangs.

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