Illinois players part of nation’s top recruiting classes

SHARE Illinois players part of nation’s top recruiting classes

Palatine’s Taylor Fricano is part of Wisconsin’s recruiting class, ranked No. 4 in the nation by John Tawa of

Take a pair of twins from Papillion, Nebraska, the winner of the Andi Collins Award as the nation’s best senior setter, and a 6-foot-2 senior transfer from Wheaton St. Francis by way of Tennessee and what do you get?

The nation’s top recruiting class, according to John Tawa at

Nebraska, which was decimated this spring by graduation, won’t get any sympathy after landing Amber and Kadie Rolfzen – 6-3 twins who lost one match their last three years in high school – and former St. Francis star Kelsey Robinson, who opted out of Tennessee for her final year of NCAA eligibility.

Nebraska also landed 6-3 middle Kira Larson from Fargo, North Dakota, and Robinson’s setter at Tennessee, Mary Pollmiller.

Players from Illinois were also part of four other top 30 recruiting classes, according to Tawa – No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 12 Virginia, No. 20 Illinois and No. 25 Michigan.

Sun-Times Player of the Year Lauren Carlini of West Aurora alone is worthy of a top 10 nod, but Wisconsin also landed a couple of other blue-chippers in 6-3 Taylor Fricano from Palatine, 6-2 Tori Blake from Midland, Michigan and 6-4 middle Haleigh Nelson of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Hinsdale Central’s 6-2 setter Meghan McDowell and 5-7 defensive whiz Alexa Riccolo of St. Francis are part of a great recruiting class at Virginia, the first under new coach and former Penn State assistant Dennis Hohenshelt.

Not to be beaten out from out-of-state competition, Illinois landed Bloomington Central Catholic libero Danielle Davis, 5-8 setter McKenna Kelsay from St. Francis and 6-2 outside Katie Roustio from O’Fallon. Katie Stadick, a 6-2 middle from Watertown, Wisconsin, and 6-1 outside Michelle Strizak from Cincinnati, Ohio, round out the class.

Setter Cindy Zhou led Libertyville to a fourth-place finish in Class 4A last fall, and she’ll hope to work her magic at Michigan beginning this fall. Zhou should get immediate help from a pair of twin towers in 6-4 middle Gabbie Bulic from Brunswick, Ohio, and 6-5 middle Abby Cole from Grand Haven, Michigan.

Among recruiting classes rated highest honorable mention, Hersey’s 5-6 defensive specialist Taylor Schill is part of a touted class at Auburn, 6-foot middle Shannon Nugent of Vernon Hills is part of a huge class at Emory, and Wauconda setter Megan Tallman is making her way to Indiana.

Marquette landed Benet defensive specialist Nicki Barnes, Northwestern got Glenbard West’s 5-10 setter Caleigh Ryan, Oakland (Michigan) got a pair of good ones in Naperville Central’s 6-1 Samantha Condon and York’s 5-10 outside Melissa Deatsch, and Ohio snared Marist’s Mallory Salis.

Among recruiting classes rated high honorable mention, Freeburg’s 6-3 middle Kelsey Reis is headed to Arkansas State, 6-0 middle Rachel Jones of Champaign Centennial is staying close to home at Bradley, and St. Ignatius’ 6-1 Camille Evans will join a stellar cast of newcomers at Connecticut.

Also, Joliet Catholic’s Morgan Reardon is one reason Loyola is bringing in a solid recruiting class, 6-3 Elyse Panick of Marist joins four other newcomers at Marshall, and Providence setter Krista Brakauskas should help Miami of Ohio.

Libero Sheila Doyle was part of two state championship teams at Benet and hopes to wield her spell at North Carolina, Hersey’s setter Abby Fesl will provide a big boost to North Florida’s women’s volleyball program, and Benet’s 5-11 outside Cara Mattaliano will join a championship class at Princeton.

Purdue nabbed Metea Valley defensive specialist Alyssa Ensminger and 6-3 middle Lauren Cloyd from Champaign Centennial, St. Louis got Belleville Althoff setter Ashley Gagen, and South Florida just got a whole lot better with a class headed by Sandburg’s 6-foot outside Dakota Hampton.

Xavier landed Mackenzi Humm, a 5-11 setter from Prairie Ridge, and all hail Yale for snagging New Trier’s 6-foot outside hitter Brittani Steinberg, among others.


Congratulations to Sports Performance 18 Elite for winning the Pre-National tournament June 8-9 at the Great Lakes Central in Aurora. Team members included Annika Albrecht, Katherine Baki, Alysia Baznik, Lauren Carlini, Samantha Condon, Katlyn Federico, Maddie Haggerty, Ashley Hitchcock, Ellie Ivancich and Brittany Pavich.

Coach Steve Williams led Fusion Black to the 17 Open title. Team members included Sydney Doby, Samantha Dubiel, Alexandra Frantti, Olivia Kofie, Taylor Krage, Simone Lee, Mackenzie Long, Kaitlyn Olson, Brianna Syewart and Bryanna Wesikircher.

SPVB 18 Elite and Fusion 17 Black also won titles in their respective divisions at the National Junior Classic two weeks earlier.

1st Alliance Silver finished second in the 16 Open division, losing to Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club 8-25, 25-20, 15-10 in the finals, while Sports Performance 15 Elite won the 15 Open division by beating Circle City 25-22, 16-25, 15-12 in the title match.


Four players from Sports Performance were named to the 2013 Junior Volleyball Association All-National Team, which recognizes the top JVA players in the nation for outstanding achievement on the volleyball court.

The four are Molly Haggerty (15s age division), Rachel Minarick (17s age division), and Lauren Carlini and Maddie Haggerty (18s age division).

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