Marist gets back on track after opening loss

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Chicago Sun-Times 2012 Top 10 Girls Volleyball Teams

(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

1. Marist 2-1 (1)

After losing its opener to Hinsdale South, Marist got back on track Wednesday with a 25-7, 25-17 victory at Wheaton North. Mallory Salis had 10 kills and 14 digs and Morgan Murphy added 12 assists and four digs. The RedHawks then followed up that win with a 25-8, 25-15 victory over Whitney Young on Thursday. Mark Tuesday, September 11 on your calendar. That’s when McAuley pays a visit to 115th and Kedzie. Next up: a trip to York on Wednesday.

2. Mother McAuley 3-0 (2)

The Mighty Macs got a scare from Downers Grove South but pulled out a 25-15, 23-25, 29-27 victory behind sophomore Kelsey Clarke’s nine kills and 32 assists from junior Courtney Joyce. Earlier in the week, McCauley took down Lockport behind Ryann DeJarld’s 10 digs and five kills and Clarke’s five kills and two blocks. The Mighty Macs travel to Mt. Assisi on Tuesday, then face a brutal schedule the following week with matches at Marist and at home against St. Francis.

3. Benet 7-0 (5)

The surprising Redwings had little trouble with York last week, winning handily behind Cara Mattaliano’s 10 kills and nine kills from Brittany Pavich. Libero Sheila Doyle, who was named tournament MVP of the Benet invite, added 12 digs. Benet has a light week with only one match on tap, a trip to Neuqua Valley on Wednesday, before a big week the following week which includes a visit from Downers Grove North on Monday and the Wheaton Classic Wednesday and Saturday.

4. St. Francis 5-0 (3)

St. Francis coach Peg Kopec notched career victory No. 1,100 Saturday at Fremd when the Spartans held off (Milwaukee, Wis.) Pius XI 25-23, 25-22 in the finals of the early Bird Classic. Maddie Haggerty had 11 kills against the Lady Popes, freshman Molly Haggerty added seven kills, Mary Boken had five kills and McKenna Kelsay added 29 assists. Next up: a visit from Immaculate Conception on Wednesday before the Spartans hit the road to Effingham for the Crossroads Classic, where St. Francis is the top seed.

5. Sandburg 3-0 (6)

All that extra practice paid off as Sandburg opened its season by sweeping the Lyons quad on Friday, defeating Lake Forest 25-12, 25-14, Lyons 25-17, 25-20 and York 25-18, 25-19. Sandburg will spend another week in the gymnasium working on whatever weaknesses coach David Vales discerned Friday before heading into the meat of its schedule with a visit by Stagg September 10 and a trip to the Wheaton Classic the following Wednesday and Saturday.

6. Glenbard West 12-0 (7)

The Hilltoppers had a successful week with a championship at Joliet Central and victories over a fairly solid Trinity team (25-19, 25-19) and a young Glenbard East (25-15, 25-11) squad. Northwestern recruit Caleigh Ryan led Glenbard West against Trinity with four kills and 27 assists, Amanda Perry added nine kills, six digs and an ace, and “Is-she-a-libero, is-she-a-hitter?” Meg DeMarr had five kills and 14 digs. Next up: a visit by Hinsdale Central on Tuesday. Circle Tuesday, September 18, when Glenbard West visits Lyons.

7. Naperville Central 1-0 (7)

The Redhawks opened the season with an impressive 25-17, 25-16 victory over visiting Downers Grove North on Tuesday. Five-foot-11 middle hitter Sammi Condon led the Redhawks with six kills and a block, all in the second game, and Alyssa Baznik and Kendall Ward each had four kills. Setter Abbi Williamson added 15 assists. All eyes will be on Naperville Thursday when West Aurora pays a visit in an early DuPage Valley Conference showdown. Next up: Tuesday at Glenbard East.

8. West Aurora 11-1 (10)

West Aurora rallied from a Game One loss on Saturday to defeat Glenbard South 19-25, 26-24, 25-15 for the title of its own tournament. The Blackhawks also defeated Wheaton Academy (25-11, 25-12), Plainfield South (25-22, 25-16) and Marengo (25-4, 25-11) in pool play and turned back Sycamore (25-11, 29-27) in the semifinals. Earlier in the week, Lauren Carlini had 10 kills, 13 assists and an impressive 10-point service run and Peyton McKenzie added three kills as West Aurora defeated Geneva.

9. Stevenson 8-0 (NR)

The Patriots snapped a string of eight consecutive losses to Cary-Grove with a 25-21, 25-17 victory Saturday to win the Jacobs Invitational. Six-foot-1 senior middle hitter and Northern Illinois recruit Jenna Radtke led Stevenson with 11 kills with 6 blocks and all-tournament selection Lisa Pflugradt added eight kills. Earlier, the Patriots defeated St. Ignatius 14-25, 25-20, 25-22. Stevenson, one of the tallest teams in the state with 6-2 junior middle Julia Osmond and 6-4 rightside Cara Maleski, will face a stern test Monday, September 10 when it visits Hersey.

10. St. Ignatius 7-2 (4)

A tough and busy week for the Wolfpack, who lost to Providence early in the week despite Rachelle Lock’s six kills then dropped a heartbreaking 14-25, 25-20, 25-22 decision to eventual champion Stevenson at the Jacobs tournament on Saturday. But St. Ignatius bounced back from that loss to defeat the host Eagles 25-20, 26-24 for third place. Sophia Dodd had seven kills and three assists in a 25-18, 25-9 win over Resurrection earlier in the week. Next up: Queen of Peace on Tuesday.

Others: Joliet Catholic, Marian Catholic, Providence, New Trier, Naperville North, Nazareth, Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Palatine, Cary-Grove, Hersey, Libertyville, Crystal Lake South, Hinsdale South, Lincoln-Way Central, Prairie Ridge, Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs, Marian Central, Chicago Christian, Immaculate Conception, Rosary, Stagg, Glenbard South, Montini, Lemont, Carmel.

Quote of the week:

“Effingham has many teams we don’t know about, teams from St. Louis, teams from Kentucky, from Indiana. It’s kind of a mini-ASICs Challenge. That’s what it’s developing into. They are trying to make it bigger every year.” – St. Francis coach Peg Kopec on her team’s trip to the Crossroads Classic this weekend.

Quote II:

“We’re much better this year. It’s because we have eight seniors and we have been in the program for four years. Just being in the program together and helping each other out. We just clicked. Staying in school, being in the same classes…we just have a bond. We have the greatest chemistry. We just mesh.” – Palatine’s 6-1 senior outside hitter Taylor Fricano.

Jacobs all-tournament:Liza Pflugradt, Annie Geocaris (Stevenson); Mallory Wilczynski, Jess Bartczyszyn (Cary-Grove); Camille Evans, Kristi May (St. Ignatius); Alyssa Ehrhardt, Kassie Kasper (Jacobs); Abby Fesi, Taylor Schill (Hersey); Ruby Hunt, Arianna Salas (Evanston); Lauren Leverenz, Krissy Pratt (Crystal Lake Central); Jen Dumoulin, Juliana Gass (Hampshire); Hope Demel, Taylor Powers (Elgin).

Crossroads Classic St. Francis is seeded No. 1 and shares a pool with Illiana Christian and Paducah (Ky.) Lone Oak. Naperville Central is seeded No. 3 and shares a pool with Hermann (Mo.) and East Peoria. Indianapolis (Ind.) Chatard is seeded second and Henry Clay of Lexington (Ky.) is seeded fourth. Play begins Friday.

Player of the Week: Marist’s Elyse Panick had 14 kills in two matches including 10 in a 25-8, 25-13 victory over Whitney Young. Panick also had two blocks and three digs.

Game of the Week: Lincoln-Way East def. Downers Grove North 25-23, 25-12

Lincoln-Way East’s Sarah Buchbach was a spectator much of last season. This year, people have to keep an eye on her.

Buchbach, a 5-foot-7 senior outside hitter, had six kills, 14 service points and an ace to lead Lincoln-Way East (3-0) to a 25-23, 25-12 win over Downers Grove North Tuesday in Downers Grove.

“It’s exciting,” Buchbach said. “It’s nice being part of everything, contributing to the team. It was definitely worth the wait.”

While Buchbach’s offense got a lot of attention Tuesday, her defense opened a few eyes, too.

“Sarah had a good match,” Lincoln-Way East coach Linda Vivona said. “She has really stepped up and become a big contributor. We had her for six kills and 14 service points, but her defense was really strong as well.

“She’s very agile,” the coach added. “She got to couple balls that look like they were out of play, and that’s contagious. When someone sees that, they’re willing to throw their body around and chase a ball that’s 20 feet out of bounds.

“You see that and say, ‘Hey, I got to do that, too,” Vivona said. “When somebody sets a bar that high, you have to step up if you’re on the same side of the court. I was really pleased with her performance today.”

Lincoln-Way East jumped out to an 18-12 lead in Game One, but Downers North rallied to within 24-23 on a kill by 6-foot-1 junior Katherine Mahlke before Jessica Lindsey ended it with a nice putaway off a backset by Taylor Nirchi.

In Game Two, the Griffins extended an 8-6 lead to 20-10 on another Lindsey kill. Downers Grove North coach Mark Wasik tried to slow the visitors by burning both of his timeouts, but the hosts could not find the magic that produced an 11-6 run late in Game One.

“I think both teams hurt themselves with service errors in Game One, then when we started to make a run in Game Two they just got out of system,” Vivona said. “I think they lost a little heart.”

Nirchi contributed 14 assists and an ace, Jessica Lindsey had five kills and Marissa DeGroot added four kills. Mahlke paced Downers Grove North (0-3) with 10 kills and freshman Mary Helen Beacom added nine assists.

“We did graduate three key players, but I think the girls are working hard, they have set their goals high, the chemistry is good and they have a lot of fight them,” Vivona said.

“Hopefully, if they stay focused, push real hard throughout matches even when they have their backs against the wall, they’ll come out on top.”

Don’t get down on the Dukes:

York has been one of the top teams in the Chicago area the past several years. So a 4-7 start is very uncharacteristic. But the Dukes are finally getting healthy – 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter Amy Nosek made her first start of the season Tuesday against Proviso West – and still have one of the best hitters around in Oakland (Mich.) recruit Melissa Deatsch.

“We’ve have kids come in who normally would not have gotten the chance to play,” coach Patty Iverson said. “We’ve seen some really great things from girls like (junior) Claudia Zerdin. She ended up playing a lot for us this year and I wouldn’t have known that she would be that strong if she didn’t have to take that position.

“The same with the freshman (Alexandra) Preuss, ” the coach added. “She would not have played if Amy (Nosek) hadn’t gone out. She’s the one who stepped in until she got a concussion. Basically, I’ve been running everybody in. It’s pretty exciting. We’re very young, but were very athletic and taller than we’ve ever been.”

Other players to watch for York include 6-foot junior middle Molly Schlecht, 5-11 junior setter Rachel Iverson and 5-6 freshman libero Halle Truett.

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