Twenty-five things about the state finals…

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Former Joliet Catholic outside hitter and state champion Alyssa Warren (pictured above) now plays libero at Seton Hall.

The annual “crystal ball” look ahead to the 2011 season, the top players and teams, will come out in a week or two. Meanwhile, here are some things to ponder about the 2010 state championships last weekend at Redbird Arena:

1. Was there anybody not wearing red rooting for Heyworth in the Class 1A championship game against Scales Mound?

2. The entire community of Scales Mound (not that it’s that big) must have been in the audience for both of the Hornet’s matches.

3. Overall, attendance was disappointing. There were more fans for the smaller school games than for any of the 3A or 4A contests.

4. The officiating was inconsistent (I bet Abby Gilleland has not been called for as many lifts all season as she was in the 3A semifinal).

5. Somebody turned the media hospitality room into a storage closet.

6. The officiating hasn’t kept up with the speed and quality of the game.

7. Working media cannot subsist on generic pretzels and popcorn all weekend.

8. Maybe it is time to abolish term limits on officials doing state tournament games and let the best officials, regardless of how many times they have worked a state tournament, officiate the state finals.

9. The food at Redbird Arena is horrible and overpriced. No wonder they can’t sign any decent basketball players. They don’t want their families to get ill watching them, at least not on the food.

10. How can an official call a net violation when it has no bearing on the play to give a team match point in a state championship match?

11. The Sherrard pep band rocks.

12. Nobody wants an official to decide who wins.

13. Sycamore’s Veronica Behrens has a beautiful singing voice.

14. I wish ALL anthem singers would stop channeling Whitney Houston.

15. I never knew Breese Central’s Jena Hemann was such a beast on the track.

16, Will Toledo Cumberland’s Amy Roan get axed after not winning a state title? (Her two predecessors each coached for one year and did not return after failing to win championships).

17. Once again, Stacey and Maggie are sisters, Emily and Maddie are cousins. I think.

18. The IHSA’s “experiment” to run matches continuously starting at 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday worked well, although some Payton fans missed the first game of their team’s semifinal on Friday.

19. Bloomington Central Catholic players wore purple shoelaces to honor Shirley Lockett, whose two daughters played volleyball there. Lockett died of pancreatic cancer October 21.

20. Kudos to IHSA assistant executive directors Matt Troha and Stacey Lambert.

21. Was there a better-looking freshman at Redbird Arena than Decatur St. Teresa’s Marie Less?

22. Big Ten basketball official Ed Hightower, we know where you work.

23. Cary-Grove joined Prairie Ridge (2005) and Naperville Central (1998) as the only teams playing in the largest class (AA or 4A) that entered the championship game unbeaten since Mother McAuley in 1982. All three lost.

24. Cary-Grove’s Kelly Lamberti (21 kills) and Lyons’ Jocelynn Birks (18 kills) both broke the 4A state championship game record of 17 kills set by Benet’s Ariana Mankus in 2008.

25. Finally, Joliet Catholic defeats Breese Mater Dei to win the 2011 Class 3A title.

***

In other news…

Seton Hall freshman libero Alyssa Warren (Joliet) racked up 48 digs in two matches two weekends ago to help the Pirates go 1-1 and stay in the hunt for the Big East championship. Warren had 30 digs in a four-set victory over Syracuse (one shy of tying her career-high) and 18 digs in a five-set match against Marquette.

Warren has 480 digs on the season which is a new Seton Hall freshman record and the third-highest, single-season total in school history.

Other local members of the Seton Hall volleyball team are senior Sarah Osmun (Crystal Lake), junior Meghan Matusiak (Winfield) and senior Megan Murison (Woodridge).

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