Brozynski: Volleyball notebook

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Crystal Lake Central just keeps on rolling.

The Tigers extended their season-opening win streak to 15 matches with Tuesday’s 25-22, 25-19 victory over Hampshire. That win came on the heels of Crystal Lake Central’s perfect run through the Prairie Ridge tournament on Saturday.

“We set our expectations and team goals at the start of the season to work hard in our practices and transfer those skills to each match we play,” coach Lisa Brunstrum said. “We constantly are trying to get better every time we step onto the court and work to improve each time we have opportunities to play an opponent.”

Saturday at Prairie Ridge, the Tigers defeated Barrington (25-20, 25-23), Cary-Grove (25-20, 25-14), Batavia (25-9, 25-23), St. Charles East (25-23, 25-14) and Prairie Ridge (27-25, 25-21). Five-foot-9 senior outside hitter Mackenzie Allen (40 kills, 38 digs) and setter Susie Jeziorowski (85 assists) led the Tigers.

“Our girls played in some great matches with some ups and downs throughout the day,” Brunstrum said. “We never expected to be undefeated after our first two weeks of play. We just always have expected to see improvement from each other and hard play no matter what the score is on the scoreboard.

“At Prairie Ridge, any team could have won any set or any match that we played. There was some great competition. We just really focused on playing hard from our first match through our last match, and focused on what we needed to execute on our side of the net.”

Crystal Lake Central got another great performance from the Kelly sisters. But this time it wasn’t junior Sarah and freshman Megan. Sarah suffered an ankle injury during the team’s second match, so Megan’s twin, Emily, a 5-10 outside hitter, stepped in to fill the void.

Also contributing Saturday for the Tigers were 6-foot junior opposite Courtney Ward (23 kills), defensive specialist Sarah Adams (42 digs, five aces), junior outside Brittney Lownds (15 kills, 40 digs, four aces), Megan Kelly (13 kills, 14 digs, five aces, nine blocks) and junior Sydney Fleck (19 digs).

***

Chicago Christian was scheduled to play the first of two matches with unbeaten Timothy Christian on Thursday. The Knights take an 18-2 record into the match while Timothy was a perfect 10-0 going in.

Should the IHSA follow its pattern from a year ago, Chicago Christian should be able to advance through its sectional to the supersectional, while Timothy Christian could again be a member of the Class 3A regional of doom with St. Francis, Montini, Nazareth and Wheaton Academy.

But no matter what route the schools go, both should continue to enjoy spectacular regular seasons.

The Knights, who won the Leyden invite Saturday, are led by the Kamp cousins, 6-1 Anna and 6-foot Leah, who have combined for 284 kills and 49 blocks this season. Leah is committed to Calvin College while Anna is still undecided.

“They are quite the dynamic duo in the front row,” said first-year coach Chrissy Gust.

Samantha Kubik sets the Knights, who beat De La Salle in the finals of their own tournament on August 30 and finished second to Class 4A Yorkville (13-1 at last report) at the Joliet Central invitational the following weekend, losing in three games by two points.

Chicago Christian, which joined the Metro Suburban Conference this season following the breakup of the Suburban Christian Conference, has also defeated T.F. South (8-4). It’s only other loss was at the hands of Shepard (9-2) in both teams’ season opener.

Chrissy Gust is in her first year as head coach at Chicago Christian after succeeding James Garcia, who was 164-75 in six years at the school winning a Class 2A state title in 2010 and finishing second in 2009 and 2011. The 2010 team featured four Kamp cousins – Madison, Maggie, Stacey and Emily.

***

St. Francis defeated Glenbard West 25-18, 25-13 to win the 24-team BSN Crossroads Classic hosted by Effingham Saturday.

St. Francis defeated Mattoon 25-18, 25-21 in the quarterfinals and Henry Clay (Ky.) 25-18, 25-18 in the semifinals to reach the finals. Glenbard West took out Champaign Centennial 25-10, 25-11 in the quarterfinals and Chatard 25-20, 18-25, 25-21 in its semifinal match.

Libertyville defeated Effingham 25-19, 26-24 to finish third in the Silver division, while Illiana Christian lost to St. Louis Ursuline 25-20, 20-25, 25-11 in the Silver division championship match.

Naperville Central defeated Owensboro Catholic 26-24, 25-12 to win the Bronze Division.

Seeding for the BSN Crossroads Classic is handled by tournament director George Wenthe with input from area media and coaches. How did the seeding turn out in 2014? The top eight seeds finished 1,3,4,2,6,5 and 7. The No. 9-seed finished eighth.

***

Prepvolleyball.com has finished announcing its Senior Aces list, the top 100 college recruits in the country. Seventeen players from Illinois were among the next 150 and six just missed making the top 250.

The Illinois players who placed outside the top 100 and their college commitments included Lauren Anderson (Deer Creek-Mackinaw/Lipscomb), Ellie Dunn (Kaneland/Ball State), Lauren Fuller (Hinsdale Central, San Diego), Alexis Lee (Normal U-High/Mississippi) and Carly Nolan (Crystal Lake South/Cincinnati).

Also, Lexi Varga (Rockford Boylan, Illinois State), Kelsey Clark (Mother McAuley/George Washington),

Rachael Fara, (Benet Academy/ Northwestern), Kristen Somerville (St. Ignatius/ Connecticut), Sami Knight (Sandburg/ SIU Edwardsville), and Mary Murphy (Joliet Catholic/Western Michigan).

Also, Lizzie Zaleski (Marist/Valparaiso), Mary Boken (St. Francis/Clemson), Natalie Canulli (Benet Academy/Penn State), Ryann DeJarld (Mother McAuley/Notre Dame), Courtney Pence (Springfield/Illinois State) and Kelsey Wicinski (Geneva/Maryland).

Players just outside the top 250 included Lexi Mantas (Stagg/Kent State), Iman McGary (Keith Country Day/Connecticut), Kennedy Arundel (Mother McAuley/Connecticut), Carla Cahill (Mother McAuley/uncommitted), Alex Nunez (Keith Country Day/Loyola) and Toni Saracco (Lyons/uncommitted).

***

Boys volleyball is growing…again.

Principals and athletic directors of the NIC 10 Conference around Rockford recently voted to approve boys volleyball as a conference sports. The move was precipitated by the decision of Belvidere and Belvidere North to field a co-op team.

Seven NIC 10 schools will field boys volleyball teams in the spring – Rockford Auburn, Belvidere, Rockford Boylan, Rockford East, Rockford Guilford, Loves Park Harlem and Rockford Jefferson.

Rockton Hononegah and Freeport will be the only conference members that will not field boys volleyball teams in the spring.

Rockford East hosted the area’s first-ever IHSA boys volleyball regional last spring. Jefferson defeated Rockford Lutheran 25-14, 25-22 to win the regional before losing to Warren 25-15, 25-10 in the sectional at Highland Park.

***

Wichita State and Bowling Green combined for a volleyball match for the ages last Friday at the Blue Jay Invitational hosted by Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Shockers outlasted Bowling Green 25-22, 25-23, 28-30, 33-35, 16-14. Wichita State’s 127 points were the most in NCAA history in the 25-point era. Conversely, Bowling Green’s 124 points were most for a losing team.

Sophomore outside hitter Katy Dudzinski (Kaneland) and 6-5 freshman outside hitter Kara Maleski (Stevenson) are members of the Wichita State team, although neither participated in the marathon match.

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