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Seven Illinois juniors among nation's top 50 recruits

Seven Illinois players were among the top 50 recruits in the Class of 2011 released recently by

The top 50 list is produced from more than 200 nominations from college coaches, high school coaches and media representatives throughout the country. The list was distributed several times for additional input.

The final list included these players from Illinois: Ellen Chapman, 6-4, outside hitter, Glenbrook South (Wisconsin); Morganne Criswell, 6-1, outside hitter, Decatur Lutheran (Illinois); Morgan Leach, 6-2, middle blocker, Champaign Centennial; Val Nichol, 6-0, setter/outside hitter, Normal U-High (Purdue); Courtney Thomas, 6-0, setter/outside hitter, DeKalb (Wisconsin); Meg Vonderhaar, 6-1, outside hitter, St. Francis; and Emily Young, 6-2, setter, Schaumburg (Southern California)

The list of the next 30 players includes two players from Illinois: Jocelynn Birks, 6-2, outside hitter, Lyons Township (Illinois); and Kaisley Fisher, 6-2, middle blocker, Plainfield North (Purdue).


Joliet Catholic’s Annemarie Hickey is among 25 finalists for the Schelde National Player of the Year award, which will be announced within a few weeks by

To be considered, a senior had to make a “massive” impact on her high school team and the state. “Massive” is a subjective term, but at a minimum required that she have statistics that were the best on her team at her position and that she be one of the top 1 or 2 players in her state.

The Schelde National Player of the Year award is based solely on high school achievement in 2009, not past stardom or future collegiate success.

Hickey, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, was the consensus Illinois Player of the Year, leading the Angels to a 41-1 record and a second consecutive Illinois 3A title. The Wisconsin signee and Illinois Gatorade recipient amassed 388 kills and 358 digs, including 13 kills and 11 digs in the state final.