1st Alliance brings back hardware from AAUs

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1st Alliance 16 Silver (pictured above) defeated Texas Advantage VB Rags 16 Black to win the championship of the 38th AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships. The match can be seen on the ESPN GO website by selecting the Wednesday, June 22, 7:00 p.m. match.

1st Alliance 16 Silver coach Beth Keck called the match up between her team and TAV “a little bit of David versus Goliath” as 1st Alliance pulled off the upset 27-25, 25-16 in a match most experts figured would go Texas’ way.

Sophia Dodd was named tournament MVP while teammates Mallory Salis and Melissa Deatsch were named to the all-tournament team.

Among other 1st Alliance finishes, Francesca Cervone, Annicka Griffith and Jennifer Marie Porod were named all stars from the Lions 14 Navy team that finished second in the 14 and under Classic division.

Also, all-star Lizzie Zaleski led Lions 14 Red to a fifth place finish in the 14 and under Club division; Lions 14-1 finished ninth in the 14 and under Open division; and Jackie Aird was named to the all-tournament team after leading 1st Alliance 17 White to fifth place in the 17 Club division.

Amanda Kijewski, Tori Clifford and Jill Briner were named all-stars from the 1st Alliance 18 Black team that finished second in the 18 Club division; and Alexis Viliunas and Jocelyn Birks were all-tournament choices from 18 Open division third-place finisher 1st Alliance 18 Silver.

In the 16 and under Boys division, the 3CE 16 Boys finished fifth.


1st Alliance 17 Silver outside hitter Laura Williams, who helped lead Lyons to the Class 4A state title last fall, was named to the all-tournament team at the USA Volleyball National Junior Championships in Atlanta, Ga.

1st Alliance 17 Silver finished second in the Bronze division and 10th overall, winning six of its first nine matches before falling in the finals of the Bronze division to Texas Advantage.


Does she get frequent flier miles?

After attending the Sports Performance Setter Camp at Benedictine University and the University of Wisconsin skills camp with potential and committed recruits, West Aurora junior Lauren Carlini departed July 20 for five days of training and five days of competition at the High Performance USA Volleyball Championships in Tucson, Ariz.

After leaving Tucson, Carlini will head to Lake Placid, N.Y. for 10 days of training with her Youth National Team. The team will then leave New York for Turkey where it will play in the Girls World Youth Championships in Ankara on August 10-21.

Carlini is expected to return to the United States on August 22, just in time to join her teammates at the Benet invitational August 26-27.


Stephanie Holthus (Elgin, Ill.; Burlington Central H.S.; Northwestern University) and Alyssa Warren (Joliet, Ill,; Joliet Catholic H.S.; Seton Hall University) are members of the 2011 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team, which will compete at the 2011 FIVB Women’s Junior (U-20) World Championship from July 22-30 in Lima and Trujilla, Peru.

Holthus was named to the 2010 Big Ten All-Freshman Team in her debut at Northwestern. She was a member of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that won the gold medal at the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship.

Warren will be heading into her second season at Seton Hall in the fall.

Rob Browning, head coach at Saint Mary’s University, Calif., is in his second year serving as head coach of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. Browning selected this year’s team based off of not only skill and experience, but also based on intangible assets players bring to the team.

“Our criteria are simple – we want to get the absolute best players possible so that we can win the World Championship,” he said. “Being the best means more than just having the physical and skill components. It means being the type of person who can contribute to a strong team culture and is capable of helping the team achieve beyond the sum of its parts.”

The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team is playing in Pool C and will open the tournament on July 22 against Belgium. The U.S. team is scheduled to face Poland for its second match on July 23. For the team’s third match, the U.S. will face Korea on July 24.

The top two teams in each of the four first-round pools advance to the top eight second round with another round-robin pool of four teams. The teams finishing third and fourth in the first round drop into the 9-16 classification second round. Both second rounds take place July 26-28.

The semifinal and final classification round is set for July 30, while the medal rounds will be held July 31.


Nora Young, who will be a senior at Benet this fall, has committed to play Division I volleyball for the University of Duquesne. Duquesne is located in Pittsburgh, Penn. and competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Young is a 6-foot outside hitter who plays club for 1st Alliance (Western Springs). Nora’s sister, Sierra, a 2010 Benet grad, currently plays for Cornell University.

“Everything about the school is perfect for me,” Young said. “I knew the moment I walked on campus that it was the right fit. The strong program that Duquesne possesses both in volleyball and academics will be an exciting challenge. I feel that I have a lot to offer the program and can’t wait to get there.”

Benet coach Brad Baker called Young one of the most improved players in the area.

“Nora started playing club in eighth grade as a middle hitter, but has worked extremely hard to turn herself into a six rotation outside,” he said. “Nora is extremely long and has learned to hit a variety of shots. Duquesne is getting a great player, and more importantly a great person.”

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