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SouthtownStar Girls Volleyball Preseason Top 10

MariBrown Lincoln-Way Central | Supplied photo

Maria Brown, of Lincoln-Way Central | Supplied photo

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30 Players
To Watch

(in alphabetical order)

Megan Albon, 5-8, Sr., OH, Richards; Becky Bradshaw, 5-9, Sr., OH, Oak Lawn; Maria Brown, 5-7, Sr., OH, Lincoln-Way Central; Carla Cahill, 5-7, Jr. L, Mother McAuley; Kelsey Clarke, 5-11, Jr., MH, Mother McAuley; Amber Clay, 5-11, Sr., OH, Marian Catholic; Ryann DeJarld, 5-9 Jr., OH, Mother McAuley; Kelly Ferguson, 6-foot, Sr., MH, Lemont; Courtney Joyce, 5-9, Sr., S, Mother McAuley; Skylar Hildebrand, 5-5, Sr., L, Homewood-Flossmoor; Cara Howell, 5-10, Sr., RSH, Lemont; Sami Knight, 5-7, Jr., S, Sandburg; Jessica Krygsheld, 5-11, Sr., OH, Chicago Christian; Leah Lagestee, 5-11, Sr., MH, T.F. South; Jacqueline Langer, 5-10, Sr., OH, Lincoln-Way Central; Bridget Lebert, 5-9, Sr., OH/RSH, Sandburg; Jessica Lindsey, 6-foot, Sr., RSH, Lincoln-Way East; Carissa Lorenz, 6-2, Sr., MH, Lincoln-Way West; Crystal McAlpin, 6-foot, Sr., MH, Shepard; Lexi Mantas, 5-11, Jr., OH/MH, Stagg; Valen Manns, 5-9, Jr., RSH/MH, Lincoln-Way North; Allie Marthaler, 5-7, Sr., L, Providence; Shannon Murphy, 6-foot, Sr., S, Lincoln-Way North; Taylor Nirchi, 5-9, Sr., S, Lincoln-Way East; Baylee Panfil, 5-10, Sr., MH, Andrew; Kayla Pfeiffer, 5-9, Sr., S/RSH, Lockport; Kendal Todd, 5-10, Sr., MH, Marian Catholic; Simona Tomczak, 5-8, Jr., OH, Oak Lawn; Emily Workman, 5-9, Sr., S, Chicago Christian; Carolyn Yerkes, 5-7, Sr., DS, Marist.

Glossary

L: libero

MH: middle hitter

OH: outside hitter

RSH: right-side hitter

S: setter

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Updated: October 3, 2013 6:03AM



(2012 records in parentheses)

1. Mother McAuley (36-5)

A team can’t get much deeper and yet still be as young as the Mighty Macs of 2013 try to improve on their third-place standing in Class 4A.

Senior setter Courtney Joyce (609 assists, 258 digs) is committed to Western Illinois, junior outside Ryann DeJarld (219 kills, 397 digs) to Notre Dame, junior outside Kennedy Arundel (134 kills) to Connecticut and 6-foot senior middle Gabby Ennis (105 kills) to Cornell. Add to that bunch junior libero Carla Cahill (554 digs), 5-11 junior middle Kelsey Clark (187 kills) and junior right-side Maggie Scanlon (103 kills, 106 digs), and you’re only halfway through the talent.

2. Lincoln-Way Central (29-9)

The Knights were 12-2 in summer league play and look to be a serious threat in the SouthWest Suburban Blue behind three returning starters.

Eastern Illinois-bound senior outside Maria Brown (280 kills) is an all-around threat from the front and back rows, while Wisconsin-Parkside-bound senior outside Jacqueline Langer (215 kills) hits hard at the net. Senior right-side Claire Vrabec led the team in aces with 45.

3. Sandburg (29-9)

The Eagles lost a significant cache of power in Dakota Hampton, Paige Bendell and Kristy Theisen, but do return a good amount of talent (10 returnees in all) from last year’s team that ran the table in the SouthWest Suburban Blue and took Mother McAuley to the limit in a Class 4A sectional semifinal for the ages.

Among them are junior setter Sami Knight, who led the team not only in assists (451), but aces (48). Senior outside/right-side Bridget Lebert hopes to replace some of the power hitting, while senior outside Meghan Hutchinson is in her third varsity campaign.

4. Lincoln-Way East (25-12)

On the heels of a solid campaign in 2012 in which they won the McAuley Preview, the Griffins, or at least one of the two teams they fielded, got hot at the right time and won the Palos Court Summer League by beating Sandburg in three sets.

East did so without all-area performer Kayla Currier (201 kills), who was lost for this season after knee surgery, but return three-year starters in setter Taylor Nirchi (635 assists) and 6-foot right-side Jessica Lindsey (174 kills).

5. Marist (29-6)

First-year coach Julie Popp-Hopkins takes over the reins with one of Marist’s least-experienced teams, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of talent to work with.

The only returning starter is senior defensive specialist Carolyn Yerkes (475 digs, 32 aces), who is a three-year varsity player. The RedHawks also have experience (and some height) in 6-foot senior setter Molly Mayo, who in tandem with Taylor Holder had 310 assists, and defensively added 75 digs and 25 blocks.

6. Lincoln-Way North (25-12)

Lots of height here on a team that finished second in the SouthWest Suburban Red behind Stagg. The Phoenix were 11-3 in summer play.

The Phoenix returns a lot of hitting in right-side/middle Valen Manns (156 kills), 6-foot right-side Brittany Pappas (123 kills) and 6-1 middle Casey Zimmerman (153 kills, 47 blocks). At 6-foot and lefty, setter Shannon Murphy (38 aces, 529 assists) is a multiple threat.

7. Lemont (26-13)

Megan Litoborski won’t be there to get them the ball and Kiley Rendak won’t be hitting from the outside, but the Indians should be in a solid position to defend their South Suburban Blue title. Lemont beat Lincoln-Way Central during summer play.

Austin Peay-bound senior Kelly Ferguson (73 kills, 88 blocks) gives them a 6-foot presence in the middle, while senior Cara Howell (159 kills, 46 blocks) did plenty from the right-side. Junior libero Haley Sullivan (249 digs) leads what figures to be a strong defensive unit.

8. Lockport (25-11)

Lockport lost a tough three-set match to Lemont in a Class 4A regional final and finished second in conference behind Sandburg. The Porters are hoping to block that out with some solid returning defense in 5-11 senior middle Amber Stefanski and 5-10 senior middle MacKenzie Wasowicz. The duo combined for 66 blocks.

The No. 1 all-area leader, though, should be senior setter/right-side Kayla Pfeiffer, who had 344 assists, 246 kills and 205 digs in 2012.

9. Marian Catholic (28-9)

The Spartans program came to life late in 2011 with a heady run to fourth place in Class 3A, then won the most matches last season since the 2002-03 team went 31-10.

They don’t return a ton of talent, but they do have two stalwart competitors back in 5-11 senior outside Amber Clay (450 kills, 67 aces, 48 blocks) and 5-10 senior middle Kendal Todd (215 kills, 49 aces, 69 blocks).

10. Chicago Christian (25-19)

The Knights should not only be plenty tough in Class 3A, but also be competitive against the bigger schools coach James Garcia always strives to play against during the regular season.

Emily Workman is the top senior. The fourth-year varsity player had a do-it-all season in 2012 with 940 assists, 103 kills, 50 aces, 60 blocks and 205 digs. Outside hitter Jessica Krygsheld (292 kills, 264 digs), libero Maggie Cavanaugh (170 digs) and middle Leah Kamp (119 kills, 85 blocks) also bring experience along with defensive specialist Elise Haan.



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