By John Leusch
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Diamond Boyd Elk Grove
While she was a leader for the Grenadiers in kills (167) and blocks (82), Boyd's biggest improvement from a year ago was her work in the back row. The junior outside hitter collected 82 digs. "Diamond came out in the summer and improved her passing tenfold," said Grens coach Stephanie Kezios. "She really made a statement with her defense. We also moved her to the middle halfway through the season and she picked it up perfectly." Boyd also helped score points for the Grens at the service line with her 29 aces.
Rebecca Clarke Fremd
Clarke was a spark despite only being a junior for Fremd's 20-plus match winning team this season. The outside hitter clicked for a team-high 160 kills while serving at a 93 percent clip with 31 aces. "Rebecca took on a leadership role both on and off the court," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "It was important of us to lean on her at crucial times. She had a great season. She was the person we could go to when we needed to."
Lauren Dunseith Barrington
The Mid-Suburban League champions were all set with Dunseith as their quarterback. The senior handed out 717 assists in the Fillies' explosive offense and also made 215 digs in the back row. "Lauren has done a great job running our offense," said Barrington first-year coach Rob Ridenour. "Her decision-making this season has been integral to our success and she has a point-scoring serve that has made a difference for us on numerous occasions." Dunseith often sparked the Fillies with her 41 aces.
Meghan Falsey Schaumburg
It's true: Falsey was a key to the Saxons in many ways. A two-year varsity starter and captain, Falsey succeeded in any role of the game. "Her setting hands are equal to her forceful attack, which is equal to her accurate passing, which is equal to her terminating block," said Saxons coach Jeanette Pancratz. "We expanded her role this year and believe that her many hats are reasons we succeed." Falsey served 90 percent with 20 aces, was 1,047 of 1,058 setting with 299 assists and had 102 kills, 75 blocks and 229 digs.
Lauren Falotico St. Viator
Falotico, a two-year starter at outside hitter and co-captain this fall, was clearly the Lions' go-to player. She led the Lions in aces (44), digs (242) and kills (240). "Lauren is a very aggressive player who is hard to stop when she is on and she is a leader on the court," said Lions coach Charlie Curtin. "Lauren has improved drastically in all facets of her game over the last four years and has excelled to be a top player in the area."
Abby Fesl Hersey
For the second straight year, Fesl did a superb job running Hersey's potent offense. This season, she collected 759 assists in the regular season with an amazing .427 efficiency. She has also led the team in aces with 39 and played solid defense with 230 digs. "Abby is a solid all-around player," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill. "She has been at the center of our success for the past two years and fortunately still has one more year remaining with us."
Katie Fitzgerald Maine West
Despite missing three tourneys this season due to hockey commitments, Fitzgerald led the Warriors in blocks (17) and was second in kills (83) and aces (19). Fitzgerald has a hockey scholarship to St. Cloud State (Minn.). "We moved Katie from outside to the middle and she still continued to lead us in kills along with getting more blocks," said coach Randy Tiller. "Katie is just very athletic. She has great defensive skills which she also uses as a softball catcher and hockey goalie. It makes her a great all-around player."
Shea Gallus Prospect
Gallus teamed up with fellow all-area senior Danielle Siwik to run a 6-2 offense for the Knights this fall. The senior led the team with 32 aces and collected 152 digs. She set the ball 833 times, collecting 245 assists with a .294 efficiency rating. "Shea brought energy and enthusiasm to the team for her senior season," said Knights coach Mike Riedy. "She became instrumental as a senior leader for us and I could not have asked for a better team player."
Kelsey Haas Hersey
A 6-foot two-year starter at outside hitter, Haas was always a force at the net for the MSL East champions. "She has devastated opponents with her thundering swings from the outside," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill of her senior co-captain. "And this season, she contributed in all 6 rotations." Haas provided solid passing (190 digs) and serving (25 aces) and put down a team-high 290 kills while hitting at an outstanding .326 efficiency. "She is virtually unstoppable in the front row," Lill said.
Bria Hailey Schaumburg
With 127 blocks, Hailey set the single-season school record. The three-year varsity starter and captain stands 5-foot-9 but played much taller. "Bria makes the difficult plays look easy," said Schaumburg coach Jeanette Pancratz. "She plays like she's 6-2, terminating the ball with her attacks and blocks." Hailey also put down 137 kills (.268 kill efficiency) with a 95.3 serving percentage (31 aces). "Bria pursues perfection with a relentless attitude," Pancratz said. "She never takes her natural abilities for granted."
Victoria Ito Buffalo Grove
Attackers had plenty of problems putting a ball down against BG's talented libero, two-year captain and team leader on defense for three seasons. Ito collected 194 digs in the regular season (10 per match) and serve received 2.39 out of 3. She also served 93 percent. "She is the player that other teams plan to play away from," said coach Marianne O'Shea. "Coaches have told me that she has totally frustrated their hitters because she is everywhere."
Laura Kluk Palatine
Palatine coach Dan Gavin couldn't say enough about the senior setter, who led the MSL with 86 aces while collecting 653 assists, 248 digs and 41 blocks. "Laura is an outstanding leader, an outstanding athlete and an outstanding kid," Gavin said. "She really could play any position on the floor and excel. She makes everyone on the floor around her feel more comfortable."
Kellie Kuzmanic Wheeling
When Wheeling needed a kill, more than likely Kuzmanic was there to provide the big blast. The senior provided 32 percent of her team's offensive points this season and 61 percent in conference. "Kellie has a desire for success and to win which is second to none," said Wheeling coach Jason Kopkowski. "She has balance, power and smarts, and now she has experience. She just really has that drive to succeed." No slouch on defense, Kuzmanic had 125 digs while leading the offense with 158 kills and 56 blocks.
Peyton Lang Barrington
One of the most powerful attackers in the MSL, Lang put down a team-high 209 kills in the regular season for the conference champs. She compiled a .214 hitting efficiency, 2.09 serve-receive score and 18 blocks. "Peyton has really emerged as one of our emotional leaders late in the season," said coach Rob Ridenour. "She brings a passion to the court that helps our team. Offensively, she is unstoppable at times and has developed into our go-to hitter in important situations."
Rachel Mickey Rolling Meadows
A two-year starter, Mickey always seemed to be a presence at the net in helping the Mustangs to a winning season. Attackers who tried to hit anywhere near the direction of the middle blocker often found the ball coming back to their side of the net. Mickey led the MSL with 148 blocks and the junior led Meadows with 118 kills. "Rachel is wall -- she was a big factor in blocking for us," said Meadows coach Janet Opels. "I am extremely happy to have her back for one more season."
Bailey North Buffalo Grove
Buffalo Grove went north in the MSL East with a second-place finish and a player named North was a major reason. Bailey enjoyed a big junior season, averaging 6 kills per match with a .306, hitting efficiency. The middle blocker also served 84 percent and collected 24 blocks and 21 digs. "Bailey has improved her game in all aspects to become one of the premier middle blockers and attackers in the area," said BG coach Marianne O'Shea. "She figures out how to get a touch on most opponents' hits."
Kristen Pedersen Hersey
The 6-foot-1 senior, a three-year varsity starter, was a dominating middle blocker in the MSL. With 76 block kills and 235 kills, Pedersen's presence at the net was always felt. "She emerged as a solid back-row player (176 digs, 28 aces)," said coach Nancy Lill. "She had a potent backcourt swing, too. Kristen has been a huge part of our success the past three years.
Lauren Shechtman Barrington
If you checked out Barrington this season, you knew Shechtman's steady play, whether it was with her attacking or blocking, was a key part of the Fillies' MSL title. The junior middle blocker collected 181 kills during the regular season with a .331 hitting efficiency, 27 aces and 67 blocks. "Lauren provides a huge presence for us and is one of our most confident players," said coach Rob Ridenour. "She is demanding of herself and her teammates therefore always raising our level of play when she is on the court."
Taylor Schill Hersey
Schill brought a chill to spectators with her eye-popping digs on some of the hardest-hit attacks. Hersey's fiesty libero ignited the MSL East champions' offense with her excellent passing and defense. Schill collected 453 digs in the regular season, while passing at an outstanding 2.4 rating. "Taylor has frustrated many opponents with her ability to keep the ball off the floor," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill. "She is also our most consistent server (98 percent, 25 aces)."
Nina Scott Fremd
Attackers might have said "Great Scott" when they watched this junior libero pick up their attempts for a kill. Scott was the anchor to the Vikings' back row. "Nina has been our most consistent player in the back row," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "We have been able to count on her in terms of serve receive, defense and serving." Scott led the Vikings with 111 digs and served 97 percent with 12 aces. "Nina brought her game up to another level from last season," Pinley added.
Danielle Siwik Prospect
Siwik went into the record books as Prospect's all-time leader in assists (1,268), breaking the former mark of Natalie Valerie-Kelley (1,257). Siwik had 224 assists during the regular season from 768 attempts for a .292 efficiency mark. She also served 96 percent with 25 aces and collected 119 digs. "Danielle has been instrumental in leading a competitive varsity squad for the past four years," said Knights coach Mike Riedy. "I could not have asked for a better team player. Danielle will be sorely missed."
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates
Stoczysnki took on a leadership role both with her stats and character. The multisport athlete put down a team-high 181 kills along with 215 digs, 44 blocks and a .349 hitting efficiency. "Even though she was only a junior, Becca stepped up as an emotional spark and emotional leader for our team," said Hawks coach Dan Hutton. "It will be great to have her back. She really stepped up to a leadership position this season. She never left the floor and made the plays when we needed them."
Olivia Szuszkiewicz Barrington
Szuszkiewicz may have one of the longer names in the MSL but her game is hardly short on talent. The 5-foot-8 outside hitter had a breakout season for the MSL champs and earned the West's Player of the Year award. She put down 208 kills with 32 aces, 310 digs, 23 blocks and a 2.21 serve receive score. "Olivia has been the glue that holds our team together all year," said Fillies coach Rob Ridenour. "She is our most vocal leader on the court and inspires confidence in her teammates."
Julia Thompson Barrington
If there was a volleyball ACT exam to be taken, Thompson might be the one to ace it. "Julia has a really high volleyball IQ," said Barrington coach Rob Ridenour. "She plays a brand of volleyball that is almost error-free and sees the game like a coach." Thompson led a balanced offense with 211 kills (.350 hitting efficiency) and collected 23 aces and 30 blocks. "Not only has she been one of best offensive players this year," Ridenour added "But her progress as a defensive player (263 digs) has been incredible."
Jenny Vliet Rolling Meadows
Vliet was a valuable asset to one of Meadows' finest seasons in recent years. The sophomore setter handed out 334 assists while also collecting 73 blocks, 177 digs and 18 aces as a 93 percent server. "Jenny is an extremely hard worker with a lot of determination and a great work ethic," said Meadows coach Janet Opels. "She is getting better and better. Her growth from last year to this has been tremendous. She is already a good player and I think she will go above that."
Emily Williams St. Viator
The two-year varsity setter lived up to her role as co-captain. "Emily has a great work ethic and leads by example," said Lions coach Charlie Curtin. "She does anything asked by the coaching staff and acted as a third coach throughout the year. She was one of the team leaders in all of the statistical categories and without her we wouldn't have had the successes that we did." Williams' 41 aces in the regular season were second best on the team. She also had 72 kills (fourth), 553 assists (first), 22 blocks (third) and 165 digs (second).
Rachael Yordon Conant
Much of Conant's success on the floor this season was centered on Yordon, two-year starting libero who provided outstanding defensive play. Yordon led the Mid-Suburban League with 431 digs and was 92 percent serve receiving. "Along with her tenacious defensive play, Rachael is a force at the service line with precision placement of her serves (90 percent and 48 aces)," said Cougars coach Peggy Scholten. "We will definitely miss her defensive consistency, sharp serves, and feisty and competitive attitude."
2011 Volleyball All-Area roster
Player School Pos. Yr.
Diamond Boyd Elk Grove OH Jr.
Rebecca Clarke Fremd OH Jr.
Lauren Dunseith Barrington S Sr.
Meghan Falsey Schaumburg S Sr.
Lauren Falotico St. Viator OH Sr.
Abby Fesl Hersey S Jr.
Katie Fitzgerald Maine West OH Sr.
Shea Gallus Prospect S Sr.
Kesley Haas Hersey OH Sr.
Bria Hailey Schaumburg MB Sr.
Victoria Ito Buffalo Grove L Sr
Laura Kluk Palatine S Sr.
Kellie Kuzmanic Wheeling MB Sr.
Peyton Lang Barrington OH Jr.
Bailey North Buffalo Grove MB Jr.
Rachel Mickey Rolling Meadows MB Jr.
Kristen Pedersen Hersey MB Sr
Lauren Shechtman Barrington MB Sr.
Taylor Schill Hersey L Jr.
Nina Scott Fremd L Jr.
Danielle Siwik Prospect S. Sr.
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates OH-MB Jr.
* Olivia Szuszkiewicz Barrington OH Sr.
Julia Thompson Barrington OH Jr.
Jenny Vliet Rolling Meadows S-OH So.
Emily Williams St. Viator S Sr.
Rachael Yordon Conant DS Sr.
* Honorary captain
Carly Baric (Christian Liberty), Allie Bauch (Conant), Maura Benson (Prospect), Lindsay Boivin (Hersey), Alyssa Bojarski (Maine West), Beth Cunningham (Christian Liberty), Casey Dolen (Palatine), Jenn Donnell (Conant), Veronica Drabowski (Rolling Meadows), Brynn Einecker (Maine West), Kathy Hampton (Buffalo Grove), Erica Hill (Hersey), Lane Hindenburg (Fremd), Maggie Hogen (Hersey), Morgan Keller (Rolling Meadows), Sara Kern (Wheeling), Kelly Koutnik (Schaumburg), Jayna Rowland (Christian Liberty), Paige Smith (Buffalo Grove), Heather Suiter (Palatine), Jessi Wiedemann (Fremd)
compiled by John Leusch