Matt Callaway, Wheaton Warrenville South
With his size, quickness and ability to read the setter, the 6-foot-8 middle hitter takes a big chunk of the net away from opponents. Callaway is a dominant blocker who has also become a major threat on offense with 204 kills for the state titlists “Matt’s lateral speed and agility along the net are outstanding,” said Tigers coach Bill Schreier. “He also brings the intangibles and he’s improved every year.” Callaway is headed to Penn State.
Tom Connelly, Addison Trail
Connelly, a fierce competitor, is the latest in the tradition of scrappy Addison Trail liberos. He was the cool veteran on a young Blazers team (23-15) that won a regional title in a “rebuilding year.” He led the team in digs with 419 and he was the top server with 52 aces. “Tom’s the ultimate leader,” said Addison Trail coach Tom Hubner. “He’s the rock who held everything together.” Connelly will attend Iowa.
Alex Emanuel, Glenbard West
Emanuel is the engine that makes the Hilltoppers go. He’s the setter, the team’s best athlete and a solid leader. A three-year varsity starter “Manny” gave out 624 assists and he can dig with the best liberos in the state. He has uncanny court vision and can find his hitters anywhere and with any kind of set. “His teammates trust him with their lives. His personality is contagious,” coach Christine Giunta said. Emanuel is going to Colgate on a football scholarship.
Matt Finder, Glenbard East
Finder has been a stabilizing force for the Rams for more than three years. The senior libero is second in all-time career digs for the team, adding 432 this year. He’s quick, he reads the play well and he doesn’t back down. “He gets to the spot the ball is going before the hitter even hits it,” said coach Marci Maier. “In serving, serve-receive and digging he was our most consistent player.”
Brian Fischer, Lake Park
One big reason the Lancers made it to the Elite Eight was Fischer, who switched from libero to outside hitter midway through the season. In his new role the 6-foot-2 senior former soccer player, showed his selflessness, versatility and leadership. He had 165 kills and 325 digs. “He’s the key to our defense, and he’s dynamic and consistent on offense,” said coach Tim Murphy. “He’s a clutch player. I’d take six Brian Fischers any day.” He’ll attend Elmhurst College.
Luke Furman, Waubonsie Valley
Furman, a junior and three-year starter, dealt almost 1,000 assists this year. He’s just a natural setter with a commanding court presence. He plays the game with intelligence and serves as a team leader. “Luke is quick, he makes the right decisions and he knows where to put the ball,” coach Al Lagger said. “He also led the team in aces, and he knows when to go for the kill.”
Greg Garro, Downers Grove South
Garro, a senior, made the most of his first year on varsity, coming through with 209 kills as a right-side hitter. A starter on the Mustangs basketball team, he has come of age as a volleyball player utilizing his great foot speed and leaping ability to become a primary offensive weapon. ”The other kids know that when Greg gets the ball, it’s going down,” coach Kurt Steuer said. “You can’t ask for more than a tall, athletic, left-handed player who can block on the right side.
Wheaton Warrenville South
The 6-foot-6 Tigers senior is Captain of the Daily Herald All-Area team. He produced the numbers and provided so many intangibles that were major factors in the Tigers 42-0 championship season. “Thomas impressed as a sophomore,” said Tigers coach Bill Schreier. “And he continued to progress, challenge himself to be the best he could be, and he never lost sight of the big picture.” Jaeschke will continue playing volleyball at Loyola (Chicago).
Luke Ladowski, Benet
A four-year starter, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter brings a wealth of athleticism, enthusiasm and knowhow. He has provided the consistency and the outstanding passing the Redwings need to run their offense. He had 292 kills, 161 digs and 41 aces to help lead Benet to the sectional semifinals. “We count on Luke to keep rallies going,” coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “He’s been a steady force all season and he’s a big-game player.”
Ian Lawson, Glenbard West
One of the most explosive hitters in the state, the 6-foot-7 senior outside hitter is equally lethal near the net and from the back row. This three-year starter had more than 300 kills but showed that he was the whole package with 36 aces, 75 digs and 55 blocks. “He has excellent hands,” coach Christine Giunta said. “He’s a great passer and he’s Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected on the court.” Lawson will play volleyball at Quincy.
Robbie Mead, Hinsdale South
Mead carried his team this year from his outside hitter position. The 6-foot junior is quick, he’s a great leaper, he reads the game well, and he’s got another year. With 251 kills Mead should finish his career as the school’s all-time kill leader. “Everyone knew he would get the ball,” said coach Bill Rasavongxay. “But he would get his kills hitting through and around the block. His work ethic is an inspiration to his teammates.”
Zack Parik, Downers Grove North
Parik has “a volleyball mind”, according to coach Mark Wasik. A four-year starter who will play at Penn State next year, Parik is an analytical thinker on the court who never gets rattled. He makes the right decisions as a setter and at 6-foot-4 he’s a presence at the net as both a hitter and blocker. “He’s a physical player who does a great job of shutting down the other team’s outside hitter,” Wasik said.
Matt Ploke, Glenbard East
Ploke’s 274 kills led the Rams team that made it to the sectional finals. The 6-foot-3 senior is a great leaper who has all the shots, all the angles and he mixes his shots well. He’s dangerous in both the front and back rows. He was also second on the team in digs with 155. “He did it all for us,” coach Marci Maier said. “He stepped up his game this season after working hard in the off-season.”
Spencer Sauter, Naperville North
Sauter, the go-to hitter for the Huskies, finished the season with 358 kills including 27 in the regional semifinals against Benet. He also had the highest passing average on the team and came up with 163 digs. “Spencer hits hard and he’s smart,” said Naperville North coach Nate Bornancin. “He’s a weapon wherever he is on the court.” Sauter will play volleyball at Penn State.
Jacob Schmiegelt, Willowbrook
Schmiegelt switched from middle to the outside as a senior, giving the Warriors one of the most effective offensive weapons in Illinois. The 6-foot-6 Schmiegelt, who will play at Lewis next year, had 325 kills. He also chipped in 49 blocks and 125 digs. “His intelligence, knowledge of the game, skills and athletic ability are remarkable,” coach Ryan Bazon said. “He has everything he needs to succeed at the next level.”
Tim Shenkin, Glenbard East
Star middle-hitter Shenkin moved into the setter’s role this year because he was needed by the team. “Tim put in the extra time to make himself an outstanding setter because he’s the ultimate team player,” coach Marci Maier said. The 6-foot-5 senior continued his hitting and blocking duties as well finishing with 336 assists, 192 kills, a kill efficiency of .440 and a team-leading 82 blocks. He will play volleyball at Hope International.
Michael Simmons, Waubonsie Valley
Simmons was a high-impact player as a freshman. But this year the 6-foot-4 sophomore moved to outside hitter and had an amazing 403 kills. “We knew last year that Michael was something special and that this would be a big year for him,” said Waubonsie Valley coach Al Lagger. “He can do everything, he still has a setter’s mentality and he’s been the man many times when our team came from behind to win.”
JP Tulacka, Downers Grove North
One of the great middle hitters in Illinois, Tulacka has been almost unstoppable. He routinely produces kills against double and triple blocks and he has a variety of shots in his arsenal. He had 200 kills with a .458 kill efficiency despite missing 10 matches with an ankle sprain. “JP is a superb blocker, passer and server,” coach Mark Wasik said. “He’s a high-impact player, he’s versatile and he’s a leader.” He will play volleyball at Carthage.
Bobby Wehrli, Benet
Through hard work and his love for the game, the 6-foot-5 Wehrli, a starter on the Benet basketball team, has developed into one of the best hitters in the state. The senior led the team with 321 kills and a .567 kill percentage. He’s also a tenacious defender and a reliable passer. “Bobby’s a force in the back and in the front row,” coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “He’s extremely quick, he’s a great leaper and he’s aggressive.” Wehrli will attend Dayton.
Tim Zyburt, Wheaton Warrenville South
This agile right-side hitter is a varsity basketball player who was a full-time starter for the first time this year and became a key operative in the Tigers’ state title run. The 6-foot-6 senior put down 235 kills and added 52 blocks and 93 digs. He takes some of the focus off Jaeschke. Zyburt will play volleyball at Nazareth. “They’re getting a steal,” Schreier said. “Tim is a great kid and the best athlete to come through our program.”
Jacob Bles, Willowbrook, OH, sr.
Kit Bruzek, Wheaton Warrenville South, S, sr.
Tom Caputo, Addison Trail, MH, sr.
Dan Eastman, Wheaton Warrenville South, DS/L sr.
Joey Farrell, Glenbard East, OH, jr.
Liam Flaherty, West Chicago, OH, sr.
Jake Gerald, Neuqua Valley, OH, sr.
Matt Jennings, Naperville North, MH, sr.
Alex Kahn, Glenbard West, OH, sr.
Martin Krasuski Metea Valley, OH, jr.
Albert Lei, Naperville Central, S, sr.
Paul Novosyolov, Downers Grove North, OH, sr.
Dave Prentis, Lake Park, S, sr.
Jon Pyne Waubonsie Valley, OH, jr.
Connor Richardson, Neuqua Valley, MH, sr.
Brendan Roberts, St. Francis, MH, sr.
Josef Santos, St. Francis, L, jr.
Trevor Stables, Naperville North, OH, sr.
Nick Timreck, Downers Grove South, MH, jr.
Kevin Weithers Benet, L, Sr.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.