Diamond Boyd Elk Grove
One of the Mid-Suburban League's top multisport athletes, Boyd became Elk Grove's all-time leader in kills (707, breaking the former mark of Meghan Voelz (613 from 2002-2006). The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter also tied Kristina Leazer's single-match record with 16 kill against Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows this season. "Diamond (team-high 276 kills this season, 235 digs, 30 blocks) has been our go-to person for three years," said Grens coach Stephanie Kezios. "It's safe to say everyone who watched our team knew we had the utmost confidence that she was going to get it to the floor for us. Everyone got excited when she went up and hit the ball. It was fun to watch."
Claire Brady Fremd
The three-year starting senior middle hitter and co-captain was a mark of consistency for the Vikings' attack, hitting at a clip of .444 with 268 attempts and over 150 kills (second on the team). "Claire is one of those people who until you look at her stats, you don't realize how good of a game she has," said Vikes' coach Curt Pinley. "She has hit over .400 (efficiency) all season and is the person we had to go to terminate. And as our co-captain, she led by example." Brady leads the Vikes in block kills, having twice as many as the next player on the floor. She has led the team in block kills each of the last 3 years. "Claire plays far bigger than her height," Pinley said. "And that is because she plays with so much heart."
Cassie Chaplinsky Palatine
Persistence and hard work paid off dearly for Chaplinsky, a senior outside hitter. She was cut twice in middle school and started out at Palatine on the freshman A team. She will leave the program as one of the Pirates' leaders in nearly every category. "Cassie was very versatile," said Pirates coach Dan Gavin of his three-year starter and 5-foot-10 co-captain. "She started matches as a middle blocker, outside hitter and right side." While helping lead Palatine to its first MSL division title since 1998, Chaplinsky was third on the team with 163 kills and 32 blocks. "She is a tremendous leader and tremendous kid overall," Gavin said.
Casey Dolen Palatine
Dolen served as a co-captain and anchor of the back row for the Mid-Suburban West champs. A three-year starter at libero, the 5-foot-7 senior led the Pirates this season with more than 400 digs. "Without a doubt, Casey had the best ball skills of any libero since I've been in the program," said six-year coach Dan Gavin. " Her court coverage, anticipation and platform control was uncanny. She is extremely intelligent and is like another coach for us on the court."
Taylor Fricano Palatine
One of the most powerful attackers in the league, the Dayton-bound Fricano led the Mid-Suburban West champs in kills (more than 250) and blocks (40-plus) in her second season on the varsity. "Taylor is obviously tremendously talented physically," said Palatine coach Dan Gavin about the senior outside hitter. "At 6-foot-3, she can really impose her way on the other team. But what impressed most is the hard work she has put in to become a six-rotation player." Fricano was cut from her middle school volleyball teams before beginning her career as a freshman at Palatine. "Dayton is getting a great prospect," Gavin said.
Annie Geweniger Prospect
With 225 digs, it was often Geweniger who was starting the attack for coach Mike Riedy's Knights by getting a pass up to the setter. The 5-foot-5 senior also served 92.8 percent with 16 aces. "Annie was an instrumental part of our offense," Riedy said of the three-year starter. "She has gotten better and better all three seasons on the varsity and been our defensive leader." When the Knights went against West Aurora two weeks ago, Geweniger came up with some impressive passes on the Blackhawks Lauren Carlini, one of the top recruits in the country. "Annie is pretty quiet," Riedy said. "But she goes about her job in fine fashion."
Erica Hill Hersey
Hill makes sure opposing attackers have a hard time getting the ball over the net when playing the Mid-Suburban League champs. She collected a team-high 104 blocks during the regular season. Hill also led the Huskies in hitting efficiency (. 386, 271-303) and was second in kills (149). "Erica is a dynamic, great blocker and leaper who gets up high," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill of the 6-foot senior middle blocker. "She's impressive with her hitting, too. Erica is a real force offensively and defensively. And she's a wonderful role model for our younger kids."
Lane Hindenburg Fremd
Many partial observers were quite stunned when they heard Hindenburg was only a sophomore. The powerful outside hitter looked like a true veteran when she put a smash to the floor. "Our entire team knows Lane is the person we need to be successful," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. "She has averaged more than 20 attacks per match (nearly 600 attempts and more than 200 kills) so we do realize how important she is to our offense. She is a great leader by example and she'll continue to work hard over the next two seasons." Hindenburg is also second on the team with 50 aces and rarely comes off the floor. "These are outstanding numbers for any senior, except she is only a sophomore. We are fortunate to have her services for two more years at Fremd," Pinley said.
Morgan Keller Rolling Meadows
When Keller was near the volleyball, good things happened for the Rolling Meadows volleyball team. The 6-foot senior middle blocker led the Mustangs with more than 200 kills (hitting .345) and was second in blocks with 67. "Morgan has done an amazing job in the middle for us as teams work hard to run an offense away from her," said Mustangs coach Joe DiSilvio. "She is almost automatic offensively and a great go-to hitter for any team. As one of our captains, she comes to practice ready to work every day and has been a joy to coach in my first year at Rolling Meadows."
Kelly Koutnik Schaumburg
Koutnik, a 5-11 senior outside hitter, epitomized the role of a senior captain. "A true team leader raises a team's above average performance to one of championship caliber," said Saxons coach Jeanette Pancratz. "Kelly is this type of leader. She is the pulse of our team, in and out of practices and matches." Koutnik led the Saxons with 312 kills and collected 229 digs, 32 aces and 47 blocks. "Her passion for the game is evident in every way," Pancratz said. "Kelly makes everyone else raise their game. She is a game changer."
Sydney Keith Wheeling
When the Wildcats offense needed a boost, Keith was often ready to oblige. The 5-foot-10 senior middle blocker led Wheeling with 164 kills while also collecting 48 blocks, 69 digs and 21 aces. "It's been a real pleasure watching Sydney grow the last three years," said Wheeling coach Jason Kopkowski. "Her game has gone from playing behind Kellie Kuzmanic (former Wildcats standout), to playing with Kellie and to surpassing her statistically," Kopkowski said. "It's been a real joy to see her come out and be a real leader -- the leader we needed this season for sure."
Taylor Levitt Conant
Last season, the 5-foot-4 Levitt set for the Cougars. This season, she set up the setter with passes. Levitt was one of the top liberos in the league finishing the regular season with 328 digs and an 88.5 serve percentage. "Taylor is a multitalented player," said Conant hall of fame coach Peggy Scholten of the four-year starter and co-captain. "She is a leader who displays a genuine caring attitude toward her teammates and all of the younger girls in the program. Her hard work and dedication have led her to the pursuit of opportunities to continue playing volleyball in college."
Kiana Lewis Schaumburg
Only a junior, Lewis was able to make her presence felt at the net all season. The 5-10 outside hitter put down 263 kills from her 687 attacks (623 good) with 37 blocks while also serving 45 aces and collecting 194 digs. "Kiana has been an offensive force to be reckoned with for two years," said Schaumburg coach Jeanette Pancratz. "This year, she has developed into a solid all-around player. Her astute mind for the game in combination with her tremendous physical abilities makes her unstoppable."
Marilyn Lortz Fremd
A three-year varsity player and senior co-captain this fall, the Vikings offense has centered around this multisport athlete. "Marilyn has done an outstanding job the last three years for us," said Fremd coach Curt Pinley. " She has been a great leader and brings a lot of varsity experience from basketball as well which helped her become a leader in volleyball." Lortz set over 4,000 times during her career and will have had over 1,500 assists. Both numbers are all-time school records since the introduction of rally scoring. "Her leadership as a setter will be greatly missed next season," Pinley said. "Our success over the last few years can be directly tied to Marilyn."
Rachel Mickey Rolling Meadows
Mickey put a lot of effort into her game during the off-season. It showed up everywhere in her senior season. She led the Mustangs with 88 blocks in the regular season, was second with 195 kills with 195 (. 295 efficiency) and tied for most aces with 31 (90 percent serving). The 6-2 middle blocker also had the best passer rating at 1.99 on a 3-point scale. "Rachel has worked hard in the off-season and summer to put herself in a position to contribute in every facet of the game," said Mustangs coach Joe DiSilvio. "She never played back row up until this season and has done a great job passing and playing defense for us. Rachel exemplifies what we want our Rolling Meadows volleyball players to strive for throughout their playing career."
Allie Mueller Hersey
Whether it was digging or serving, the Mid-Suburban League champions could rely on Mueller to get the join done. The 5-for-4 senior defensive specialist was second on the team in digs with 243 and second in serve receive with a 2.1 ratio. "If it wasn't for Taylor (Schill, Huskies all-area libero), Allie would have been our libero," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill. "Allie would have started at libero on any other team." A two-year starter, Mueller was also one of the Huskies' most consistent servers, at nearly 96 percent. "Allie is a great kid and a great athlete," Lill added. "She works hard and is very consistent."
Anna Mullen-Muhr Hersey
After being plagued by a foot injury last season, Mullen-Muhr enjoyed her first healthy season on the varsity and came through with flying colors to help lead Hersey to a 10th MSL championship in program history. The 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter led the Huskies with 225 kills and a terrific .312 hitting efficiency (471/529) while also collecting 21 blocks. "Anna had an outstanding season," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill. "She came back from last season and has been a dominant hitter. She's been a great outside hitter with a big swing."
Alaina Murphy Buffalo Grove
As a junior, Murphy will be returning next season. And it will once again be hard to return her attacks. The 5-foot-11 co-captain was BG's top attacker this season with 268 kills. Murphy was second on the team with 240 digs, third with 33 blocks and served 91 percent with a team-high 31 aces. "She was our go-to player on the court," said Bison first-year coach Matt Priban. "Any time we needed a kill, even if she was in the back row, we were able to utilize Alaina and she'd get it. She's a great leader and has that competitive edge that everyone else picks up on."
Kelly Murphy Leyden
A three-year varsity performer, Murphy is the Eagles' strongest offensive weapon. The junior outside hitter averages 9 kills a match. She also serves a great jump float that scores us points very time around," said Leyden coach Danielle Kowalkowski. "Kelly has played club volleyball for six years and is the most fundamentally sound player I have ever coached. Her experience helps lead our team to play aggressive and stay positive out on the court."
Lauren Shectman Barrington
At 6-foot-1, many people have to look up at Shectman, but she was also looked up to in another way. "I think every player in the program from freshman to senior looks at her energy and passion and has spent the year trying to match it," said Fillies coach Rob Ridenour of the senior outside hitter who put down 242 kills, with 176 digs and 56 aces. "Lauren is our emotional leader," Ridenour added. "She's a tremendous example of what a great high school athlete should be by being a great student, great teammate, and a pretty darn good player. She has made our program a better place and we are going to miss her next season.
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates
Stoczynski, also a talented post player for the Hawks basketball team, made her presence felt.at the net and in the back row in volleyball. The 6-foot senior outside hitter led Hoffman in kills and was second in digs and aces. "She was our captain on and off the floor," said Hoffman Estates coach Dan Hutton. "All the younger kids looked up to Becca. She is a great role model." Stoczynski played on Hutton's varsity for three seasons. "She is very powerful on offense," Hutton added. "Defensively, she'd get to every ball. half the time, I'd think the ball was down, and she'd pick it up."
Julia Thompson Barrington
With her solid all-around play -- 293 kills, 292 digs, 42 aces during the regular season -- Thompson was the Fillies' most consistent player. "To be honest, I sometimes take for granted how good she is because she produced for us in every single match and every single point," said Barrington coach Rob Ridenour of his 6-foot senior outside hitter who also passed at a 2.42 clip on a 3-point scale. "It's simply an incredible season and hits every single piece of what a coach could want from an outside hitter. I'm sure that we will have plenty of "We miss Julia" moments next year."
Mary Zawlocki Buffalo Grove
Zawlocki, a senior co-captain, was always a factor at the net, whether it was attacking or blocking. "Mary had a very big block" said BG coach Matt Priban of his 6-foot middle blocker who served 93 percent while leading the team in blocks (56) and second with 112 kills. "She was able to get over the net," Priban said. "And for a middle blocker, Mary played excellent defense when she was in the back row. She has come a long ways. We ran a lot of different plays with her."
Molly Ziegler St. Viator
St. Viator coach Charlie Curtin couldn't have asked for much more of his 5-foot-8 setter this fall. The junior co-captain made the sets easy for Lions' attackers, handing out 453 assists. But she also kept the opponent off balance by putting down 79 kills (second most on the team). "Molly's game from day one in our program improved drastically," said Curtin, who also got a team-high 42 aces from Ziegler. "She has much more of an array of skills in her arsenal and uses them very well. Molly has been a great leader on and off the court."
Player School Pos. Yr.
Diamond Boyd Elk Grove OH Sr.
Claire Brady Fremd OH Sr
Cassidy Chaplinsky Palatine OH Sr
Casy Dolen Palatine L Sr.
*Abby Fesl Hersey S Sr.
Taylor Fricano Palatine OH Sr.
Annie Geweniger Prospect L Sr.
Erica Hill Hersey MB Sr.
Lane Hindenburg Fremd OH So.
Sydney Keith Wheeling MB Sr.
Morgan Keller Rolling Meadows M Sr.
Kelly Koutnik Schaumburg OH Sr
Taylor Levitt Conant L Sr.
Kiana Lewis Schaumburg OH Jr.
Marilyn Lortz Fremd S Sr.
Rachel Mickey Rolling Meadows MB Sr.
Allie Mueller Hersey DS Sr.
Anna Mullen-Muhr Hersey OH Sr.
Alaina Murphy Buffalo Grove OH Jr
Kelly Murphy Leyden OH Jr
*Taylor Schill Hersey L Sr.
Lauren Shectman Barrington OH Sr
Becca Stoczynski Hoffman Estates OH Sr.
Julia Thompson Barrington OH Sr.
Mary Zawlocki Buffalo Grove MB Sr.
Molly Ziegler St. Viator S Jr.
* -- Honorary co-captains
Emily Casaletto (Barrington), Marissa Christy (Schaumburg), Mary Cleary (St. Viator), Ashley Collins (Maine West), Beth Cunningham (Christian Liberty), Laura Desautels (Schaumburg), Rachel Freeman (Christian Liberty), Liz Fuerst (Hersey), Maria Georgoulis (Buffalo Grove), Alex Heidrich (Palatine), Holly Hunt (Prospect), Christine Juhas (Elk Grove), Kayla Kendzior (Palatine), Sara Kern (Wheeling), Katie Krebs (Hersey), Sam Loebbaka (Prospect), Sara Lopez (St. Viator), Sami Kay (Rolling Meadows), Carly O'Kray (Leyden), Suzi Loznjakovic (Conant), Lea Masciopinto (Buffalo Grove), Megan Mueller (St. Viator), Amanda Mullin (Wheeling), Deanna Murphy (Schaumburg), Bailey North (Buffalo Grove), Nicole Obos (Fremd), Jenn O'Donnell (Conant), Gabriella Olhava (Hersey), Kassidy Riportella (Maine West), Sarah Schiffner (Palatine), Nina Scott (Fremd), Val Soderstrom (Palatine), Kerry Souder (Elk Grove), Courtney Stedman (Hersey), Jenny Vliet (Rolling Meadows), Claire Waliczek (Barrington), Emily Wary (Elk Grove), Sarah Willie (Hoffman Estates)
All-area capsules by John Leusch