It's a big deal to play women's Division I college volleyball.
It's an even bigger deal when one gets recognized for outstanding accomplishments at such an elite level.
Burlington Central product Stephanie Holthus, now a junior on Northwestern University women's volleyball team, was named to the 2012 all-Big Ten Conference team earlier this week.
It's the second year in a row that Holthus has garnered all-Big Ten honors.
Holthus led Northwestern with 487 kills, which marked the fifth-best single-season output in program history. She had 10 matches of at least 20 kills and had 20 matches with at least 10 digs. Her 4.27 kills-per-set average this season ties for third on the NU all-time single-season list.
She finished the regular season ranked third in the league in kills per set and was fourth in points per set at 4.72.
During the season, Holthus passed a pair of key milestones. She collected her 1,000th career kill during the opening weekend of Big Ten play against Minnesota. She's the 20th player in program history to accomplish that feat.
She now ranks 10th all-time on the Northwestern list with 1,294 career kills.
Holthus ranked second on the team in digs with 347 and notched her 1,000th career dig during the season finale against Nebraska. She's the 15th player in school history to pass 1,000 career digs. She now has 1,004 with a year to play.
Holthus' star shined brightest in a Nov. 16 match against Michigan. She had a career-high 28 kills against the Wolverines, which tied her for the seventh-best single-match total in program history and gave her the third-most kills in program history in a four-set match. She hit .404 in that match and chipped in 19 digs, 4 blocks and a pair of assists. She was named Big Ten co-player of the week following the performance.
In a late September match against Indiana, she hit a career-high .514 with 21 kills and also tallied a career-high 22 digs in a match against Wisconsin 8 days earlier.
Holthus was the MVP in all four of Northwestern's nonconference tournaments, helping the Wildcats jump out to a program best 11-0 mark.
She is the fourth player in program history to be named to the all-Big Ten team. That list also includes Sabel Moffett (first-team in 2009 and 2010), Erika Lange (first-team in 2002 and 203) and Janine Makar (second-team in 1985, 1987 and 1988).
Annoreno signs with NIU: Bartlett's Sal Annoreno will continue his wrestling career at Northern Illinois University next season. Annoreno won the 132-pound Class 3A state title last year and finished with a 39-3 mark (15 pins). Coming into the season, Annoreno was 91-9 through his first three seasons. Annoreno won the Upstate Eight title at 132 last year and also won a sectional title. He placed second at preseason nationals heading into last year. He won a conference title at 119 as a sophomore and placed second at sectionals to earn his first state berth. Annoreno was 25-2 as a freshman, but missed the postseason due to injury. He plans on majoring in pre-physical therapy with the hopes of becoming a physical therapist.
Annoreno is joined on the NIU recruit list by Sycamore's Austin Culton.
"These student-athletes embody the identity of NIU wrestling," said NIU coach Ryan Ludwig. "They take care of their studies, train hard and love to compete. They are both the first state champions at their respective schools. I think that says something special about the way these guys operate."
Rosch honored again: Cary-Grove alum Ashley Rosch, now playing volleyball at Illinois State University, earned two major honors recently. She named the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year and also was named to the Valley all-conference first team.
She is only the sixth player in Valley history to be named first-team all-conference as a freshman and is just the second Redbird to earn first-team honors since Kendra Hasselhorst in 1997. She is the fifth Redbird to win the freshman of the year honor. Rosch was named the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the week for a third time earlier this month. Rosch was honored for her performance in ISU's home series against Southern Illinois and Evansville last weekend. Rosch had 25 kills, 20 digs, 3 assists and 2 aces for the Redbirds against the two opponents. She had a team-high 18 kills against Southern Illinois and added 12 digs. It was her 13th double-double performance of the season. The following night, Rosch tallied 7 kills, 8 digs and 2 services aces in ISU's 4-set victory over Evansville.
At the time of the player of the week honor, Rosch was the only freshman that ranked in the Top 10 in the Valley in kills and had recorded 18 double-digit kill performances in her freshman season.
Rosch had 10 kills in Illinois State's loss to Creighton in the semifinals of the Valley tournament. ISU finished the season with an 18-12 mark overall and an 11-7 record in Valley play.
Rosch finished the season with a team-high 336 kills (3.08 per set) and also had 324 digs (2.97 per set). She led the team in points scored with 387.5.
Moreno at Luther College: Eric Moreno, a 2010 Bartlett graduate, is a member of the Luther College wrestling team. Luther entered the season with 18 returning letter winners, including 8 returning starters (1 returning all-American) from last year's team that went 13-5. The team was ranked ninth in the NWCA preseason poll for Division II schools.
Haggenjos at Loyola: St. Edward alum Kristen Haggenjos just finished her senior season on the Loyola-Chicago women's volleyball team. She played in 36 sets this season and registered 36 digs. Loyola finished the year 17-12 and 8-6 in Horizon League play. She helped St. Edward finish third in the state her senior year.
Gulczynski at Wisconsin: Bartlett product Jacki Gulczynski is a sophomore guard-forward on the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team. Gulczynski started each of the team's first five games this season, averaging 18 minutes of playing time. In the five games she shot .346 from the field and hit two 3-pointers. She averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds and had 7 assists, 3 blocks and 4 steals. Wisconsin was off to a 3-2 start.
Smith at Loyola: South Elgin alum Becca Smith has played in 1 game this season for the Loyola University-Chicago women's basketball team. Smith played 11 minutes in the game and registered 2 points and 1 assist. Loyola was off to a 3-2 start through its first 5 games.
Brown at North Dakota State: Elgin High alum Kory Brown, a two-time honorary co-captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area boys' basketball team, is a member of the North Dakota State men's basketball team. Brown started all of the team's first 7 games and averaged 23.3 minutes of playing time. In the 7 games, Brown shot .556 from the field and .846 from the free-throw line (11 of 13). He averaged 6.3 points and 3.1 rebounds, while racking up 12 assists, 4 blocks and 4 steals. North Dakota State was off to a 5-2 start.
Krutwig at Parkside: Jacobs graduate Conrad Krutwig is a member of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside men's basketball team. Krutwig was fourth on the team in scoring through midweek at 9.5 points per game and was the team's top rebounder at 6.5 per contest. Krutwig, who has started the first 4 games of the season, is averaging 25.3 minutes of playing time, while shooting .500 from the field (16-for-32) and .833 from the free-throw line. Parkside is off to a 3-1 start.
Jakubicek at Indiana: Former Cary-Grove standout Claire Jakubicek is now a member of the Indiana University women's basketball team. She transferred in earlier this year from Northern Illinois University. Jakubicek has to sit out the 2012-2013 season and will be a redshirt sophomore next year.
Jakubicek was the Mid-American Conference freshman of the year last year.
"Claire is a versatile, hardworking forward that can score both on the perimeter and inside the paint," said Indiana coach Curt Miller when announcing the transfer earlier this year. "She is strong and physical, which allows her to play bigger than her size. Claire was courted by many schools during her transfer process but eventually chose us and will be an important building block for our future."
Jakubicek led NIU in scoring last year at 11.0 points per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and a team-best .959 from the free-throw line. She also grabbed 5.1 rebounds per contest. She appeared in 24 games before she broke her right foot, which ended her season in February. Prior to her injury, she had connected on 37 consecutive free throws. She scored in double figures 13 times, leading the team in scoring a team-best 8 times last year.
Videckis at Arizona State: Bartlett graduate and 2011-12 Daily Herald girls basketball Fox Valley all-area co-captain Haley Videckis is a freshman on the Arizona State University women's basketball team. Through midweek, Videckis had played in 4 games and was averaging 21.5 minutes of playing time. She had 2 3-pointers and was averaging 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Sun Devils, who were 1-3 overall.
Off at College wants your help: Send information and/or statistics on Fox Valley area athletes playing collegiately to Mike Miazga at firstname.lastname@example.org.