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updated: 9/5/2013 4:27 PM

Girls volleyball: Scouting Northwest

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Barrington

Coach: Rob Ridenour (third year)

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Last year's record: 22-15, 6-4

Graduated seniors: Nikki Nixon, Lauren Schectman, Sarah Baldwin, Julia Thompson, Chrisie Seibt

Returning players: Emily Casaletto (5-7 Sr. S),Emily Watkins (5-8 Sr. OH), Maggie Daleen (5-10 Sr. MH), Emma French (5-8 Sr. OH), Ellie Lauderback (5-6 Sr. DS), Chase Kingwill (5-10 Sr. OPP)

Newcomers: Katie Clement (6-1 So. OH), Olivia Hagan (5-5 So. DS), Sarah Berggren (5-11 Sr. MH), Tina Bergmann (5-10 Sr. MH), Teigen Eilertsen (5-10 So. OH)

Outlook: With four returning starters back from a team that won 22 matches, the Fillies are hoping for bigger and better things this season. "We are going to be a strong first and second contact team," said Barrington coach Rob Ridenour, whose team lost to Stevenson 25-23, 19-25, 28-30 in the regional final last season. Waliczek, who will run the offense, has committed to Division I Mercer University. "She is an athletic setter who is capable of making a lot of winning plays," Ridenour said. "Our challenge will be replacing a lot of our offense from last season (losing Thompson and Shechtman)." Casaletto is a three-year starter and high level libero while Watkins and Hagan are strong passers and defenders. Roney and Talbot, also a talented basketball player, came on strong at the end of last season and have looked great in the preseason according to Ridenour. "We are excited to see the development of the other girls competing to make offensive contributions," the coach added. "We are looking forward to embracing a defense-first mentality."

Conant

Coach: Peggy Scholten (37th year)

Last year's record: 11-19, 2-8

Graduated players: Taylor Levitt (Lakeland College), Suzi Loznjakovic, Saori Ishizuka, Anita Kajewski

Returning Players: Jennifer Donnell (5-11 Sr OH), Elisa Ambrose (5-6 Jr. S-D), Diana Durr (5-10 Jr. OH), Sarah Manczko (5-11, Senior, MB), Alissa Wachal (5-9, Jr. RS), Daniele Sortino (6-0 Sr. MB), Julia Catalano (5-8 Sr. RS), Katie Lomas (5-10 Jr. OH)

Newcomers: Kari Thomsen (5-5 Sr. D), Megan Endre (5-4 Sr. DS), Stephanie Kosrow (5-6 Sr. OH), Andrea Catalano (5-7 Sr. OH), Sarah Mazurek (5-9 Sr. S)

Season outlook: With nine seniors and seven returner players on the roster, coach Peggy Scholten believes this should be an exciting season for the Cougars. "This competitive, multi-sport laden group of girls are working incredibly hard to get back into the volleyball 'swing of things'." said the Hall of Fame coach. "Our height and athleticism should contribute to our success. There are many offensive threats for the setters to work with. The leadership, camaraderie and team spirit are contagious and spreading quickly through all five levels."

Fremd

Coach: Curt Pinley (16th year)

Last year's record: 27-8, 7-3

Graduated players: Nina Scott, Christine Cammenga, Brianna Taylor, Claire Brady, Nicole Obos, Kendall Shoaf, Kaylynn Pfister. Marilyn Lortz

Returning starters: Lane Hindenburg (Jr. OH), Maisie Koo (Jr. MH),

Newcomers: Ari Messner (Sr. OH), Amy Anderson (Sr. OH), Erica Simios (Sr. M-OH), Claire Herdegen (Sr. DS), Aubrey Stegich (Jr. DS), Carly Roberts (Jr. S-OH), Sara Roberts (Jr. DS), Jackie Mursulli (Jr. S), Hope Schroeder (Jr. OH-MH)

Outlook: The Vikings graduated two all-are selections in setter Marilyn Lortz and outside hitter Claire Brady but they return one, outside hitter Lane Hindenburg. She was the only freshman to play middle hitter for Pinley in his 16 seasons. Hindenburg, who led the Vikes with more than 200 kills last season, is now beginning her third season on the varsity. She underwent surgery on her right shoulder in March and is hoping to be cleared to play this week. Koo, who will hit in the middle, is the only other starter back for the Vikings who won 27 games a year ago and has 308 with the girls program . "We will have an athletic and very scrappy team," Pinley said. "We bring a lot of volleyball experience but very little varsity experience." Pinley said he has a very hard working and dedicated group. "It will be exciting to watch this team grow as the season progresses," said the veteran coach who has 696 career wins including his time as a boy coach. "They expect good things for themselves and have high expectations. We look forward to the opportunities throughout the year to achieve our expectations."

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Dan Hutton (seventh season)

Last year's record: 6-24, 0-10

Graduated players: Becca Stoczynski, Brittany Williams, Brianne Curcio, Vivian Ross, Rachel Mirabile, Crystale Zick, Brittany Otto, Miranda Lewis, Destinee Young

Returning players: Jenny Avila (Sr. S), Renee Clemment (Sr. S), Sarah Wille (Sr. OH), Clare Shaffer (Sr., MB), Isabella Zach (Sr., DS)

Newcomers: Kaitlyn Imurgia (Jr., OH), Sawsan Shimi (Sr., OH), Kaileen Hendle (Sr., Senior), Stefanie Swan (Sr., OH), Andrea Wolinski (Sr., MB), Kelsey Warford (Jr., OH), Marielle Lugo (So., MB)

Outlook: The Hawks are looking to improve on last season's record as they return five starters. "The girls have worked hard in the off season playing club and attending summer camps," said Hawks veteran coach Dan Hutton. "All of our seniors are motivated to work together to make this a memorable year." Hutton says this is probably one of the closest knit group of girls he has coached. "They work very well together and are excited to come to practice." he said. "And they work hard to achieve our team goals."

Palatine

Coach: Dan Gavin (seventh year)

Last season's record: 27-12, 8-2

Graduated players: Cassie Chaplinsky, Casey Dolen, Taylor Fricano, Alex Heidrich, Sarah Schiffner and Val Soderstrom, Amanda Engel, Cayla Kendzior

Returning players: Hannah Bridier (5-9 Sr. OH-MB), Kim Butler (6-2 Sr. MB-RS)

Newcomers: Meg Angelaccio (5'9" Jr. OH), Julia Cygnar (5-9 Sr. RS), Ashly Frankenthor (5-6 Sr. DS), Heather Holz (5-10 So. OH), Liz Keelty (5-4 Sr. DS), Caitlin Riedy (5-7 Jr. S), Ashley Shepard (5-10 Jr. MB) Outlook: The defending Mid-Suburban West champs lost a lot of experience and leadership from last year, including Fricano, the MSL West Player of the Year who will be on the Wisconsin roster this fall. "We are still sorting out what roles people will fill on this year's team," Gavin said. "We aren't particularly big or experienced and the girls know that we are going to have to rely on ball control and consistency to win matches." Gavin likes the way the players are buying in to hard work. "They are being coachable and trusting the system," he added. "If we continue to do these things, I think we can be competitive in an always-competitive MSL."

Schaumburg

Coach: Jeanette Pancratz (25th year)

Last year's record: (18-16, 7-3)

Graduated players: Kelly Koutnik (Grand View University); Deanna Murphy (UW -- Oshkosh); Laura Desautels, Marisa Christy. Mary Camacho

Returning Players: Kiana Lewis (5-10, Sr. OH,), Sarah Stuehm (5-5 Sr., L), Oyinkan Akinola (5-11 Jr., OH), Jada Blackwell (5-10 Jr., S-OH), Hannah Moore (5-4 Jr., L)

Newcomers: Liz Thomas (5-9 Sr., MB), Stephanie Marrero (5-1 Sr., DS), Ashley Chimis (5-2 Sr., DS), Melanie Meyer (5-11 Sr., MB), Mel Tomaszewski (5-9 Sr., OP), Megan Hayes (5-6 Jr., S), Sam Krug (5-9 Jr., MB), Abbie Rahn (5-10 So., OH), Lexi Ross (5-6 So., OH-MB)

Outlook: The Saxons return two starters from last season when they were just a few points away from being in the MSL title game. "We are currently working on building a team," said Saxons veteran coach Jeanette Pancratz. "We have a solid foundation of returning players and healthy competition in players vying for positions." Lewis returns after an all-area junior campaign in which she put down 263 kills, 37 blocks and 194 digs. "Our leadership, determination, focus and unity will be critical," said Pancratz, who has won close to 750 in her coaching career (Resurrection and Schaumburg high schools). "If our players take ownership of their roles and positions, and practice each day with purpose, we will find success. We have a fabulous group of girls. It will be an exciting journey. Our division will again prove to be very competitive."

Buffalo Grove

Coach: Matt Priban (second year)

Last year's record: 17-19, 6-4

Graduated players: Mary Zawlocki, Bailey North, Alyssa Mills, Katie Schumacher

Returning players: Alaina Murphy (5-11, Sr, OH), Sarah Rivera (5-7, Sr.), Lea Masciopinto (5-8, Sr. DS), Celine Murphy (5-5 Sr. DS), Colleen Nowlan (5-11, Sr., MB), Marie Georgoulis (5-9, Jr. S), Monica Browne (5-8, Jr. OH), Katelyn Sommers (5-9, Jr S)

Newcomers: Meghan Chartier (5-2, Sr. L), Teagan Hutchings (5-10, Jr. M-RH), Lauren Ward (5-10, Jr. MB), Alicia Kantor (5-8, Jr., M-RH)

Outlook: As he begins his second season directing the Bison, coach Matt Priban welcomes back several key players from his first team which won 17 matches. "Among the returners is Murphy, who was the co-captain as a junior when she put down a team-high 268 kills. She also led the team with 31 aces, was second with 240 digs and third with 33 blocks. "We hope to be very strong defensively," Priban said. "We have a dynamic offense with strong senior leadership. We plan on being competitive every time we step on the court."

Elk Grove

Coach: Stephanie Kezios (fourth season)

Last year's record: 18-18, 4-6

Graduated players: Bridget Chaput, Diamond Boyd, Christine Juha, Katie Prochenski, Emily Wary, Becca Siwicki

Returning players: Kerry Souder (5-4, Sr. S), Taylor Socha (5-10, Sr. MH), Kelsey Conley (5-5 Sr. DS), Amber Lindfors (6-4 Jr. MH)

Newcomers: Melissa Solorio (5-10, Sr. MH), Kelly Regan (5-2, Sr. DS), Becca Maher (5-2, SR. DS), Nicole Miceli (5-8 Sr. RS), Celina Wlodarski (5-4 Sr. S), McKenzie Jordan (5-9 Sr. RS), Melissa Solorio (5-10 Sr. OH)

Outlook: Coach Stephanie Kezios has a big group of seniors, many of whom are multi-sport athletes. "This group of seniors is extremely connected to Elk Grove High School," she said. "They are responsible kids, who are already setting a great example to our younger players on how to work hard and smart at practices." A major loss is multi-sport all-area performer, Diamond Boyd, who became the Grens' all-time leader in kills with 707, breaking the former mark of 613 set by Meghan Voelz, set in 2005. "Although we lost a major offensive threat in Diamond Boyd, I am excited about our defensive capabilities this season," Kezios said.

Hersey

Coach: Nancy Lill (24th year)

Last year's record: 32-6 10-0

Graduated players: Abby Fesl (North Florida), Allie Mueller (Southern Illinois), Taylor Schill (Auburn), Erica Hill, Anna Mullen-Muhr, Julia Swan, Michele Brown.

Returning players: Courtney Stedman (5-10 Jr. S), Katie Krebs (5-6 Sr. L), Megan Solans (5-8, Sr. OH-DS), Liz Fuerst (5-10, So. OH), Gabriella Olhava (6-0, Jr. MB), Jola Ignaciuk (5-10, Sr. MB), Carly Pisano (5-7, Sr. S)

Newcomers: Catie Strozewski (6-0, Jr. S), Kelly Hill (5-10, Jr. OH) Katie Roszanski (5-11, So. MB), Kierra Busse (5-7, Jr., DS), Dani Havel (5-2, So. DS)

Outlook: Despite graduating three Division I recruits, the Huskies are looking to defend one of the longest divisional championship streaks in MSL history. They have won 10 straight MSL East crowns, including 4 titles during that run. "My team is going to be strong but we will be very young," said Huskies veteran coach Nancy Lill, who won her 800th match last fall and currently has 814. "We could possibly run a 6-2 for the first time in over 10 years. I have two tall solid junior setters (Stedman and Strozewski) who can hit as well as set." Stedman was a starting OH last season and will expand her role to setting as well. Strozewski has really emerged this summer while Pisano could also challenge for a setting spot. Olhava returns to the middle where she could Ignatiuk. Roszinski sprained an ankle in the preseason but could also challenge for the spot. Fuerst started on the outside last year as a freshman. "Liz moves from the right side to the outside, and should be a force there," Lill said. "Also on the outside will be Kelly Hill (younger sister of Erica, who graduated). Kelly Hill was a state finalist in the pole vault. "Liz and Kelly both have tremendous potential to be big-time swings on the outside," Lill said. "And with experience they will develop to be six rotation players. Krebs will serve as the Huskies' libero. Other players expected to contributing will be Solans, a returning DS and backup OH, Havel and Busse. "We have a lot of talent, but our setting, passing and defense will be the key," Lill said. "Losing our 5-1 setter (standout Fesl) and graduating Taylor and Allie who also moved on to play D1 college ball, will be tough. Offensively we should be strong, but our back court play will dictate our success this season." Lill sees this as a group she will develop not only for this season but for several years to come because of its youth. "It will be an exciting group to coach," she said. "We hope to challenge for the division and conference titles, and as we gain experience, to make a strong run in the state series."

Prospect

Coach: Mike Riedy (20th year)

Last year's record: 13-24; 4-6 in conference

Graduated players: Lauren Yearian, Holly Hunt, Maggie Haaning, Annie Geweniger, Amanda Cipek, Carissa Wesi, Bree Geweniger, Christine Hood, Baylee Porter, Sam Loebbaka, Julia Mazur, Mary Liberty

Returning players: Carly Thompson (6-2, Sr. MB), Allie Skowron (6-0 Sr. MB), Josie Saibel (5-10 Sr. OH).

Newcomers: Maddie Kiepura (5-9 Sr. RS), Maggie Chuipek (5-8 Sr. S), Michelle Korf (5-8 Sr. OH), Sarah Cutaia (5-5 Jr. L), Catherine Sherwood (6-0 Jr. RS-MB), Nikki Matters (5-6 So. DS), Michelle Haaning (5-8 So. S)

Outlook: After graduating 12 seniors, you might think that this would be a rebuilding year for Prospect. But veteran coach Mike Riedy says not so fast. "The influx of young talent should allow us to compete as a respectable varsity team this year," he said. Returners Thompson and Skowron should be powerhouses in the middle along with returning outside hitter Saibel. New setters Chuipek and Haaning will direct the 6-2 offense. Riedy is expecting big things on defense. Cutaia could be one of the best liberos he has coached and Matters also will provide solid defense. "They will give us outstanding defensive capabilities," Riedy said. Korf will be the other outside hitter with Kiepura set to go on the right-side. Sherwood, also a talented basketball player, will be floating between middle and right-side. "She will act as our Swiss Army knife," Riedy added. "She is capable of filling many roles on the floor."

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Joe Di Silvio (second year)

Last year's record: 21-14, 5-5 Conference

Graduated players: Morgan Keller, Rachel Mickey, Amy Wenzel, Sam Anderson, Hannah Powers, Martha Gasiewski

Returning players: Jenny Vliet (6-2, Sr S-RS), Sami Kay (5-5 Sr. S), Ashley Montanez (6-1, Sr. MB), Grace Skorin (5-7 Sr. L), Mia Harper (5-3, Sr. LS), Lauren Sokolowski (5-8 Sr. LS), Hannah Mickey (6-0, So. MB-RS)

Newcomers: Katie Shewmon (5-11, Sr. MB-RS), Alex Golde (5-6 Sr. LS), Brice Calzaretta (5-6 Sr. RS), Liz Vasilogambros (5-4 Sr. L-DS)

Outlook: As Di Silvio begins his second season as the Mustangs coach, he has a solid core group of girls returning who made significant contributions last season. Many of them also know a little something about playing at the highest level. Vliet, Kay, Montanez and Vasilogamros were members of the Mustangs girls basketball team that lost by 1 point in the Class 4A state championship game last season. One senior who did graduate is Morgan Keller, who also played a key role on the Meadows' basketball team last year. Keller was an all-area volleyball player who led the team with more than 200 kills and was second in blocks with 67. Also graduated is Rachel Mickey, who was an all-conference selection. "We will be looking to rely on the senior leadership that is abundant to carry us through a tough conference schedule," Di Silvio said. Kay (289 assists) and Vliet (311 assists) return to run the offense with Skorin, Sokolowski, Harper, Mickey and Montanez, who all played key roles on last year's successful team that won 21 matches.

Wheeling

Coach: Jason Kopkowski (sixth season)

Last year's record: 11-24, 1-9

Graduated players: Emily Walker, Jessi Zuba, Cayla Iwaniuk, Amanda Mullin, Sara Kern, Sydney Keith

Returning players: Deanna Kuzmanic (5-9 Jr. S), Elizabeth Smith (5-9 Sr. OH), Caitlyn Slussar (5-3 Sr. L-DS), Haley Singer (5-8 Sr. OH), Newcomers: Brittany Roman (5-11 Sr. MB), Angela Jordan (5-7 Jr. OH), , Kristen Bogacz (5-5 Jr. LDS), Alanah Greenberg, and Alexa Laureno (5-4 Jr. L-DS), Sabrina Semeria (5-7 Jr. S), Lindsay Figueroa (5-2 Sr. SDS), Rekha Varghese (5-6 Sr. OH), Ashley Talken (5-6, Jr. OH)

Timber Terrell (5-10 Fr. MB), Michaela Vasey (5-7 So. OH), Dominica Montesinos (5-10 Jr. MB), Sarah Fruscione (5-4 Jr. OH), Jaron Urban (5-4 Jr. L-DS), Jessica Zaucha (6-0 Jr x), Nikki Mikosz (5-4 Jr. OH), Imani Evans (5-5 Jr. S), Lani Greenberg (6-2, Jr. MB),

Outlook: The Wildcats competed in every match a year ago but couldn't quite get over the hump. Kuzmanic, Smith, Slussar and Singer all return for a second year on the varsity. "Each of them played a significant amount of volleyball during the off-season through clubs and other leagues," said Wildcats coach Jason Kopkowski. "They will see a significant amount of playing time, which will lead to positive results." Kopkowski has several newcomers from whom he hopes to see steady progress. "I am looking forward to a successful season," Kopkowski added. "Within our program we have a number of girls competing for the same position and playing time. Everyday the energy levels are high and the effort of each girl is at 100 percent. We want to continue improving from last year, create a winning record, as well as all-conference players. We expect to improve on our overall record, conference record, and continue to make it further in the state playoffs then the previous year."

Christian Liberty

Coach: Natalie Salsgiver (fifth season)

Last year's record: 12-12

Graduated players: Beth Cunningham, Isabella Miller, Darby Calkins, Sarah Recker, Rachel Freeman

Returning players: Megan Sullivan (5-4 Sr. RS), Shelbi Hernandez (5-10 Sr. MB), Vivian Barclay (5-6 Sr. MB), Jenna Pavlik (5-5 Sr. S),

Newcomers: Bethany Johnson (5-6 Sr. S), Ashley Houdek (5-4 Jr. DS), Cassie Swiderek (5-7 So. MB), Maddie Bennett (5-5 So. OH), Lexi Lee (5-6 Fr. OH), Carissa Kern (5-10 Fr. OH), Angelina Nichols (5-6 FR. OH).

Outlook: With the graduation of five players, coach Natalie Salsgiver will have some new faces on the floor along with some veterans back from last year's team which was 12-12 overall. The Chargers were sixth in the regular season conference play and then took fourth in the NAC conference meet. Fans will recognize a few of the players from other sports at CLA. Among those are Sullivan, Hernandez and Barclay who were key basketball players for coach Steve Rowland's varsity basketball team last season. They return to the varsity volleyball team along with Pavlik while Salsgiver also welcomes seven newcomers on board, including three freshmen. "I am expecting to see some exciting volleyball this season with such a mix of talent," Salsgiver said.

Leyden

Coach: Danielle Kowalkowski (third year)

Last year's record: 12-23, 3-3

Graduated players: Chrystal Arreola, Celia Colindres, Sarah Smerz, Kathy Wojtulewicz

Returning players: Carly O'Kray (5-10 Sr. MH), Kelly Bjorvik (5-8 Sr. S), Nikolina Jurisic (5-8 Jr. RS), Kelly Murphy (5-8 Sr. OH), Emily Steininger (5-8 So. OH), Natasha Lenart (5-9 Sr. MB), Ashley Lenon (5-7 Sr L), Xochi Vega (5-5 Sr DS)

Newcomers: Camille Lazzarotto (5-11 Jr. MB), Idaly Holguin (5-6 Jr. DS), Kendall Duwal (5-8 So. OH), Edith Garcia (5-5 Jr. DS)

Outlook: Eagles coach Danielle Kowalkowski is excited about her third team at Leyden. "The core of our varsity has returned," she said. "We have started out the season strong, having had a busy summer with league and camp." Leading the Eagles will be Murphy, who has played outside for the varsity the last three years. "Kelly has the most club experience in our program," Kowalkowski said. "She will be our biggest offensive threat and is definitely our most well-rounded player." Another strong hitter is Steininger, who played outside as a freshman. "She continues to improve," Kowalkowski said. "Emily is one of our hardest working athletes on the team and it is exciting to know she is only a sophomore." O'Kray, Lazzarotto and Lenart will all be middles hitters. "Carly (O'Kray) played middle for us last year and will play a leadership role to the other middles this season," Kowalkowski said. "All of them put up a great block and are a force offensively. Camille (Lazzarotto) is definitely an exciting addition this year, being the tallest girl in the program and one of the strongest. I have high expectations for her performance this season." Also returning are Jurisic, Vega and Lenon. Bjorvik will play a major role as the setter. "As a junior, she took a back seat to our senior setter," Kowalkowski said. "However, she is now taking the lead on the court, being vocal and running plays. Every day we continue to work on the chemistry between Kelly and our hitters." Holguin and Garcia are new defensive specialists and Duwal will be a rookie on the outside and right side. "Kendal (Duwal) shows great potential," Kowalkowski added. "She has a winning attitude, hustles after every ball and has a great swing. She will be a great asset to this year's team." The Eagles have been fourth in the conference the last two years. "Every year, our schedule is packed with some very competitive teams for both dual matches and tournament play," the coach said. "However, I have high expectations for this group of girls this season. We have several goals this season: to finish with a winning record, place first in conference, finish in the top two of each of our invites and to win regionals. These girls have played with each other for multiple years and have formed a special bond, both on and off the court. I believe this to be a great year for Leyden volleyball."

Maine West

Coach: Randy Tiller (eighth year)

Last year's record: 8-28, 1-9

Graduated players: Ashley Collins, Maddie Plantz, Ariel Valles, Tara Nykiel, Georgia Petersen, Bridget Burger.

Returning players: Brittany Collins (6-0 Sr. MB), Julia Huinker (6-3 Sr. OH), Magda Czerlonko (5-9 Sr. OH), Kassidy Riportella (5-4 Sr. S), Janna Lopez (5-2 Sr. DS), Abby Donovan (5-4 Jr. DS)

Newcomers: Paulina Dambrowska (5-9 Sr. OS), Abbi Herling, (5-5 Sr. DS), Alyssa Suriano (6-2 Jr. MB), Alyssa Pegoraro (5-8, Jr. DS), Andrea Maldonado (5-8, Jr. DS), Allison Grzebien (6-2 So. OS) Outlook:

Outlook: The Warriors are not short on experience this season. "We are blessed with six capable, returning varsity players who have good chemistry and who know the system," said coach Randy Tiller. "We've added a junior middle blocker and a sophomore outside hitter, both over six feet. That makes this year's team the tallest we've had since 2008." Collins learned the middle blocker position last season and is expected to be even stronger this year. Huinker developed on the right side last season and will move to left side this year. Czerlonko, who has grown in height and strength, will hit on the left side. Riportella will run the offense. "Kassidy has great floor leadership skills and another season of club experience," Tiller noted. Lopez and Donovan are quick and will serve as primary passers. Rookies Dambrowska and Herling are expected to develop quickly and support the starting lineup. Suriano, Pegoraro and Maldonado played on the junior varsity last season. Suriano adds to the front row height and will contribute immediately while Pegoraro and Maldonado will make an impact in the back row. Grzebien has outstanding talents and will contribute all the way around _ as an outside hitter, blocker and back row defender. She showed her capabilities last season as a freshman on the junior varsity team and will be a primary hitter this season. Grzebien made her presence in the Warriors' first two matches this season putting down a match-high 14 kills in wins over Elk Grove and Niles West. "Our front row players are tall and can hit," Tiller said. "Our back row players are quick and can pass well. Our defense will look different this season. The offense should be productive and entertaining."

St. Viator

Coach: Charlie Curtin (seventh year)

Last's year record: 15-22 3-6

Graduated players: Caroling Young, Beth Romano

Returning players: Megan Mueller (5-9 Sr. OH), Jenny Brandt (5-10 Sr. OS), Kristen Yi (5-2 Sr. DS), Molly Ziegler (5-8 Sr. S), Lauren Mroz 5-7 Sr. MB), Kaitlin O'Brien (5-8 Jr. S), Kristen Abrahamson (5-8, Sr. OH), Mary Cleary (6-2 Sr. OH)

Newcomers Maria Stephens (5-2 Jr DS), Ellie Meyer (5-4 So. L), Kasia Sosin (5-8 Jr. OH), Grace Fedus (5-11, JR MB)

Outlook: The Lions return a core of players who have varsity experience including setter Ziegler, who was an all-area selection as a junior. Ziegler handed out 453 assists as the Lions' junior co-captain. But she also kept opponents off balance with her 79 kills and team-high 42 aces. "I am very excited for the upcoming season," said Lions veteran coach Charlie Curtin. "We are hoping a year or two of varsity experience for our players is going to go a long way in tight games." Curtin said this is one of his most focused groups in recent years. "They are dedicated to volleyball all the time," he added. ""It is fun to go to practice and see all of the improvements that are being made and how hard these girls are working day in and day out."

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