41st annual Mid-Suburban League girls volleyball championship
Who: Hersey (18-11, 9-1) at Barrington (18-16, 9-1)
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
How they got here: Hersey won the MSL East title with a 9-1 record, losing for the first time in 53 conference matches (25-23, 22-25, 25-21 to Elk Grove in the third match of conference play). Barrington's only loss in the MSL West came at home to Fremd (25-23, 25-22 in the Fillies' fourth conference match of the season
History: The first MSL match was played in 1973, when Schaumburg defeated Hersey. Hersey has since played in 18 title matches, 17 under current coach Nancy Lill, who won her 800th match last season. The Huskies have won 10 crowns (9 under Lill), including four of the last five. Barrington has appeared in 13 title matches, the last in 2011 when the Fillies topped Hersey. Barrington has won 10 championship matches including a record five in a row from 2000 to 2004 under coach Karen Traub.
Hersey roster: Joslyn Kerman (5-9 Jr. OH), Megan Solans (5-9 DS. OH), Caity Strozewski (5-11 Jr. S), Dani Havel (5-3 So. DS), Latiue Rozanski (5-11, So MH-OH), Kelly Hill (5-9 Jr. OH), Katie Krebs (5-7 Sr. L), Kira Busse (5-7 Jr. DS), Carly Pisano (5-7 Sr. S), Courtney Stenman (5-10 Jr. S), Jola Ignaciuk (5-10- Sr. MH) Liz Fuerst (5-10 Sr. MH), Gabri Olhava (6-0 Jr. MH), Paige Pinnozo (5-5 So. DS).
Barrington roster: Claire Waliczek (5-8 Sr. S), Olivia Hagen (5-4 So. L), Emily Casaletto (5-4 Sr. L), Maggie Daleen (5-10 Sr. MH), Katie Clement (6-0 So. MH), Tina Bergmann 5-10 Sr. MH), Emily Watkins (5-7 Sr. OH), Emma French (5-8 Sr. oh), Christy Roney (5-10 Sr. OH), Chase Kingwell (5-11 Sr OPP), Annie Rolecek (5-8 Jr. OH), Megan Talbot (6-2 So. MH), Ellie Lauderbach (5-7 Sr. L), Teigen Eilertsen (5-10 So. OH), Sarah Berggren (6-0 Sr. MH), Jess Terrill (5-8 Jr. OH)
Top servers at midseason were Carly Pisano (Hersey) 97.8 (17 aces), Joclyn Kerman (Hersey) 97.2 (7 aces), Emily Casaletto (Barrington) 94.9 (13 aces), Liz Fuerst (Hersey) 92.5 (11 aces), Courtney Stedman (Hersey) 91.9 (11 aces), Katie Krebs (Hersey) 91.5 (12 aces), Megan Solans (Hersey) 89.7 (35 aces), Christy Roney (Barrington) 88. (13 aces), Ellie Lauderback (Barrington) 85.1 (27 aces), Claire Waliczek (Barrington) 84.8, 18 aces), Emily Watkins (Barrington) 83.3 (14 aces).
Top attackers: Gabri Olhava (Hersey) 88 kills, .348 hitting eff., Courtney Stedman (Hersey) 52 kills, .315, Liz Fuerst (Hersey) 136 kills, .301, Christy Roney (Barrington), 146 kills, Megan Talbot (Barrington) 73 kills.
Top blockers: Gabri Olhava (Hersey) 42, Liz Fuerst (Hersey) 19, Claire Waliczek (Barrington) 16, Courtney Stedman (Hersey) 14, Kelly Hill (Hersey) 12, Megan Talbot (Barrington) 12, Sarah Berggren (Barrington) 12.
Top digs: Emily Casaletto (Barrington) 239, Katie Krebs (Hersey) 228, Christy Roney (Barrington) 154, Claire Waliczek (Barrington) 153, Megan Solans (Hersey) 130, Emily Watkins (Barrington) 126, Olivia Hagan (Barrington) 113, Liz Fuerst (Hersey) 107, Carly Pisano (Hersey) 83, Courtney Stedman, (Hersey), 81.
Coaching staffs: 24-year coach Nancy Lill is assisted by Jodi Blazek, Amy Barfield, Bob Brown and Ben Chin.
Third-year coach Rob Ridenour is assisted by Betsy Brookbank, Kathleen Steiger and Robynne Beausejour.
Homecourt advantage: Last year, East champion Hersey hosted the match so this year the West champ Fillies will be on their home floor.
"Barrington has an advantage in that they are playing on their home court," said Hersey coach Nancy Lill. "But most of our girls played in the conference championship last year, so they have been there before. It will come down to whichever team can play more consistently. Passing and back court play will be critical to both team's success. It should be a great match."
Fillies home again: When Barrington defeated Hersey for the MSL crown two years ago, the match was also on the Fillies' home court. "We are looking forward to playing in the MSL championship," said Barrington coach Rob Ridenour, who has now guided the Fillies to the title match twice in his three seasons as head coach. "Playing in this match was a primary goal that our girls set on day one and reaching the goal is a testament to the work the girls have put in this year."
Although his team did not play Hersey this fall, Ridenour has plenty of respect for the Huskies.
"Hersey is a great program and playing them is always presents a challenge," he said. "To be successful, we will need to focus on our identity of defense and ball control led by Emily Casaletto and Claire Waliczek."
Familiar opponent: Hersey coach Nancy Lill has faced Barrington six times since 2000. "Barrington is a solid team with a very talented setter in Claire Waliczek and an exceptional libero in Emily Casaletto." Lill said. "They have multiple options offensively with Christy Roney being one of their go-to hitters. They play a very tough schedule and have improved throughout the year. Rob does an outstanding job with his girls and I am sure he will have them ready.
"We are a very young team that has improved throughout the season. Our girls are very excited to be representing the East Division and to have the opportunity to defend our conference championship. The key to being successful in this match, once again is being able to play under pressure."
-- John Leusch