Scouting DuPage County girls volleyball

Addison Trail

Coach: Jill Petrbok.

Last year: 17-19 overall, 3-3 (fourth) in the West Suburban Gold; lost to Geneva 25-17, 25-21 in the Class 4A Addison Trail regional semifinal.

Top players: Katie Keller, sr., MH; Katie O'Connor, sr., L; Jessica Schatte, sr., RS; Kayla Foster, sr., OH; Joanne DiNatale, jr., S; Christina Capuani, fr., S.

Scouting report: Petrbok plans on fielding a scrappy team to compensate for a lack of size. O'Connor is a good place to start. "She's working her butt off," Petrbok said of her returning libero. "She's strongly internally motivated and she works hard every single drill. We're trying to get her to spill that motivation over to the other players." A more aggressive Keller returns in middle, much improved after a year of club ball. Addison Trail welcomes in a heavy dose of first-year varsity players. Among those is Capuani, who will set with DiNatale in the Blazers' 6-2.


Coach: Brad Baker.

Last year: 35-5 overall, 8-2 (second) in the East Suburban Catholic Conference; lost to Quincy 25-23, 26-24 in the Class 4A Normal Community supersectional.

Top players: Lara Ontko, sr., OH; Alyson Farm, sr., OH; Kaitlyn King, sr., S; Meghan Haggerty, jr., OH/M; Jenna Jendryk, jr., S/OH; Grace Giradot, sr., L; Kathleen Severyn, sr., L; McKenzie Kuhn, jr., M; Gabby Pethokoukis, jr., M.

Scouting report: The Redwings are experienced yet relatively young and very tall - big trouble for opponents this fall. Benet, seventh nationally in's preseason rankings, returns 11 players. Haggerty, a 6-foot-2 Wisconsin recruit and one of six Division I commits, was a force at middle last year but moves to the pin. Haggerty teamed with Jendryk, a Virginia Tech recruit, on Sports Performance's 18-1 Open AAU national championship team. Baker called the Mississippi-bound Ontko "a completely different player. That's how much better she is." Six Benet players stand 6 feet or taller. "It's the biggest team we've ever had at Benet," Baker said, "and everybody jumps well."

Downers Grove North

Coach: Mark Wasik.

Last year: 27-11 overall, 3-3 (third) in the West Suburban Silver; lost to Benet 25-18, 23-25, 25-19 in the Class 4A Lockport sectional semifinal.

Top players: Taylor Kasal, jr., S/OPP; Jessie Tulacka, jr., S/OPP; Alexa Loufman, sr., MB; Maureen Eckdahl, sr., L; Gina Gammonley, sr., OH; Grace Borgard, so., MB; Carolyn Nojiri, so., DS.

Scouting report: The Trojans nearly doubled their win total from 2008 last year. Don't expect a step back. Despite losing All-Area outside Britta Baarstad to graduation, the Trojans return a versatile core of experienced players. "There's some unknown," Wasik said, "but quite possibly this team could be better than last year's." Kasal and Tulacka are both third-year juniors and high-level club players drawing significant Division I interest. Gammonley, entering her second fall as a varsity starter, moves from middle to outside. The going won't be easy in the rugged West Suburban Silver, where Wasik is eyeing improvement over a 3-3 finish. "We have all the components," Wasik said.

Downers Grove South

Coach: Trisha Kuth.

Last year: 11-25 overall; lost to Naperville North 25-14, 25-14 in the Class 4A Joliet regional semifinal.

Top players: Jenna Morgan, sr., OH; Kelly Bowe, jr., DS/OH; Olivia Zarek, so., OH; Kristy LaRue, so., OH.

Scouting report: Kuth, sophomore coach the past two seasons, assumes the reins because Colleen Reagan resigned after seven years for family reasons. Kuth, a native of south suburban Beecher, previously was a varsity assistant at Burlington Central for one season. "It's big shoes to fill," Kuth said. I'm just trying to deal with winning games." Kuth finds herself in the midst of rebuilding mode, after the Mustangs went through a tough 11-win 2009. Jenna Morgan, at 5-foot-8, is the go-to hitter for a team with just one 6-footer. Zarek and LaRue are two of a potentially strong group of underclassmen. "We don't have the height," Kuth said, "so we have to work on ball control and being quick."


Coach: Eric Melton.

Last year: 11-18 overall; lost to St. Francis 25-4, 25-5 in the Class 3A Wheaton Academy regional semifinal.

Top players: Michelle McEvoy, sr., OH; Kat McEvoy, sr., S; Kathleen Wojcek, sr., MB; Nicole Celerek, fr., MB; Taylor Pugliese, jr., DS; Rianna Martinez, sr., MB.

Scouting report: When multisport, multidimensional athletes are fewer and fewer, Fenton can be thankful for the McEvoy twins. Melton sure is. The McEvoys, at one time three-sport athletes, are making seamless position changes for the second time in as many seasons. Kat McEvoy, primarily a right-side as a junior, will line up at the crucial setter spot. "Kat loves to hit," Melton said, "but she's really embraced the role of setter." Michelle McEvoy filled in at middle last year but now moves back outside. Celerek is a freshman to watch. Fenton suffered a huge loss when libero and captain Jaime Keller tore her ACL during soccer season. "She will be missed," Melton said.

Glenbard East

Coach: Marcy Maier.

Last year: 13-22, 4-10 in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to St. Charles East 25-12, 25-18 in the Class 4A Schaumburg regional semifinal.

Top players: Mariah Carpio, sr., L; Michaela Stranski, sr., RH; Lauren Pusinelli, jr., OH; Mimi Heim, jr., S; Gaby Roth, jr., OH; Crissy Perez, jr., DS; Bre Arnold, sr., OH; Kaitlyn Schefske, sr., MB; Gia Perez, jr., S.

Scouting report: A youthful Rams team is preaching defense first. Carpio sets the tone. The fourth-year varsity starter is one of the area's better liberos. "Her consistency and ability to read on defense is phenomenal," Maier said. "Nine times out of 10 she's in the right place at the right time." Pusinelli and Roth are somewhat undersized outside but will be the Rams' go-to hitters. A smaller number of club players continues to be a challenge. "We're going to have to be a good defensive team," Maier said, "and give our offense the opportunity to mature."

Glenbard North

Coach: Jeremy Bradley.

Last year: 6-28 overall, 0-14 (eighth) in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to York 25-9, 25-10 in Class 4A Glenbard North regional semifinal.

Top players: Cara Watkins, sr., MH; Christina Rini, sr.,MH; Rachel Cagina, sr., OH; Stacie Knoll, sr., RS.

Scouting report: Bradley, a 1995 Wheaton Warrenville South graduate who played setter in high school and at Park University, takes over the Panthers program after one year as varsity assistant. "We're definitely trying to build a program," Bradley said, "trying to instill a winning culture here." Bradley brings 10 years of coaching experience from the Naperville Volleyball Club. His four top returners all played club during the off-season, a welcome change at Glenbard North. "We're trying to practice harder, be more dilligent in practice," Bradley said. Baby steps forward would be welcomed. "We're trying to be a competitive team this year," Bradley said.

Glenbard South

Coach: Sherry Hudson.

Last year: 16-21 overall, 6-8 (fifth) in the Western Sun Conference; lost to Joliet Catholic 25-7, 25-15 in the Class 3A Morris regional final.

Top players: Bridget Anderson, sr., OH; Sarah Engelhardt, sr., OH/MH; Jane Trzaska, so., OH; Kim Deprez, jr., L; Theresa Scheet, so., DS;

Scouting report: It's hard to assess where the Raiders are at, with nagging injuries shuffling the deck in practice. "But when we land on her feet," Hudson said, "we're going to be pretty darn good." Ten returning players give Hudson reason for optimism. Anderson and Engelhardt are back at outside. Deprez and Scheet set the tone for a sound, scrappy defense. "It's the best defensive team I've had to date," Hudson said. The Raiders join the Metro Suburban Conference this fall, a league won by Class 3A sectional finalist Illiana Christian last year. "We think we can be among the contenders," Hudson said.

Glenbard West

Coach: Pete Mastandrea.

Last year: 20-17 overall, (fifth) in the West Suburban Silver; lost to St. Charles North 25-15, 26-16 in the Class 4A St. Charles North regional semifinal.

Top players: Tori Clifford, sr., L; Laura Luczak, sr., OH; Emily Jenkins, sr., MB; Michelle Waggoner, sr., S; Amanda Perry, so., OH/RS; Caleigh Ryan, so., S; Mary Ellen Gitter, so., DS.

Scouting report: A preseason trip to Chicago featured a two-hour boat ride on the Spirit of Chicago. With a 74-68 record in five years, Mastandrea seems to be navigating the Hilltoppers in the right direction. He can't heap enough praise toward three-year starter Clifford, who teamed with Luczak on the Alliance 17 Black team that went to club nationals. "This kid has turned our program around," Mastandrea said. "She holds our backcourt together." Jenkins is a two-year starter at middle, as is Waggoner. It will be tough sledding in the Silver with the likes of Class 4A state runner-up Lyons Twp., Hinsdale Central and York. "We'll be tested in every match," Mastandrea said.

Hinsdale Central

Coach: Sheralynn Kellough.

Last year: 33-6 overall, 5-1 (second) in the West Suburban Silver; lost to Benet 25-23, 25-20 in the Class 4A Lockport sectional final.

Top players: Jamie Netisingha, sr., L; Natalia Skiba, sr., OH; Ally Davis, jr., M; Katarina Milojevic, sr., M; Ellie VanKeirsbilck, jr., S; Susie Golden, sr., DS; Megan McDowell, so., S/OPP; Lucy Crofton, sr., OPP; Katie Grabowski, jr., OH.

Scouting report: Hard to complain about a school-record 33-win season, but Hinsdale Central has unfinished business this fall. Cincinnati recruit Netisingha and fellow All-Area players Skiba and Davis are back for a team ranked 83rd nationally by Netisingha and Skiba set the tone for an outstanding defensive team. "If I could have a team full of Jamies and Natalias we'd be outstanding," Kellough said. "Short, but outstanding." Davis made huge strides as a sophomore. Lyons Twp. and Benet remain roadblocks in the Silver and sectional. "We've set some tough goals," Kellough said, "and it's not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. But the girls are willing to put in the time to make those goals happen."

Hinsdale South

Coach: Lisa Martinez.

Last year: 16-20 overall, 6-0 (first) in the West Suburban Gold; lost to Naperville Central 19-25, 25-13, 25-13 in the Class 4A Bolingbrook regional semifinal.

Top players: Danielle Romeo, sr., OH; Jessica Brezwyn, so., OH; Melissa Nava, jr., MH; Emily Mead, sr., L; Maura O'Donnell, jr., OH/RS; Sharon Anderson, so., S; Morgan Howard, sr., MH; Catherine Pinas, so., DS/L.

Scouting report: Martinez makes no bones about it - if the Hornets are to be a force in the area this fall, Romeo is the No. 1 reason why. The 6-foot outside who has verbaled to Pepperdine played for Sports Performance in the off-season and came back a much more confident player. "I told her, 'You can carry this team on your back,'" Martinez said. The Hornets are far from a one-girl team, though. Brezwyn looks more physical in her second year on varsity. Nava is healthy again after missing all of last season with a back injury. Nava will be joined in the middle by Howard, who transferred along with Pinas from Montini. "She (Howard) is a kid that's not afraid to be vocal and is getting after it," Martinez said.

Immaculate Conception

Coach: Jean Field.

Last year: 26-13 overall, 6-2 (second place) in the Suburban Christian Conference Gold; lost to Westmont 26-24, 15-25, 28-26 in the Class 2A Aurora Christian sectional final.

Top players: Colleen Manion, sr., OH; Judy Morris, sr., L; Kellyanne Remy, jr., MH; Katelyn Conenna, jr., OH; Jennifer Clementi, jr., MH/OH; Emily Hartnett, jr., OH; Liz Martino, so., S; Kim Martino, fr., S.

Scouting report: Field doesn't give out a passing grade easily when it comes to how her teams move the ball. "Passing is the key to your game, no matter if you're playing grade school, high school, college or international volleyball," said the Knights coach, entering her 36th season. "I'm pretty picky about what I feel is good passing." Passing is an area that the Knights could improve on, but the pieces are in place for a big season. Start with Manion, a solid and steady outside. Heady senior Morris moves from setter to libero. "She sees a lot of things well," Field said. "A real plus." A year of varsity experience should serve Remy well in the middle. Setting duties fall to the Martino sisters, whose two aunts also set for Field.

Lake Park

Coach: Kate Hennig.

Last year: 12-24 overall, 4-6 in the UEC; lost to Wheaton North 25-17, 25-16 in the Class 4A St. Charles North regional quarterfinal.

Top players: Alexis Hahn, jr., M; Emma Jarvis, jr., DS/L; Natale Anfuso, sr., DS/L; Shannon Miller, jr., OH; Amanda Ziemek, so., OH; Kathrine Waclawik, sr., OH; Katie Christiansen, jr., S; Nicole Moore, jr., MH: Courtney Schuchmann, sr., RS; Isabela Dochnal, sr., DS; Jessica Lopez, sr., DS.

Scouting report: Hennig, the former Kate Clifton, is a month removed from her wedding day. The joys of married life are but one new challenge for the Lancers coach, who brings back just three varsity players. "We're young," Hennig said. "It's a brand new team that has to learn to play together." Key will be the return of Hahn, who missed half her junior season with mono. Level-headed Anfuso is the glue to the team and Christiansen will assume setter duties after running the sophomore team last fall. Lefty middle Moore was pulled up for regionals as a sophomore. "They're a very young team and athletic - they have the desire and are willing to learn," Hennig said. "We just need to put it together."


Coach: Matt Hrubesky.

Last year: 21-14 overall, 7-3 (tied for third) in the Interstate Eight Conference; lost to Timothy Christian 25-21, 24-26, 25-20 in Class 2A Lisle regional semifinal.

Top players: Vanessa Abenante, jr., OH; Stephanie Petkovsek, sr., S; Frankie Parillo, jr., L; Sami Seiffert, sr., M; Beth Plucinski, jr., RS; Kelly Urban, so., OH; Anita Urban, jr., S/RS; Darian Payne, jr., M; Shelby Kretman, jr., M; Becky Fuys, jr., OH.

Scouting report: The Lions lost five starters, but Hrubesky likes a young team that isn't lacking for enthusiasm. Anybody would be happy to have a hitter like Abenante, who had 53 kills and 23 aces as a sophomore. "She can hit with anybody," Hrubesky said. "If we do our part and can get the ball to her, we'll be fine." Payne is growing into her position at middle, as is Urban at outside. Lefty setter Petkovsek complements Lisle's other players well. Of Lisle's top 10 players, seven are juniors. Hrubesky believes this group can be better defensively and more active on the court. "Anytime you're playing volleyball," Hrubesky said, "it has to start with defense."

Metea Valley

Coach: James Milkert.

Last year: Sophomore team was 28-5; this is first season of varsity volleyball.

Top players: Jessica Boddy, jr., MB; Alyssa Ensminger, so., L; Lisa Hotwagner, jr., S; Brianne Honda, jr., OH; Katherine Gilmore, so., OH

Scouting report: A first-year varsity team at a new school with no seniors. If it sounds like a prescription for patience, the young Metea Valley Mustangs aren't buying into it. "They're young and excited," said Milkert, previously the boys volleyball coach at Oswego East. There is good reason to think this could be a quick climb. Boddy is easy to pick out in the middle, a 6-foot-2 blocker drawing interest from several Division I schools. "She's the real deal," Milkert said. Ensminger is a natural leader on the court at libero. A young face to watch is Gilmore, whom Milkert gushed was "unbelievable" in the Mustangs' debut win at Joliet West. Just like its District 204 counterpart Neuqua Valley, Milkert doesn't think it will be long before Metea Valley is on the area volleyball radar.


Coach: Shafeeqa Small.

Last year: 14-15 overall; lost to Lemont 25-13, 25-19 in the Class 3A Lemont regional final.

Top players: Kristin Burger, sr., OH; Molly Lucas, jr., L; Joyce Balash, fr., MB; Natalie Lopez, fr., OH.

Scouting report: Small, in her second season at Montini after moving to the Chicago area, is determined to build a volleyball winner in Lombard. And to get kids playing volleyball. "We have some kids that are good athletes and solid kids," Small said, "but they haven't had time with volleyball as their primary sport." Montini brings back three varsity players, two of them starters. Lucas is Montini's best defensive player and a strong attacker at libero. Smart and super-athletic Burger is a physical leader outside. A positive development in the Montini program is the presence of 21 freshmen, up from 10 a year ago. Small conducted free clinics and went to grammar schools to promote volleyball in general. "For now it's a process of building." Small said. "Rome wasn't built in a day."

Naperville Central

Coach: Brie Isaacson.

Last year: 21-16 overall, 10-4 (second) in the DuPage Valley Conference); lost to Benet 25-22, 25-8 in the Class 4A Bolingbrook regional final.

Top players: Alysia Baznik, so., S/RS; Chloe Lupina, sr., OH; Katie Battle, sr., DS/L; Sammy Condon, so., M; Kelsey Rickleff, jr., M; Kendall Ward, so., OH; Kendall Lizzo, jr., DS/L; Ivy Lei, fr., S.

Scouting report: The start of preseason practice was moved to Great Lakes Center due to construction at Naperville Central High School. The Redhawks are also in rebuilding mode. Seven sophomores make up Isaacson's youngest team at Naperville Central. Four or five underclassmen could be on the floor at times. "The best way to describe them," Isaacson said, "is they're fresh and hungry." Lupina and Battle bring back the most senior experience. Baznik, brought up to varsity as a freshman, will set and hit in the Redhawks' 6-2 attack. Isaacson calls 6-foot-1 long and lean middle Condon as "athletic as all get out." Sophomore outside Ward is still a little shy and timid, but Isaacson said "when she gets ahold of it she can hit it as hard as anyone I've seen in a long time."

Naperville North

Coach: Jennifer Urban.

Last year: 30-8 overall, 12-2 (first) in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to Hinsdale Central 25-16, 25-22 in the Class 4A Lockport sectional semifinal.

Top players: Sarah Haselhorst, sr., OH; Madison Murphy, jr., MH; Christine Wu, jr., L; Sarah Romberg, sr., S; Corinne Gajcak, so., OH.

Scouting report: Seventh-year Huskies coach Urban looks around practice this fall and sees a team short on experience and size. Desire and coachability should make for a nice growth spurt. "They're like sponges," Urban said, "absorbing what we throw at them." The Huskies will feature new starters at every position. Of the five seniors on Naperville North's roster, just one was a member of last year's varsity team. That is third-year varsity player Haselhorst, a 5-foot-10 outside whom Urban takes on a far more significant role this fall. Romberg, who played JV as a junior, is a vocal leader on the court at a key position. Gajcak will play all the way around and brings sound ball control. Urban noted that 5-11 Murphy, who played sparingly last year, has returned physically stronger. "We have the capability to compete against some of the stronger teams," Urban said. "Over time I think they'll do quite well."

Neuqua Valley

Coach: Kelly Simon.

Last year: 23-10 overall, 7-3 (second) in the Upstate Eight Conference; lost to Downers Grove North 23-25, 25-12, 25-16 in the Class 4A Neuqua Valley regional final.

Top players: Megan Tompkins, sr., DS; Karlie Bergamini, sr., DS; Brigid Campbell, sr., MH; Callie Huebner, jr., OH; Kaitlynn Novak, jr., OH; Leighanne Novak, jr., MH; Stacy Cesario, sr., S; Christine Cichon, sr., S.

Scouting report: Simon never has had a team not return a varsity setter, never has had a team run a 6-2 offense and never has had "big girls with athleticism." Until this year. Change is indeed in store at Neuqua. The Wildcats, coming off the program's best season, graduated 10 seniors with just three returnees. Yet Simon remains unabashed in her enthusiasm. "I always like to do the same thing and work with that same lineup," Simon said, "but with this group they are really versatile." Neuqua does bring back a middle with experience in Campbell, who had 39 kills and 28 blocks as a junior and will pair with Leighanne Novak in the middle. Returning back-row specialists Tompkins and Bergamini had a combined 219 digs last year, Tompkins adding 45 aces from the service line. Huebner, a 5-foot-11 outside, was named All-America at AAU Nationals for Sports Performance. The Novak twins also boast club experience with Sports Performance. All three juniors were moved up to varsity during last year's playoffs. "It's a completely different type of team than what we've had," Simon said.

St. Francis

Coach: Peg Kopec.

Last year: 36-3 overall, 12-0 (first) in the Suburban Christian Conference Blue; lost to Joliet Catholic 20-25, 26-24, 25-22 in Class 3A St. Francis sectional final.

Top players: Meg Vonderhaar, sr., OH; Gina Madonia, sr., L; Daiva Wise, jr., MB; Kelly Reinke, sr., S.

Scouting report: When your program boasts eight state championships, you never sneak up on opponents. That said, Kopec thinks her 35th St. Francis team could be better than expected. "I think we might surprise a few people," said Kopec, winner of 1,029 career matches. Easy to see why the Spartans could be underestimated, what with Kelsey Robinson now at Tennessee and Kristen Kelsay at Michigan State. Those departures make this Vonderhaar's team. The Notre Dame-bound outside has improved since last season, and that's saying something. "She seems to have a pretty good repertoire," Kopec said. Reinke, back from a torn ACL that cost her her entire junior season, slides into the setter spot. Wise got her feet wet at the varsity level as a sophomore and has added more shots to an improved hitting and blocking game. Kopec raves about Madonia's defense. "When you lose the best player in the area and maybe in the state from last year," Kopec said, "what do you say? We'll see what happens. We did well in summer leagues. You can't tell until you play."

Timothy Christian

Coach: Lindsey Van Schepen.

Last year: 24-14 overall, 7-3 (second) in the Metro Suburban Conference; lost to Westmont 25-13, 25-9 in the Class 2A Lisle regional final.

Top players: Elise Biesboer, sr., L; Krista Lodewyk, sr., S; Jordan Smits, jr., OH.

Scouting report: What a difference a year makes. Last August first-year coach Van Schepen was taking over a program coming off a 13-win season and joining a new conference. Fast forward to this fall, where Van Schepen has two feet firmly on the ground and feeling good about her second team. Timothy Christian returns seven seniors from a 24-win team. Chief among that group is libero Biesboer. "She has a lot of experience with club and brings that knowledge and experience," Van Schepen said, "and is also very skilled in the back row." Lodewyk is a quiet leader. "She's getting much better at reading blocks on the other side of the court," Van Schepen said. "She's able to give our young hitters the confidence and support they need." Smits was bumped up for the playoffs last year and should help the Trojans outside with her quickness and defense.

Waubonsie Valley

Coach: Kristen Stuart.

Last year: 26-11 overall, 9-1 (tied for first) in Upstate Eight Conference; lost to Naperville North 25-22, 25-14 in Class 4A Joliet regional final.

Top players: Martha Stewart, sr., OH; Ally Simmons, sr., MH; Jill Galovic, sr., L; Meagan Mooney, sr., S; Lauren Clarke, jr., DS; Lisa Stunicka, jr., OH; Melissa Beeckman, sr., MH: Rachel Minarick, fr., S.

Scouting report: The Warriors have caught glimpses of their potential, such as a road win over then defending state champion St. Charles East last fall and a close three-set loss to St. Francis in Great Lakes Center summer league. Stuart is hopeful matches like those are commonplace this year. Waubonsie returns a strong group of eight seniors from a team that tied St. Charles East for the conference championship. The most significant of the returnees is third-year outside Stewart, committed to James Madison. "Her confidence has grown a lot as a hitter," Stuart said. Simmons runs well and is consistent with her hitting and brings energy and desire to the court. So does Galovic, whom Stuart calls Waubonsie's X-factor. "She picks up balls you think you can't get to," Stuart said. Mooney provides stability at setter. Stuart may experiment with a 6-2, with Mooney working alongside 5-11 freshman setter Minarick.

West Chicago

Coach: Kris Hasty.

Last year: 22-15 overall, 9-5 (third) in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to York 25-18, 25-23 in the Class 4A Glenbard North regional final.

Top players: Julia Conard, jr., OH; Emily Paschke, sr., M; Kathy Fletcher, sr., M; Payton Bayless, jr., S.; Andrea Skipor, so., MH.

Scouting report: Here's a nice and unusual challenge for 17th-year Wildcats coach Hasty - tempering high expectations. There's reason for excitement, as a core group of front-row players returns from a team that challenged for the DVC title last year. Conard is a well-rounded player, aggressive and knowledgeable from extended club experience. "She plays with a lot of passion," Hasty said, "and is fun to watch." Paschke and Fletcher are good blockers who should both be a force in the middle. Third-year starting setter Bayless will run a 5-1. Hasty's biggest concern is meshing experienced players from different clubs into one unit. It all could point to West Chicago's first DVC title in Hasty's 17 years. "It's a tough conference and we gotta be ready to go," Hasty said. "Hopefully, we give people around here something to talk about."

Wheaton Academy

Coach: D.A. Nichols.

Last year: 13-20 overall, 5-7 in the Suburban Christian Conference; lost to St. Francis 25-13, 25-14 in the Class 3A Wheaton Academy regional final.

Top players: Molly McCoy, sr., OH; Bianca Cifaldi, so., OH; Lindsay Copler, sr., MH; Molly Cook, sr., MH/RS; Jennifer Schmitz, jr, S.

Scouting report: Nichols won't question his group's eagerness and enthusiasm - but he knows a challenge when he sees one. "We have a big learning curve," the Warriors coach said of a program that graduated nine seniors, three of them starters since sophomore year. Nichols' least-experienced group makes it extra important to have fourth-year starter McCoy, committed to Illinois-Chicago, back at outside. Nichols expects Cifaldi, who plays club for Sports Performance, to dominate as a sophomore. "She's going to be a stud, if she's not already," Nichols said. Nichols credited McCoy for taking Cifaldi under her wings. "It's definitely a team that you're going to see a lot of improvement as the season progresses," Nichols said.

Wheaton North

Coach: Carole Kristensen.

Last year: 15-19 overall, 7-7 in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to Bartlett 25-23, 21-25, 25-23 in the Class 4A St. Charles North regional semifinal.

Top players: Kelsey Ullrich, sr., OH; Katie Thornton, jr., S; Laura Drabant, sr., OH; Megan Davis, sr., MH; Rebecca Smith, jr., MH/RS; Libby Casey, jr., MH/RS; Katie Kirschbaum, jr., RS.

Scouting report: Kristensen braces to think about a new team encountering the likes of St. Charles East and West Chicago the first two weeks of the season. "We're going to have some growing pains this year," the Falcons coach admitted, "even with returning players who are very good." Multisport athletes Ullrich and Thornton indeed can bring it on the volleyball court. Ullrich is a strong passer and defender with a tremendous floating jump serve. "She's really taken charge of this team," Kristensen said. "She wants the team to feed off of her." Kristensen calls fellow co-captain Thornton a "workhorse." "She's constantly touching the ball and putting a playable ball up there," Kristensen said, "even if she doesn't get a great pass."

WW South

Coach: Bill Schreier.

Last year: 19-17 overall, 9-5 (third) in the DuPage Valley Conference; lost to Batavia 25-20, 22-25, 27-25 in the Class 4A Addison Trail regional semifinal.

Top players: Shealynn Kolosky, sr., MH; Amy Drabant, sr., S; Jackie Rodriguez, sr., L; Kate Phalen, jr., OH; Stephanie Budlong, so., OH; Krysta Watts, jr., OPP; Sarah Micheli, sr., OH; Julia Witowska, so., S; Nattali Shelton, sr., DS.

Scouting report: If 2009 was a rebuilding year, the Tigers consider themselves reloaded. A tall team trots out three starters 6 foot or taller, led by 6-foot-3 Tennessee recruit Kolosky. She put down 243 kills with 112 blocks as a junior and is a force at the net. "She's always been her toughest critic," Schreier said, "and now she's able to play at a level she's comfortable with. As long as our ball control is good she'll be OK." Drabant and Rodriguez return and bring stability at two critical positions. Phalen and Budlong are back on the outside. Schreier noted that every girl played club, 12 for Sports Performance. "Defensively, we're in good shape; offensively, we're going to need to compete," he said. "We struggled in long rallies last year, but this year I think we're in better shape."


Coach: Sue Bower.

Last year: 19-6 overall, 5-1 (second) in West Suburban Silver; lost to St. Charles East 22-25, 25-14, 25-17 in Class 4A Schaumburg regional final.

Top players: Jamie LeDonne, sr., MH; Liz Zanone, sr., OH; Dana Campagna, sr., OH; Becca Sullivan, fr., MH; Maddie Arnold, fr., DS.

Scouting report: Construction of the new 42,000 square foot fieldhouse at the Villa Park is just about complete. The Warriors, though, are in rebuilding mode, returning just three players from a strong 2009 group. They will lean heavily on LeDonne, who had 79 kills, 56 aces, 52 digs and 9 blocks as a junior. "She has just grown tremendously since her sophomore year," Bower said. "Any set you throw up she's attacking it." Bower calls Campagna, also a standout in softball, "an amazing athlete." "She has such a heart," Bower said. The Warriors will run a 6-2 offense. "We have some athletic girls," Bower said, "they just don't have a lot of volleyball experience."


Coach: Patty Iverson.

Last year: 30-9 overall, 4-2 (third) in West Suburban Silver; lost to St. Charles East 25-22, 18-25, 25-19 in the Class 4A Geneva sectional final.

Top players: Morgan Semmelhack, jr., MB/OPP; Caroline Rose, jr., OH; Katie Gallagher, jr., S; Emily Iverson, sr., S; Glynis Albue, sr., MH; Melissa Deatsch, so., OH; Sam Schrenker, jr. MB; Mary French, sr., L.

Scouting report: Very few teams were better than York the second half of the 2009 volleyball season. Don't expect that to change. The Dukes return almost their entire core from a team that won 18 of its last 20 matches and already has won the Benet Invite. Rose, an explosive hitter for standing just 5-foot-6, returns for her third year. "She's hitting harder now and jumping higher," Iverson said." Playing opposite Rose will be Deatsch, pulled up to varsity midway through her freshman year and brings composure for her age. Returning setters Gallagher and Iverson return to run the offense and both offer a strong jump serve. Semmelhack, a third-year starter and still only a junior, will play in the middle and right side. Schrenker is another strong blocker. "The kids communicate very well, are open and share a lot of the responsibility," Iverson said. "They have high expectations for themselves and their teammates."