The DuPage County girls volleyball All-Area team
Clare Delaplane, Downers Grove North
On a team that started a freshman setter and three sophomores, and with one of the most challenging schedules in the state, the Trojans finished 20-17 thanks in large part to this junior outside hitter. "Clare was clearly one of the state's most prolific attackers as she led her team in kills with 426 and a kill efficiency of .275," said coach Mark Wasik, adding that she also had 33 aces, 30 blocks, 223 digs. She is committed to Villanova University.
Mikaila Dowd, Metea Valley
"Mikaila is one of the most talented and humble players that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching. She would rather see her team succeed than have her own individual success," Mustangs coach Dave Macdonald said of his junior outside hitter, a three-year varsity player. Dowd had 320 kills with a hitting percentage of .320, 37 aces, 35.5 blocks and 175 digs while helping set a school record for wins in a season at 25. She broke Metea Valley's season kill record.
Haley Horner, Wheaton North
This 6-foot-5 senior opposite hitter had a solid all-around season and helped the Falcons earn a share of the DuPage Valley Conference title while taking a 30-7 record into sectional play. "Haley has really come into her own this year and plays with more confidence. As a varsity player for the past three years, Haley has taken on the role of a go-to player with pride," Wheaton North coach Carole Kristensen said. "She is determined to succeed and doesn't want anyone to stand in her way." Horner recorded 256 kills while hitting at a .238 percentage and added 20 digs and 78 blocks.
Becca Fernandez, St. Francis
"Becca is one of the most aggressive and consistent defensive players that I have coached," Spartans coach Lisa Ston said of her senior libero. "She is tremendous on serve receive, rarely gets aced and isn't afraid to cover a large area. Defensively, she is top notch. She reads the hitter very well and can frustrate other teams quickly." Fernandez recorded 374 digs with 35 aces through the regional round for the 29-8 Spartans. The 5-foot-3 defensive specialist will play at Murray State University.
Kiera James, Downers Grove South
This four-year varsity starter was named all-West Suburban Gold three times and will play at SIU-Carbondale. James had 245 kills for the Mustangs with a .274 kill percentage, and the outside hitter added 53 aces, 105 blocks and 306 digs. "Kiera had potential from Day One as a freshman, and her goal in any sport she played was to be great," Downers Grove South coach Trisha Kurth said. "Her athleticism, work ethic and ability to be very coachable has brought her far."
Anna Jaskoviak, Waubonsie Valley
"Anna is a player who her teammates can constantly rely on to get the job done on the court," coach Kari Galen said of the Warriors' team captain. "She is by far one of the best leaders I have ever seen at the high school level." The senior outside hitter, selected to the Warrior Blast all-tournament team, recently committed to play at Case Western Reserve University. Jaskoviak paced Waubonsie Valley with 201 kills, adding 154 digs and 29 blocks.
Kora Kauling, Neuqua Valley
The 6-foot-2, setter/right-side hitter is a two-year varsity starter and was all-tourney at Benet, the Wheaton Classic and the Warrior Blast. "Kora has always been a physical presence on the court as a setter/kill leader but has served as a much more vocal leader this season who is respected by her teammates," coach Kelly Simon said. "Her even temperament and ability to encourage her teammates has a calming effect in high-pressure situations." Headed to Wichita State University on a full scholarship, she recorded 247 kills with a 37 percent attack efficiency with 35 blocks, 409 assists and 121 digs through the Wildcats' regional opener.
Sarah Kushner, Naperville North
Only a sophomore, Kushner is a two-year varsity starter who has already developed into a team leader and a major force on the outside. "Sarah not only contributed to the team as a consistent six-rotation player, but she emerged as a leader this year as she was one of the Huskie captains," Naperville North coach Jen Urban said. She was all-DuPage Valley Conference as a freshman and this year recorded 252 kills, 44 aces, 238 digs and 24 blocks for the Huskies. She also was all-tournament at the Falcon Classic.
Bethany Loftus, Montini
The senior outside/right-side hitter led a very inexperienced Broncos squad this fall with strong all-around play while earning all-conference honors for a second straight year. "Bethany was a terrific senior leader. She led our program to a great season," Montini coach Steve Dowjotas said. "Bethany guided our young varsity program by example on and off the court."
Laney Malloy, St. Francis
With her twin sister, Kamryn, out with an injury, the senior outside hitter had to play an even bigger role for the defending Class 4A champs. After the program claimed its 26th straight regional crown last week, the University of Illinois-Chicago recruit had 239 kills, 26 blocks, 184 digs and 29 aces. "Laney is a fabulous all-around player," coach Lisa Ston said. "I have had the pleasure of watching Laney grow as a player over the past four years. She has the ability to hit any shot in a game and makes it look easy."
Nora Meehan, Neuqua Valley
The three-year varsity libero for the Wildcats is headed to play at Indiana University. Her strong defense was a key reason the team shared the DuPage Valley Conference title and won another regional crown. "Nora shows tremendous perseverance on the court ... she is a precise passer in serve receive, relentless on defense and has an exceptionally strong work ethic," Neuqua Valley coach Kelly Simon said. All-tourney at Benet and at the Warrior Blast.
Sara Nielsen, Benet
Last year coach Brad Baker called Nielsen "one of the most talented setters ever to play at Benet," and after topping 800 assists last fall, she had 1,034 assists this season heading into sectionals. According to the IHSA website, she is fourth all time in assists, and the Minnesota-bound senior also has 32 aces and 28 blocks in 2016 for a program that has gone 110-9 in the three seasons in which Nielsen has run the offense. "When we've had those two kids on the court, there hasn't been a whole lot of losing going on. They're not used to it and they don't like it," coach Brad Baker said of Nielsen and Veronica Snelling.
Sarah Petrbok, Addison Trail
This four-year varsity starter helped turn the Blazers' program around and the talented outside hitter has 858 varsity kills. "Sarah is a fierce competitor and has a relentless drive to get better," coach Dan Styler said. "I'd be lying if I said she has the same natural gifts as other players of her caliber. Sarah outworks her opponents and paved the way for her own success." The three-time all-conference performer and All-Area honorable mention honoree in 2015 put up big numbers this fall that included 268 kills, 47 aces, 15 blocks and 183 digs.
Tess Reardon, IC Catholic Prep
"For the past two years Tess has shared the setting duties and carried much of the offensive attacking load on her shoulders for us," ICCP coach Nancy Kerrigan D'Amore said. "In her senior season she transitioned into running the offense completely in a 5-1 system. She is a dynamic and offensive setter and has put up some big numbers this year." Reardon, who was named to the all-Metro Suburban Conference as well as the Chicago Latin Invitational all-tournament team, compiled 179 kills, 417 assists, 43 service aces and 208 digs heading into this week's Class 2A sectionals.
Sarah Rose, York
One of the top setters in the state, the Marquette-bound Rose is a four-year starter on the varsity. "She can run the offense from anywhere on the court, keeping blockers guessing and making opportunities to attack even when the pass isn't there," Dukes coach Patty Iverson said. Heading into the sectional semis at Addison Trail, Rose had recorded 666 assists, 276 digs, 84 kills and 35 aces.
Sarah Schank, Naperville Central
The Redhawks' junior outside hitter improved her all-around game this fall and made the team better in the process. She was named all-tourney in two of the team's three tournaments. "Sarah wants the ball when the game is on the line," Naperville Central coach Jeff Danbom said. "She has worked to develop shots at the net and from the back row. Her defense and ability to keep plays alive wins us many long rallies."
Veronica Snelling, Benet
The All-Area team captain, a senior outside hitter, helped the Redwings to two state trophies. She has 374 kills, 34 aces, 170 digs and 37 blocks for the 32-5 squad and will continue playing volleyball at Missouri State. "She's worked really hard to be able to put herself in this position. This didn't just come easily," Benet coach Brad Baker said of Snelling preparation to play all six rotations this season. "She spent lots of extra hours passing and playing defense just to do this."
Brooke Syswerda, Wheaton North
"Brooke is a real leader that offers a unique perspective on the court. She leads the team with a command for the offense and is articulate without being intimidating," Falcons coach Carole Kristensen said. "She is determined and this inspires her peers to put their best on the line." The junior setter and Wheaton North co-captain had 432 assists, 47 aces and 112 digs for the 30-7 DuPage Valley Conference co-champion going into the sectional. She will play college volleyball at Taylor University.
Claire Wagner, Glenbard West
The two-year starter at libero helped the Hilltoppers earn a fifth straight regional crown. The youngest of three sisters to play at Glenbard West -- All-Area setter Kate Wagner graduated last year -- the senior led the team in digs in each of the past two seasons. "Claire is an athletic, quick libero that has had a significant contribution to our program," Hilltoppers coach Peter Mastandrea said. Claire was all-tournament at three tournaments and the team won the West Suburban Silver with 6-0 record.
Meghan Wozniak, Glenbard East
The Rams senior setter, who will be playing at Nicholls State University next year, had 292 assists, 21 aces, 192 digs, 33 blocks and 146 kills this season. She was all-tournament at the Metea Valley Tournament and along with outside hitter Allison Hamaker, has been the team's top threat all year. "Meghan was the most consistent player for us all year and our go-to player," coach Marci Maier said. "We would not have won half of the games we did without Allison or Meghan."
Maria Mayhew, Neuqua Valley, S/RH, jr.; Lauren Barnes, Benet, libero, sr.; Lilly Johnson, Benet, OH, jr.; Maggie Bair, Glenbard South, MH, soph.; Anastasia Labadessa, Addison Trail, setter, sr.; Ari Budnik, Naperville North, OH, jr.; Kristie Paus, York, MH, sr.; Ella Ridinger, Glenbard West, OH, sr.; Karina Kling, Downers Grove South, MH, sr.; Emmy Barnhorst, Wheaton North, MH, jr.; 12. Allison Hamaker, Glenbard East, OH, soph.; Alex Vanwestrienen, Naperville Central, libero, soph.; Michele Lee, Waubonsie Valley, libero, jr.; Giana Curran, IC Catholic Prep, libero, sr.; Alexia Byrnes-Hosey, St. Francis, setter, sr.; Milena Sogura, Willowbrook, MB, sr.; Ava Venema, Timothy Christian, MH, sr.; Jess Robinson, Wheaton Warrenville South, MH, sr.; Claire Rothenberger, Metea Valley, libero, sr.; Gillian Lail, Hinsdale Central, MH, sr.