Conant's Engelbreit sparkling in lacrosse at Wesleyan

  • Katelyn Sommers warms up along side her Trinity coach, Luke Ward. Sommers was named team MVP this season.

    Katelyn Sommers warms up along side her Trinity coach, Luke Ward. Sommers was named team MVP this season. Submitted photo

 
 
Updated 4/30/2018 3:40 PM

Dani Engelbreit's father would be so proud of her.

Ron Engelbreit coached Elk Grove Park District football for more than 25 years and was the athletic director at St. Hubert in Hoffman Estates for three years.

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He coached Dani in her many sports over the years, but never in lacrosse.

Unfortunately, he passed away March 20, 2012, just when Dani started her lacrosse career at Conant High School.

Dani, though, remained focused and extremely passionate about playing the game.

Today, the junior at Illinois Wesleyan University, has become one of the top lacrosse players in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

She helped the Titans advance to the NCAA tournament last year and was recognized as an all-conference, all-regional player as well as top defender by her teammates.

This season, she has helped the Titans to a 13-4 record and 6-0 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. The Titans have won a program record nine straight games, improving upon the previous high of seven set during the 2017 season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Illinois Wesleyan is set to host Carroll University in the first round of the CCIW postseason tournament on Wednesday.

Engelbreit was invited to play in Australia last summer and will be playing in Berlin and Prague this summer.

A psychology major with a minor in coaching, she is hoping to become a sports psychologist.

Sommers named MVP

Trinity University (Deerfield) 5-foot-10 junior setter Katelyn Sommers, who helped lead Harper to a national title two years ago, was named the Trojans women's volleyball team Most Valuable Player for last fall at a recent athletic banquet. In addition to leading the team in assists, Sommers also set a school record for assist percentage in a single season as Trinity finished with its best record in nine years.

Classy Mustangs

Unfortunately for St. Viator senior softball pitcher Jessica Taylor, her senior season hasn't gone exactly the way she planned.

Two weeks ago at Rolling Meadows, she dislocated her knee while fouling off a pitch.

The trainers at Rolling Meadows quickly assisted Taylor, taking her to the trainer's room to assess the damage.

They got her in a knee brace and advised her parents what to do next.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The diagnosis was a dislocated knee cap (that popped back into place at the field) and a small tear on the MCL.

While the Lions hope she can return late in the season, she has lost most of her senior year of softball.

Taylor was hitting .526 with a .609 OBP. She also had 40 strikeouts in 38⅓ innings.

A few days later after the injury, Jessica's father Jim noticed three softball players walking up to the front door.

"I thought a no-soliciting sign would keep them away but as they got closer I notice 'Mustangs' blazoned across the front of the jersey," Jim said.

It was three players from the Rolling Meadows Mustangs -- Sara Benner, Sam Benner and Sam Allen delivering a get-well card to Jessica on the way home from a victory over Buffalo Grove. The card was signed by all the players on the team. "Jessica and I were in total shock," Jim said. "It brought a tear to my daughter's eye. I really can't express in words what this meant to my daughter or to me. It gives me faith that there are still compassionate people in this world."

Taylor started school at Rolling Meadows High School in 2014 but transferred to Saint Viator in October of the same year.

Softball

Ripon College freshman outfielder Micaela Encarnacion (Schaumburg) made the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association weekly list of 'top performers' from the Midwest Conference.

Encarnacion hit .769 (10-for-13) with 6 runs, 3 doubles, a triple and 3 RBI. The Redhawks are 16-16 overall and 10-4 in league play after going 3-1 last week. She finished the week with an .800 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of 1.154 for an OPS of 1.954.

Women's golf

Illinois State senior Kiley Walsh (Prospect) and Bradley senior Ally Scaccia (Prospect) were named to the 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete First Team.

Walsh has a 3.96 Grade-point average (GPA) in Spanish education. She had the top scoring average on the team, and the 11th-highest in the MVC. She tied for 10th at the MVC Championships with a three-round score of 227.

Scaccia, an international business major, was second on the team and fifth in the Valley with a 76.14 stroke average this season. She has a 3.41 cumulative grade-point average and was a two-time MVC Golfer of the Week honoree this season.

Women's volleyball

Harper College sophomore libero Ariana Chelini has announced her commitment to play for NCAA DIII Augustana College next season. The Crystal Lake South graduate finished her Harper career earning a multitude of honors at the national level as well as seeing her name strewed across both the Harper and national leader boards. During Harper's incredible 2016 national championship run, Chelini led the team in matches (44), service aces (91), and service aces per set (. 66). She also tallied four double-doubles and two 20-dig matches, including a season-high 22 digs against Madison.

Men's track

Illinois redshirt senior hurdler David Kendziera (Prospect) was named the Big Ten's track athlete of the week' for the second time in three weeks.

Kendziera, a seven-time all-American, earned his second accolade of the season by beating 2012 Olympic Champion and 110-meter hurdles world record holder Aries Merritt in the 110 hurdle final at Mt. SAC Relays, along with placing second in the 400 hurdles.

With both races comprised of top collegians and professionals, Kendziera timed 13.47, his second best time of the season, to edge Merritt by 0.02 seconds, and then produced a season-best 49.39 clip in the intermediate hurdles.

Leading the Big Ten in both events, Kendziera ranks second nationally in the 400 hurdles and third in the 110 hurdles. He earned first team All-America honors in both disciplines last June at the NCAA outdoor championships, placing third in the high hurdles and seventh in the intermediates.

Baseball

Arlington Heights resident Paul Petricca, author of Hitting with Torque: For Softball and Baseball Players, along with The St. Joseph Club of Italian Americans are presenting a "Celebration of Italian Baseball and Softball" on Saturday, June 2 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights beginning at 11 a.m.

Petricca was the hitting coach for Wheaton College for two years and instructed many District 214 and St. Viator baseball and softball hitters that went on to play in college.

The Russo Brothers' Italian American Film Forum award-winning documentary, Italian American Baseball Family, will be shown. Immediately following the screening of the movie, a Q&A discussion with filmmaker Roberto Angotti and a panel of past and present Italian baseball and softball players will interact with the audience in an engaging discussion on playing baseball and softball internationally.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door by cash or check. Admission includes a pizza party reception beginning at 1 p.m. at Armand's Pizzeria (next door to the Metropolis).

Attendees are encouraged to participate in a silent auction featuring premium Chicago Cubs tickets, private pitching and hitting sessions and more. All net proceeds from this event will help buy equipment for the Italian national softball team and the Arlington Heights Youth Athletic Association (AHYAA). For more information, contact Paul Petricca at (847) 533-8474 or paulpetricca@gmail.com.

• Please email items to jleusch@dailyherald.com

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