Barrington's Ruffolo says UConn the perfect fit for her
She played just one season of Mid-Suburban League girls volleyball.
But Mia Ruffolo sure made her mark.
The Barrington transfer from Charleston, IL enjoyed an all-conference season for coach Michelle Jakubowski and now will become the first MSL player to compete at the University of Connecticut, known widely for its women's basketball dynasty under coach Geno Auriemma.
Ruffolo can't wait to play volleyball for the Huskies, whose roster currently includes three players from the Chicago area.
"It's a wonderful school" said Ruffolo, who played at Charleston High School (about 300 miles south) the last three years "The campus is beautiful. I really feel like their coaching style is what I wanted. Everything about the school is just perfect for me as a player and a student. I'm just so excited about it."
She is also excited to be studying criminology in Storrs, CT.
"I think I want to do some thing along the lines of detective work," Ruffolo said. "As a kid my mom and I would watch the 'Forensic Files' television show so that just kind of stuck with me."
Offensive attackers have often been stuck at a dead end when trying to get the ball past Ruffolo, who led the Fillies in digs while helping them earn their first MSL crown since 2013.
Not bad for someone who didn't become a full-time libero until her sophomore year at Charleston.
As a freshman, she was an outside hitter.
"But I stopped growing," Ruffolo said. "My freshman year at Charleston we needed an outside hitter and I was one of the taller players. I always kind of knew I wanted to be to play in the back row. But I just went where my team needed me at the time as a freshman."
Wanting to continue her career at the Division I level, Ruffolo reached out to Connecticut because her aunt had connections with its coach Kris Grunwald. Ruffolo's aunt worked in the sports office at Auburn (AL.) where she met Grunwald, who was formerly the head coach at the school.
"And my club coach (Patty Langanis, also the head coach at Cary-Grove) knew him, too, so she emailed him and helped me a lot of the recruiting," Ruffolo said. "They came and saw me play at nationals with my club team (Balance)."
Ruffolo knew the school was the right fit for her when she made her visit.
"It's a good program," she said. "You have a lot of support and coaches will really give their time. I know I'm going to improve as a person and player because they are really invested in their program."
University of Findlay sophomore Sarah Miles (Hoffman Estates) was a points scorer during a dual meet at Saginaw Valley State. She finished fourth in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:00.00. She was third in the 200 backstroke (214.46).
In the 400 individual medley, Miles placed sixth at 4:59.33. Miles swam for Palatine Park District Tiger Sharks.
Carthage senior defensive back Armani Dennis (Wheeling) leads the Red Men with 5 interceptions in seven games. He also has 32 tackles (27 solo tackles and 5 assists). He was a member of the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin second team last fall and started all 10 games as a free safety. Dennis was eighth on the team in tackles with 31 total, (23 solo) while tying for second on the team and in the CCIW with 4 interceptions.
Dennis was the Mid-Suburban League East Offensive Player of the Year for coach Brent Pearlman while at Wheeling High School, where he also played basketball and ran track (his team set a school record in the 4x100).
Concordia-Chicago 6-foot sophomore middle blocker Julia Spitelli (Schaumburg) led the Cougars with 11 kills in a the 25-23, 25-11, 25-14 win over Illinois Institute of Technology and with 14 kills in a 23-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-23 victory at Marian University.
The two wins allowed the Cougars to clinch one of six berths in next week's Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference tournament for the first time in Troy Campbell's tenure as CUC head coach.
• Elmhurst freshman defensive specialist Valerie Thomas led the Bluejays (16-11, 3-3) with 29 digs when they dropped their final CCIW match of the season, falling to North Park University in a marathon five-set contest.
Wheaton College senior Sara Magnuson (Hersey), the top seed at No. 2 singles, was the runner-up at that flight after a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Millikin's Danielle Beard in the opening round of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin tournament. The defending champion Thunder took second, finishing with 27 total points (9 regular season points and 18 championship points).
Magnuson defeated Carroll in the semifinals and Augustana's Annie Timm defeated Magnuson 6-4, 6-2 in the championship.
Magnuson also finished second as the No. 2 seed in No. 2 doubles with partner Nicole Freeman.
The duo teamed up for an 8-1 victory over No. 7 seeded Millikin and defeated Illinois Wesleyan 8-1 in the semifinals. Augustana's Zeana Badawi and Annie Timm defeated Magnuson and Freeman 8-4 in the championship match.
Magnuson was named to the CCIW all-conference first team.
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