Girls volleyball: MSL West co-champs Barrington, Fremd have new look this season
The 2018 Mid-Suburban League West girls volleyball co-champions Barrington and Fremd will try to defend their titles with new looks this fall.
Barrington graduated eight seniors from its 24-12 team which went 9-1 in the MSL West while Fremd graduated three all-conference selections from its 31-8 and 9-1 team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
Barrington coach Michelle Jakubowski has a pair of returning starters with Noelle Daehler and Arianna Armando.
"The girls are looking forward to building off their MSL championship last year," said Jakubowski, who graduated eight seniors.
Fremd coach Curt Pinley, a veteran of 21 seasons with 467 wins in girls volleyball, welcomes back five starters: Lydia Vander Ark, Breslen Reid, Claudia Wala, Rian Baker and Rylen Reid.
"We are a very young team with the possibility of starting four sophomores," he said. "That being said, we still have quite a bit of varsity experience returning from last season."
Palatine coach Dan Gavin, whose club was 22-14 and 6-4 a year ago, returns Emily Campe, Sydney Wiebe, Jillian Smith, Allison Drake, Karina Szafraniec and Sarah Elischer.
"This should be a fun group," Gavin said. "First and most importantly, they are great kids. They are selfless, they work hard and they are coachable."
Seniors Yuri Hara, Natalie Jurgenson, Chikere Oduocha, Jessica Sharp, Emma Bowman and junior Mackenze Lunkes are back from last year when Conant went 15-20 and 3-7.
"We are very excited," said Cougars coach Drewann Pancratz. "Every girl has been continuously working hard and pushing each other to be better every day."
Alina Peterson and Jessie Sariev are returning starters from Schaumburg's 14-21 team last year.
"We are a young group of players that will suffer through some growing pains but most have the ability to step up and be a go to player," Saxons coach Tim Murphy said. "Time will tell."
Western Illinois recruit Ashley Poland and Patricia Wadas will help fuel Hoffman Estates. Also back are Sam Sarullo, Callie Meese and Niyah McAllister who are looking to help the Hawks improve on last season (2-30, 0-10).
"We feel that we took positive steps as a program last season and we are very excited for this season," said Hawks second-year coach Pat Moran. "We had a very productive offseason and we have key starters coming back with multiple years of experience."
MSL East: Buffalo Grove, the defending MSL East champion, will regroup after graduating seven seniors from a club that went 21-12 and 9-1.
Coach Matt Priban welcomes back Alyssa Ramos along with juniors Hannah Arbitman, Shannon Coglianese, Ella McBride and Megan Mitsunaga.
"Even though we are a young team looking to replace seven seniors, our players return with significant varsity experience and are poised to become leaders for this year's team," Priban said. "The girls on this team have learned a lot over the course of the summer, have focused on our process, and are excited to start competing."
Prospect coach Laura Gerber is hoping for a successful season with four key seniors back from a 19-18, 6-4 club: Grace Cacini, Mia Farraday, Sarah Skaggs and Annie Wiley.
"Our strengths are consistent hitting and strong defensive play," Gerber said. "Our goals are to be conference champions and win our regional."
Rolling Meadows coach Katie Stensland calls it a rebuilding year (graduated five starters from 17-20, 5-5 team). Ashlyn Ryan, Sophia Salemi and Erin Behls are key returners.
"We have a lot of newcomers who are competing for positions," Stensland said. "It will be exciting to see how they develop."
Wheeling coach Jason Kopkowski returns nine players from last year's 14-22 and 3-7 club. "I expect that most of our matches will be highly competitive," he said.
Elk Grove coach Stephanie Kezios is excited to see what seniors Kaitlyn Ingebrigtsen and Megan Murray provide for the Grens, who were 6-28 and 0-10 a year ago.
"Kaitlyn should put up a big block for us with her size and Megan is one of the most capable defensive specialists our school has had," Kezios said. "Other than that, our team is very young this year."
Northwest suburbs girls volleyball at a glance
MSL's best: Returning as all-conference players are Hersey senior Kati Kaburov, Hersey senior Kayla Eshoo, Prospect senior Grace Cacini, Prospect senior Sarah Skaggs, Rolling Meadows junior Ashlynn Ryan, Conant senior Yuri Hara, Hoffman Estates senior Ashley Poland and Palatine senior Emily Campe.
Looking to get back: Although it tied Buffalo Grove for the MSL East title, Hersey's run of 15 straight appearances in the title match ended last year. The Huskies will try to return this fall with six starters back from a team that won 29 matches.
Benet connection: Fremd sophomore setter Rian Baker is the daughter of Benet coach Brad Baker. Fremd sophomore outside hitter Rylen Reid is the daughter of Benet assistant coach Kyle Reid.
Off to Macomb: Hoffman Estates four-year starter Ashley Poland has made a verbal commitment to Western Illinois University.
Staying home: Wheeling senior Grace Zambrano, the Wildcats' 5-foot-7 setter, will continue her career at Chicago State University. "Grace has improved greatly from last season to this," said Wildcats coach Jason Kopkowski.
East to South: Maine South junior Jelena Cici, a 6-foot right side hitter, transferred from Maine East. Hawks coach Kathleen Durkin calls her a 'solid' hitter.
Solid background: First-year Maine West coach Nora Feyerer started three years on the New Trier varsity volleyball and basketball teams. She helped lead both teams to the state finals her junior year. Feyerer also was a setter at James Madison University, serving two years as the captain. She has served as New Trier junior varsity girls volleyball coach the last six years.