Lake County Girls Volleyball All-Area Team

By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/25/2019 12:46 PM
Lexie Baker
Lexie Baker

Lexie Baker Grayslake NorthLast year, Knights coach Jim Sarver called the libero "arguably the best defensive player in the history" of his program. This year, she might have left no doubt it in a repeat all-area campaign. "Lexie is one of the outstanding defensive players in the area," said Sarver, whose team won 25 matches, setting the school record for the second year in a row. "She got to many balls that most people wouldn't try to get." Baker collected 371 digs this season, finishing just shy of 1,000 for her career.

Annie Bart Carmel CatholicThe 5-foot-11 junior outside hitter dominated at the net in a 33-win campaign for the Corsairs, notching 214 kills and 191 digs. She makes her second appearance on the all-area team. "The best word that describes Annie is 'aggressive,' " Carmel coach Dave Pazely said. "She plays hard and fast during every point. ... She has a great vertical and hits a heavy ball."

Devinn Bell LakesThe 6-foot junior setter registered 663 assists as the Eagles ran the table in the Northern Lake County Conference. In addition, the three-year varsity starter had 175 digs, 80 kills and 44 aces. "Devinn is very vocal and passionate about volleyball," Lakes coach Kate Cheek said. "She can always be counted on to run a competitive offense and make good decisions."

Hannah Benes Antioch

The sophomore libero started as a freshman and might have been even better this season, as she collected 386 digs, 38 aces and even 57 assists. "She is quick," Antioch coach Greg Bruns said. "She is able to read the hitters and get in a position to get the ball up. Hannah also has a great serve. She has a great attitude and loves to make hard plays."

Kate Bullman Grayslake CentralAn all-area basketball player, she's good at the net in volleyball too. The 6-foot-2 middle hitter notched 86 blocks and 161 kills. "Kate has been a pivotal middle for Grayslake Central these past four years," Rams coach Klaudia Basierak said. "She is a very driven player and strives to better herself every day. Her enthusiasm and high expectations make her a good leader."

Riley Clark Carmel CatholicThe southpaw was key in many Carmel rallies. For her junior year, she notched 156 kills (third on the team), 47 blocks (second) and 34 digs. "A 6-foot right side hitter, left-handed, is always a nice weapon for a team to have in its arsenal," Carmel coach Dave Pazely said. "Her combination of a defensive presence and offensive threat make her exciting to watch."

Alyssa Gerzel Grayslake NorthThe junior outside hitter has been a force at the net for the Knights since her freshman year and seems to be getting only better. This season, she delivered 242 kills, bettering her school-record total of 218 last year. She also served at a 92-percent clip with 50 aces and added 56 blocks. A repeat all-area selection, she was named all-conference for the third time in a row. "She is an outstanding player who was a huge force on the net, both offensively and defensively," Knights coach Jim Sarver said.

Amanda Holsen StevensonIf there were a rookie of the year award, the sophomore outside hitter would win it. After playing sparingly on varsity last season, Holsen hammered an amazing 451 kills for her Patriots, who earned a share of the North Suburban Conference title and won a regional championship. She also tallied 252 digs and 55 aces. "Amanda is an amazing competitor and teammate," Stevenson coach Tim Crow said. "She has grown so much, not only in her skill, but with confidence and leadership from this past season. She is an amazing, humble kid who really loves playing the game of volleyball."

Kellie Hopper LibertyvilleYou have to go back to 2010 and a 35-3 Libertyville squad to find a Wildcats player with at least 252 kills in one season. That's how many Hopper had this year in a repeat all-area campaign and third as a varsity starter. The junior outside hitter and team captain also had 172 digs, 30 aces and 29 blocks. "When the going gets tough, we look to set her on any position on the floor," Libertyville coach Greg Loika said. "Kellie has grown tremendously in her team defense and serve reception."

Cassidy Jones LibertyvilleLibertyville coach Greg Loika had high praise for the senior team captain. "She's the best middle in the area, in my opinion," Loika said. The 6-foot Jones broke loose 14 kills against Lake Forest. She was third for the Class 4A supersectional team in attack percentage (.310), while tallying 140 kills and 45 blocks. "Cassidy can be a dominant attacker from the middle," Loika said. "When Cassidy was 'on' and involved, we were nearly impossible to stop."

Faith Krabbe MundeleinThe Mustangs could boast of only 5 wins this season but had a player to brag about in their veteran setter. The senior's skills have paid off with a full ride to Eastern Illinois University. Krabbe collected 253 assists, 93 kills, 46 block kills and 223 digs.

Jazzlyn Linbo GrantThe 6-foot-2 athlete provides a presence at the net in both basketball and volleyball. Linbo, an all-area basketball player last year, posted 197 kills, 25 blocks, 48 digs and 53 aces. "Jazzlyn Linbo is, by far, the best middle in our conference (Northern Lake County)," Grant coach Michele Keenan said.

Lexington McKillips AntiochThe senior outside hitter put down 252 kills in a breakout season. She also had 35 aces and 12 blocks, and hit at a .302 clip. "She has worked hard to become an all-around player," Antioch coach Greg Bruns said. "She has a variety of shots that make her hard to defend. "She was a go-to hitter when we needed a kill."

Milana Moisio Carmel Catholic

A varsity contributor as a freshman last year, the libero had an even bigger impact this season. She had several highlight-film-worthy saves in the Corsairs' Class 3A sectional-final loss to Wheaton St. Francis. "She is, undoubtedly, D-I material," Carmel coach Dave Pazely said. "Her balance and agility and power help her make the impossible look routine." Moisio rang up 393 digs, 48 assists, 15 aces and 20 kills. Liberos don't usually terminate volleyballs. "The way she reads the game is unparalleled," Pazely said. "If she sees teams slow to transition, she will shoot the ball to the corner for a quick kill. It drives opponents crazy."

Peyton O'Brien LibertyvilleOle Miss has to wait another season for Miss O'Brien. The 6-foot junior setter had 655 assists, 124 kills, 59 blocks and 135 digs. She spread the offense around, as five Wildcats had 100 or more kills. A repeat all-area selection, she has started since freshman year and has surpassed 1,000 assists with another season to go. "Peyton has assumed a leadership role as a captain and marshal on the floor," Libertyville coach Greg Loika said. "She has successfully transitioned our team from a defensive unit to a group with weaponry at all positions.'

Jessica Pozezinski Grayslake NorthThe all-around player made a name for herself on the volleyball court this fall. An all-area softball player since her freshman year, the junior outside hitter had 239 digs and 168 kills. "Serve receive is the toughest job on a volleyball court, and often makes the difference between winning and losing," Grayslake North coach Jim Sarver said. "There are very few all-around players in the area as good as Jessica." Sarver noted Pozezinski passes 2.4 out of 3. She also had 46 aces.

Kelli Rettig LakesAfter helping lead the Eagles to the Northern Lake County Conference championship in an all-area campaign as a junior, she did it again. The 5-foot-11 hitter and team captain notched 185 kills, 192 digs and 59 aces. She will play for Marian University in Wisconsin next year. "She continuously strives to get better," Lakes coach Kate Cheek said. "She sets the bar high for herself and her teammates. She was the go-to player for our offense, and much of our success can be attributed to the intensity of the play that she brings."

Ashley Smith LakesSee Kelli Rettig capsule. The senior hitter, team captain and repeat all-area selection helped the Eagles run through the Northern Lake County Conference unbeaten. Smith led Lakes with 193 kills and added 175 digs. "She has developed a great court sense," Eagles coach Kate Cheek said. "This year, she stepped up as a team leader. Ashley is completely coachable and the definition of a team player. She always wants the best for her players."

Eileen Tarcha Carmel CatholicThe Daily Herald all-area captain is a record-setter for Carmel. A four-year varsity starter, she is the Corsairs' all-time leader in digs (1,044) and aces (164). "She's the engine that makes this team go," Carmel coach Dave Pazely said of his versatile outside hitter and two-time all-area player. "And she is one of the most consistent and reliable players." Pazely reports that Tarcha will either attend a major college and not play volleyball or play volleyball at a smaller school.

Grace Tully StevensonTotally true: Tully totaled tons of assists -- 842. The senior setter also played defense to the tune of 183 digs. She had 50 aces and 41 blocks, as well. "Grace is an amazing athlete," Stevenson coach Tim Crow said. "Grace is an extremely hard worker and is the ultimate competitor."

Elizabeth Weinberg WarrenA soccer player in the spring, she gets her kicks in the fall by playing volleyball. The senior outside hitter led the Blue Devils in kills with 165, while also tallying 111 digs and 31 aces. "She's a great team leader," Warren coach Julie Filippo said.


Tara Bierdz (Wauconda Sr. MH), Emily Bongiovanni (Grayslake North Jr. MB), Shannon Brennan (Carmel Jr. S), GabriElle Brewer (Warren Fr. S), Olivia Cartland (Mundelein Sr. OH), Paula Ceneac (Lakes Jr. MB), Alex Cieslinski (Vernon Hills Fr. OH), Lily Cozzi (Stevenson Sr. OH), Tayah Farris (Carmel Sr. MH), Taylor Ford (Grayslake Central Sr. L), Kayleigh Glickley (Warren Jr. DS), Marta Glyvka (Vernon Hills Sr. MH), Marissa Gulley (Grayslake Central Jr. OH), Taylor Hindman (Grayslake Central Sr. OPP), Alanna Howell (Libertyville Jr. OH), Anelise Johnson (Grant Jr. MH), Emily Johnson (Wauconda Sr. MH/OH), Abby Keevins (Stevenson Sr. L/DS), Emerson Kouri (Stevenson Jr. L/DS), Delaney Lemay (Wauconda Fr. OH), Courtney Levy (Grant Jr. L), Mya Mainzer (Carmel Sr. MH), Alayna Malec (Warren Jr. MH), Heidi Mason (Lake Zurich Fr. S/OPP), Maiah Moll (Antioch Jr. S), Jenelle Reams (Warren Sr. MH/OPP), Grace Regnier (Antioch Jr. MB), Leah Salit (Lake Zurich Sr. S/OPP), Olivia Sauers (Libertyville Jr. L), Ella Schaffnit (Libertyville Jr. OH), Ayanna Tommy (Antioch Sr. OH), Makayla Uremovich (Stevenson Jr. RS/S), Claudia Wilcox (Mundelein Jr. RS/S), Chelsea Williams (Lake Zurich Fr. OH), Abby Wisniewski (Vernon Hills Jr. S)

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