Girls volleyball: Scouting the 2021 fall season in the Northwest suburbs
Barrington's girls volleyball team has a chance to make history this fall.
The Fillies can win two Mid-Suburban League titles in one calendar year.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 fall season was moved to last spring and Barrington won the crown at Hersey.
The Fillies will try for a repeat with several key players back from its championship team, including Jessica Horwath (Jr, OH), Amanda Cleary (Sr. L), Campbell Paris (Jr. OH) and Jenna Meitzler (So. S/OH).
"Our girls have worked hard in the off season and we are looking to build off the successes from last season to make a deep run in the state tournament," said coach Michelle Jakubowski.
The same can be said for Hersey, directed by hall of famer Nancy Lill, who won her 1,000 match in 2019. She is looking for another great season from her 35th team in Arlington Heights.
"This team has great chemistry and is very driven to succeed," Lill said. "We are hoping for a full season with a long postseason run and to challenge for an MSL title."
Top returning players are Allie Korba (Sr. S), Alexa Knutson (6-0 Sr. MH), Lauren Lubbe (6-0 Sr. MH), Olivia Mellen (Sr. L), Taylor Tracz (6-0 Sr. RS) and Elizabeth Avirmed (So. DS).
Ready to challenge Barrington in the MSL West is Fremd, whose veteran coach Curt Pinley returns Wake Forest recruit Rian Baker (Sr. S), Rylen Reid (Sr. OH), Izzy Segoviano (Sr. S/L) and Claudia Wala (Sr. MH) among eight other seniors,
"We have leadership, experience, a lot of camaraderie and team chemistry," said Pinley, a winner of more than 1,000 matches combined as the boys and girls coach at Fremd. "Our program is excited about the challenges, possibilities and opportunities that await them this season."
At Hoffman Estates, coach Pat Moran has only two seniors on the roster but believes it's a great group which will play well together. Top returners are Charlotte McGrath (Sr., S), Elyssa Wuerffel (Sr., DS), Abby Major (Jr. OH) and Chloe Cruz (Jr. L). Newcomers include Izzy Troyer (So., OH) and Karlee Hendricks (Jr., M).
Returning at Conant for coach and former Carthage College standout setter Drewann Pancratz are Farah Cisse (OH), Brianna Spetka (OH), Jessie Harriell (MH), Jiya Patel (L) and Gianna Spetka (S). "We have a great group of girls who challenge each other every day," said Pancratz, who also starred in basketball at Carthage. "This positive competitive attitude along with our senior leadership will be the driving force for our success."
Schaumburg coach Tim Murphy has a good mix of returning starters and a young group of players that all have the ability to step up and be a go-to player. His top returners include Grace Zinchuk (6-1 Sr. MH), Gabby Tuiaana (6-4, Jr. OP), Izzy Mishler (6-4 So. OH) and Gabbi Zarate (5-7, So. OH). "We will be a tall, young, athletic team that has great potential," Murphy said. "This team has dedicated themselves in the offseason. Almost the entire team has played club and attended summer camps."
Palatine coach Dan Gavin welcomes back key players such as Erin McGinn (5-7 Jr. OH), Gabby Storelli (5-10, Sr., MB), Bri Squeo, (5-4, Jr., DS/L) and Amanda Jones (5-6, DS/L). "We will be young and relatively inexperienced at the varsity level, especially given the brevity of last year's season," Gavin said. "However, this is a process-oriented group of kids who buy into competing."
Prospect coach Laura Gerber's Knights look to challenge Hersey again in the MSL East, and hope to claim a regional and advance deep in the state tourney. Among her top players are Cam Mather (Sr. OH), Julia Wydro (Jr. MH), Lauren Wiley (Sr. MH) and Lauren Mueller (Jr. S).
Abigail Ferriss (Sr. OH), Paige Lira (Sr. L) and Celine Li (Sr. MH) will play key roles for coach Matt Priban at Buffalo Grove. With many new faces, the Bison also have a strong core of senior leadership. "Our sophomores and juniors have really adjusted well to the speed of the game and our growth this summer has been fun to watch," Priban said. "Our goal is to continue building on the success from last season."
Eylee Corcoran (Sr, L), Bernie Goodwin (Sr, DS), Nicole Dimova (Jr, OH), Maddie Zera (Jr, S), Linnea Fahnoe (Jr, MH) and Charlotte Errico (Jr, MH) return for Rolling Meadows coach Katie Nickel. "We have a strong core of returning players who will be joined by some very talented newcomers," Nickel said. "As a whole, it's a very hardworking group which is passionate about the game."
Second-year Elk Grove coach Tara Braceros welcomes back Dom Ptak (Sr. OH), Victoria Labno (Sr. MH), Vicky Gruca (Sr. L) and Katie Wadas (So. S). "We are looking forward to a great season," she said. "We have a great mix of returning varsity players along with some new faces that are bringing a lot of energy and competition into our gym. We're excited to get to play what we hope to be a full season and build upon some of the momentum we built in the spring."
Danni Moser (Sr, OH) and Maya Huelsman (So. OH) are expected to lead the offense for Wheeling. "We have great setters in Angelina Semeria (Sr), Noelle Lawson (So.) and Jaclyn Neukirch (Jr)," said coach Jason Kopkowski. "Defense will be led by Nikki Niznik (Sr. L). I also think that Samantha Springer (Jr. MH) and Anastacia Hardaway (JR. MH) will be very productive both, offensively and defensively, from the middle. This is a great group of young athletes that have fun with everything we do."
St. Viator coach Charlie Curtin is hoping for a banner season as he welcomes back Marie Torosian (Sr. OH), Lauren Allaire (Sr. OH), Lilly LaFleur (Sr. MH), Marcelina Gorny (Jr. MH), Reanne Valera (Jr. L) and Cailyn Harrington (Sr. So).
"I am extremely excited for this season," Curtin said. "The girls are looking to build off the very successful spring season they had. All of the girls have been working very hard and have team and individual goals much higher than years past for a variety of reasons. I have no doubt this group will be able to achieve all they set out to accomplish."
Isabella Laniewski (Sr. RS), Aleksandra Makowiec (Sr, OH) and Jennifer Herrera (Jr. OH) return as key players for Leyden coach Danielle Kowalkowski. "Our goals are to finish in the top two at each invite and finish with a winning record," she said.
Top returning players for Maine South are Aiden Lefler (Sr. OH), Elizabeth Ryser (Sr. MH) and Madison Wright (Sr. S).
"I hope that our team can compete for a conference title," said Hawks coach Kathleen Durkin.
Top players for Maine East coach Rintu Philip are Mahima Chokshi (Sr.), Ella Kaufman (Jr.) and Karla Leonte (So.).
"This is the most balanced team we've had in many years," Philip said. "We have options all around, and because of that, we've been able to benefit from very competitive scrimmages. We are super grateful for this because it's a luxury that Maine East does not always get to have."
Maine West has three returning starters back: Vivanna Ramirez (Sr. RS), Clare Olson (Sr. S), and Daria Sczepura (Jr, L). Assistant coach Ally Kent is taking charge of the Warriors while head coach Nora Feyerer is on maternity leave and coaching only part-time this season. "We have three strong returning starters and a lot of new players and young talent," Feyerer said. "We are hopeful that our team will improve every day and work through the growing pains of being a young team."