Photo: Sophomore Anna Sinise had four digs and two kills in the Lady Knight’s Regional loss to Sycamore last Thursday. Photos by Patti Wilk
Lady Knights’ journey ends by third-seed Sycamore in regional final
SANDWICH, Ill.—There would be no standing tall, despite the valiant effort.
Kaneland, the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A Sandwich Regional, looked to knock off Sycamore, the No. 3 seed, last Thursday, in a repeat of the 2012 Hampshire Regional final.
What ended up happening after a nice first game was two drops in a row, allowing the Lady Spartans to hoist the Sandwich Regional plaque after a 17-25, 25-12, 25-18 tussle. Sycamore was set to hit the Princeton Sectional against Dunlap on Tuesday in a semifinal matchup.
Kaneland finished the 2013 campaign at 16-16, while Sycamore improved to 16-17 after the three-game tussle.
Lone senior Jenny Lubic had 25 assists in her swan song, while junior teammate Ellie Dunn had 13 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore Vanessa Gould had seven kills and eight digs.
Kaneland had earned a slot in the final by beating Plano on Oct. 29, while Sycamore had defeated Sandwich in the following game.
The Lady Knights got off to a nice start against their Northern Illinois Big XII conference rival with a 14-9 edge in the first game. Sycamore took advantage of some service errors to close within 17-16. Soon, Dunn took control with two kills, and coupled with a sideout, the Lady Knights led 23-16. After a Sycamore point, the Lady Knights got a Dunn kill followed by a Lubic set to Dunn for the match point and eight-point margin of victory.
Service mishaps, errors and an overall tightening of the Sycamore game had Kaneland fall to a 20-8 margin in the second game. Despite a key kill by Hannah Nauert to close it to 21-10, Sycamore went on a 4-2 run to even matters.
Back and forth action had Kaneland’s last lead of the 2013 season at 12-11 before strategic placement of the ball and key blocking made for third-game woes. Sycamore went on an 11-4 run to take a 22-16 lead. Dunn would come up with two late kills, to close within 24-18, but a side out ended the contest.
With the first year a season-long adjustment, the Lady Knights hoped to make it past the regional final. Strides were made, however.
“New coach, new systems, young team, individual player, the bond, trust and friendships that were made, we did a lot in roughly 70 days,” KHS coach Kerri McCastland said. “I’m just sorry we didn’t have more time to foster it. The future looks bright.”
With the loss, Lady Knights volleyball says goodbye to Lubic.
“Jenny was the unanimous chosen leader on our team by her peers,” McCastland said. “She was great under pressure and stayed poised as a player and person. She is selfless; playing injured and never giving less than 110 percent. She’s a dynamic player who loves to attack the game. I will miss that among so many other things about her.”
Photo: Riley Hannula (left) and Vanessa Gould prepare to battle Riverside Brookefield during Saturday’s Spikefest at KHS. Photo by Lynn Logan
Sweep against Plano means Halloween contest against Sycamore
SANDWICH, ILL—Tough challenges can come your way as the No. 1 seed in any type of regional.
It’s just a matter of what to do with those challenges.
Kaneland volleyball dealt with a competitive No. 4 seed Plano lineup off a win against Rochelle the previous day, and took care of the Lady Reapers on Tuesday evening by a final of 25-19, 25-23.
Sycamore lines up to be the Kaneland opponent in the Halloween night regional final in Sandwich, Ill. The Lady Spartans, who were shelved by Kaneland in the Hampshire Regional final in 2012, beat Rock Falls and improved to 15-17 after a 30-28, 25-21 match.
Kaneland, after a week that included a Senior Night win over Yorkville, improved to 14-15.
Kaneland also hosted their annual Spikefest Saturday, but complete results were not provided by press time.
Against Plano, a tight first game still had Kaneland lead for most of the duration, and an Ellie Dunn tip over the net made it 15-13. Later, a Riley Hannula kill made it 17-14. A kill by Dunn, followed by a couple of sideouts and a spike by lone senior Jenny Lubic completed a 7-2 run to make it 24-16.
Plano would have a mini-rally after a couple of blocks and a kill, but a too-strong serve ended the game with the six-point margin.
The Lady Reapers relied on more capable front-line play to take a 17-9 advantage in game two, with things looking like they were headed to a third and deciding game.
Kaneland hurried back with two kills by Dunn. After Plano increased the lead back to 19-12. A couple of errors and another Dunn kill, coupled with a Plano sideout brought Kaneland to within 20-16. With time getting tight, A block by the combination of Hannula and Anna Senese and a tap by Vanessa Gould tied the score at 22. After a sideout made it 23-22 for Plano, Kaneland rallied with a side out, and a tap and kill by Gould on successive instances to win the match.
“I think we were just really pumped up and motivated,” Lubic said. “We wanted to win in two, and we were just focused on our goal and what we wanted to get to in the future.”
KHS coach Kerri McCastland realized a challenge was overcome, with more on the horizon, with the help of the established crew.
“Ellie and Jenny are the only ones who have ever been to this dance, I’m full of kids who have never seen the likes of what this is,” McCastland said. “I think that played into it tonight. Hat’s off to Plano, I think they played to win.”
On Thursday, Kaneland closed out conference play with a three-game win over Yorkville in Maple Park by a final of 25-22, 18-25, 25-21. Noteworthy nights were had by Lubic with 29 assists, Dunn with 14 kills and Gould with six kills and eight digs.
Scores at the Saturday Spikefest at Kaneland included KHS beating Riverside-Brookfield 23-25, 27-25, 16-14 and losing to Geneva 17-25, 25-14, 15-5, among the happenings.
Thursday’s Sandwich Regional final will send the winner to the Class 3A Princeton Sectional beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 5, with either Kaneland or Sycamore facing the winner of Illinois Valley Central-Dunlap in the Monmouth-Roseville Regional in the semifinal.
Homestretch features key win over Sycamore, loss at Rochelle
KANELAND—With time running out on the 2013 campaign, Kaneland High School volleyball felt it was a good time to start running over competition.
On Thursday, Kaneland went three games before beating rival and potential regional title opponent Sycamore in Maple Park, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24.
On Tuesday in Rochelle, the Lady Knights fell to the Lady Hubs 23-25, 25-15, 24-26.
Kaneland’s record sits at 11-15, and 4-5 in Northern Illinois Big XII play.
Facing the Spartans, Ellie Dunn had 18 kills and nine service points. Teammate Riley Hannula added to the winning effort with eight kills and seven points. Vanessa Gould added six kills and five points, and lone senior Jenny Lubic supplied 27 assists, three blocks and a kill.
Against the Lady Hubs, who will also be in the upcoming Sandwich Regional, the Lady Knights lost a close third set to fall to under .500 in conference play. Dunn led KHS with 10 kills, 12 digs, three aces and five blocks.
Ahead for the Lady Knights: a conference home finale matchup against Yorkville on Thursday, Oct. 24, before Spikefest hits the gym on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Lubic provides senior leadership during year of transition
KANELAND—Jenny Lubic knew going into the 2013 volleyball season that changes aplenty were in store for the Knights.
Kaneland had graduated several seniors from the 2012 squad who helped them chalk up 23 victories and capture its first regional championship since 1991. Lubic also was aware she would be the lone senior on this year’s squad.
Furthermore, the Knights’ setter and her teammates would have to get acclimated to a new coach, Kerri McCastland, and learn the nuances of her offensive and defensive systems.
Lubic realized the young Knights would be looking to her for leadership, and that McCastland—although a veteran coach with successful stints at Plainfield North and Plainfield South high schools—would need to develop camaraderie with Lubic as McCastland put her system into place.
“I knew that I had to take on a role of being a leader and that people we’re going to look to me for advice,” Lubic said. “I was excited for it.”
Lubic’s relationship with McCastland, as well as her leadership qualities, are such that McCastland wishes the season could go on quite a while longer. McCastland said it can take a long time to build trust and a relationship between the setter and her coach, yet they’ve managed to do all this within the time frame of the regular season, which is just over 30 days old.
“We came to respect each other right out of the gate,” said McCastland, who replaced eight-year coach Todd Weimer. “It’s sad because in another 30 days it could all be over.
“Hopefully we’ll win the state tournament,” she added with a laugh.
Lubic said she and the team, with a core that’s made up of sophomores, have embraced McCastland’s coaching style and upbeat approach.
“Coach has a lot of new energy and is positive,” Lubic said. “We’ve become better teammates to each other. I also think we work hard and all have that attitude now to work hard and get things done.
“It was definitely an adjustment, but a good adjustment. I really like how she coaches. I think she’s helped me become a better player just in short amount of time she’s been our coach.”
The setter has been compared to a quarterback in football, and Lubic concurs with that comparison.
“I talk to my hitters and communicating with them is huge,” she said, “and also communicating with my defense so we’re woven together. You have to have a good defense to set up the offense.”
McCastland said she’s pleased with how Lubic has gone about her on-court responsibilities.
“Being the only senior, to be able to keep everyone in the system, set balls and instill trust is something that doesn’t go unnoticed,” McCastland said. “Whether she’s setting up a kid like (junior) Ellie Dunn, who’s a Division I talent, or a freshman or a sophomore, no matter who you’re setting it’s the same set and same system, and she leads with intention of wanting to win. I think the girls appreciate that.
“Her composure and her ability to lead is true gift that she brings to the team. She wants to win, she’s a competitor and I’m a big fan of that.”
Lubic, a three-year varsity player, was voted captain by all of of her teammates and also was endorsed by the coaching staff to fill this role. She’s taken the younger players under her wing.
“I help them figure out difference between the levels of play (between frosh-soph and varsity) and how the game is played at a different speed,” Lubic said. “Other than that, I’m trying to bring us all together and help them out whenever they need help on the court.
“They’ve adjusted really fast. I think especially with the hard workouts we had in summer it helped them catch on really fast.”
McCastland agrees with Lubic’s assessment.
“They’ve really learned a lot of things in a very short period of time,” she said. “I think candidly that they’ve done an amazing job of learning and being able to execute under expectation. They’ve sort of been learning under fire. I watch a lot of it play out in the matches. The educator in me wanted them to learn and process it. If it happened in a match, great, practice great, but the fact is that it’s happening.”
The Knights have been hovering around the .500 mark recently, yet they did earn the top seed at the upcoming Class 3A Sandwich regional.
“I think that a lot of nerves and tension has gone away (since the beginning of the season),” Lubic said. “We’re starting to play as a team and learning from each other. We have more confidence. There’s a lot of new and great energy, and we haven’t taken a step back.”
Lubic hopes the club can repeat at regional champs. That would complement her favorite memory as a Knight: winning last year’s regional.
KANELAND—Finding a groove can be tough in a long volleyball season.
The Lady Knights just hope that comfort finds them before the playoff road begins.
Last Thursday, KHS trekked to the competitive setting of Morris where it lost in three games by a count of 17-25, 28-26, 16-25.
On Saturday, Kaneland went to the Bettendorf Invite in the Quad Cities area where it went 1-2. Tuesday saw the Lady Knights host DeKalb where KHS fell 17-25, 15-25.
Kaneland’s mark is now 10-14, and 3-4 in Northern Illinois Big XII play.
In Iowa, KHS fell to Muscatine 13-21, 14-21, then defeated Moline 20-22, 21-12, 15-13 before falling to host and eventual runner-up Bettendorf 14-21, 15-21.
In Tuesday’s loss against the Barbs, Ball State-bound Ellie Dunn provided four kills, three service points, six digs and a block, while senior Jenny Lubic have five service points, six digs, three blocks and 14 kills.
“The flu and injuries took over tonight and all week,” KHS coach Kerri McCastland said. “This weekend, we’ll need to rest and take care. Morris played a relentless match of volleyball and took advantage.”
Kaneland hosts Sycamore on Thursday, Oct. 17, in a NIB-12 skirmish.
Last Friday, the Lady Knights also got wind of the postseason journey that awaits them. McCastland’s crew heads to the Class 3A Sandwich Regional as the No. 1 seed, and faces either No. 4 Plano or No. 5 Rochelle on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.
Photo: The Lady Knights volleyball team celebrates a point Wednesday against Geneva. Photo by Patti Wilk
GENEVA—Only one challenge was out there to await Kaneland volleyball, but it was a familiar and daunting one.
KHS traveled to non-conference foe Geneva on Oct. 2 and lost in three games, 18-25, 25-22, 25-23.
The Lady Knights are 9-11, and 3-2 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.
Lone senior Jenny Lubic had 19 assists. Kathy Nguyen had 12 digs, with sophomore Vanessa Gould and Anna Senese collecting nine digs each.
KHS coach Kerri McCastland still feels like the Lady Knights crew can play up to tough competition in the area, and in time for crucial postseason meetings.
“It’s what we will continue to do everyday,” McCastland said. “Being young in the game and as a team takes time, patience and learning. I’m proud of their commitment. It will get better everyday.”
Kaneland’s busy week includes a Thursday, Oct. 10, meeting in Morris, a Saturday, Oct. 12, trip to the Quad Cities area for the Bettendorf Invitational in Iowa, and a home match on Tuesday. Oct. 15, against the Lady Barbs of DeKalb.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, Kaneland was expected to learn its postseason seed as part of the Class 3A Sandwich Regional. Teams making their regional home in Sandwich were Kaneland, Plano, Rochelle, Rock Falls and Sycamore.
The Sandwich Regional group joins the Monmouth-Roseville, Streator and Stillman Valley Regionals as part of the Princeton Sectional group. A year ago, as part of the Hampshire Regional, Kaneland beat St. Edward and Sycamore to capture the plaque and a sectional berth.
KANELAND—At 9-10 (3-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), the new-look and still jelling Kaneland Lady Knights volleyball club will take the big and integral conference victories when it can.
On Thursday, Kaneland solved the visiting Rochelle Hubs in just two games. On Tuesday in Kendall County, the Lady Knights and Lady Foxes battled, with Kaneland falling short in three games, 25-23, 17-25, 15-25. Wednesday saw KHS fall to the visiting Geneva Vikings.
In the 25-20, 25-18 matchup with the purple-clad Rochelle, lone senior Jenny Lubic stabilized the attack with 22 assists to her name. Important cog Ellie Dunn also produced 12 kills, four service points and five digs. Sophomore teammate Vanessa Gould maintained the Kaneland strength with six kills, three service points, four digs and two blocks. Lady Knight Riley Hannula added five kills, three blocks and two service points.
In the Tuesday loss to the Lady Foxes, Dunn provided 10 kills, five digs and an ace, Lubic had nine assists, one ace, Hannula had six kills and Kathy Nguyen 12 digs.
Against Geneva Wednesday, the Lady Knights dropped a close match to Geneva 25-18, 22-25, 23-25. Lubic had 19 assists, five kills and five service points. Dunn provided 19 kills, 12 digs and seven blocks.
Volleyball doesn’t compete until traveling to Morris on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Volleyball wades through conference challenges
KANELAND—Hovering around .500, the Lady Knights volleyball contingent keeps trying create a little breathing room between itself and that line.
They’ll have to spend a little more time trying to create after the past week.
Monday had a trip to DeKalb and a 28-26, 16-25, 22-25 three-game loss, and Tuesday had a home matchup against Morris that ended in a 25-13, 25-18 conference win.
Kaneland sits at 8-7 now (1-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).
Saturday saw a trip to the home of the new Upstate Eight Conference entry West Chicago for a tournament where the Lady Knights split four matches.
West Chicago beat Dundee-Crown in the championship final by a 25-23, 25-16 score, the two teams to beat Kaneland in the grouping.
Against DeKalb, Ellie Dunn had nine kills and 14 service points. Bridget Ransford had five kills and four service points, and fellow Lady Knight Jenny Lubic had eight assists and two digs.
Facing another conference foe in Morris, Lubic had seven service points, two kills and nine assists, while Hannah Nauert had five service points and eight assists. Dunn had 10 kills, 10 digs, three aces, three blocks and four service points.
Kaneland is still finding a court roadblock with winning a first game, but dropping a second and third.
“We figured that out though last night, and I saw my team play the way I’ve always seen them against a very tall and veteran Morris team,” first-year coach Kerri McCastland said. “We will work this week and continue learning, and give it a go next Tuesday.
The lone contest for Kaneland during the next week features a trip to Sycamore on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Photo: The Kaneland girls volleyball team celebrates a point in recent action. The Lady Knights sit at 5-4 to start the season after winning Tuesday against LaSalle-Peru. File Photo
Lady Knights volleyball handles ACC, drops close sweep to Montini
KANELAND—Through eight matches in 2013, Kaneland’s new volleyball setup is still in the process of setting up.
This past week showed both highs and lows, with the new-look Lady Knights still looking to put it all together.
Kaneland was able to handle a nearby threat from the Aurora Central Catholic unit last Thursday by a final of 25-13, 25-18, and lost a competitive and tight sweep to the invading Montini Catholic unit by a 25-23, 25-21 count.
The Lady Knights also finished their three-match home swing against Northern Illinois Big XII crossover rival LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday, winning 25-15, 25-14.
Kaneland is now 5-4 through the first stretch of the season after going 5-3 a year ago.
Against the Lady Chargers, lone senior anchor Jenny Lubic paced the lineup with six kills, four digs and 17 assists. Teammate Ellie Dunn added six kills and six digs, and fellow Lady Knight Bridget Ransford supplied four kills and five service points. KHS rep Hannah Nauert also hammered home four kills in the sweep.
Facing off against Lombard, Ill., contender Montini, the Lady Knights saw stat sheet impact from Lubic (18 assists), Anna Senese (six kills) and Dunn (eight kills).
Neither team was able to get out to a comfortable lead, with the first margin of two points occurring when Montini took a 14-12 lead in game one. Montini was up 21-17 when Kaneland saw a kill from Senese to close the margin to three. A sideout and error closed the margin to 22-20, but the Lady Broncos cinched the first-game deal with aggressive front-line play and two blocks.
Able to stifle Montini’s aggressiveness, Kaneland went out to a 14-10 edge, which forced MC to call a time-out. The strategy worked with the visitors able to rattle off a 6-1 run to take a lead before a kill from McKenzie McMullan tied the score at 16. Montini’s next kill attempt gave KHS a 17-16 edge before the lead briefly switched again. Down by one, Vanessa Gould’s kill tied the game at 19. An errant dig by the Lady Broncos would eventually tie the score at 20 apiece. Down by three, a Dunn kill would eventually close the margin to 23-21 before finished off the threat.
KHS coach Kerri McCastland sees a roster still working out the kinks and solidifying execution in close games.
“We are yet to do that,” McCastland said. “We’re yet to believe that we’re that team. You’d see it for three points, then all of the sudden we’d lay down for three points and let them back in the game. I wish they’d come to believe that they are the team that they are. I really believe they are in my heart.”
Stats from Tuesday’s NIB-12 game against LaSalle-Peru were not available at press time.
Kaneland heads to the West Chicago Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Photo: Junior Ellie Dunn (left) had eight points and 12 kills, but the Lady Knights fell short at Burlington Central Tuesday, falling to 3-3. Photo by Patti Wilk
Wheaton North tourney provides first test of season
KANELAND—A usual stop for Kaneland volleyball to begin the 2013 season would be anything but this time around.
With a roster infused with new personnel and a new coach in Kerri McCastland, the Lady Knights could approach the Wheaton North High School stop as an early barometer. Kaneland ended up with a 3-2 mark and beat Arlington Heights, Ill., outfit St. Viator for the fifth-place honor in the Aug. 28 and Saturday tournament.
“It allows you come you to take an assessment of your team and then come home and work on things before Saturday. Wheaton North’s tournament was well run well and we saw a lot big 4A schools for volleyball. It’s always good to play up and beat some very good programs by the end,” McCastland said.
Jenny Lubic, the Lady Knights senior representative, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Kaneland was placed in Pool C, along with former Suburban Prairie Conference North Division and Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South and Buffalo Grove on Aug. 28. Kaneland was trumped by GS by a 25-18, 25-21 margin, but came back to solve the Lady Bison 16-25, 25-18, 25-23.
On Saturday, Kaneland began Gold Division play with a loss to Glenbard West in 19-25, 25-14, 25-15 fashion, but came back for a 25-21, 25-19 win over Stagg. KHS fifth-place win over the Lady Lions of St. Viator was by count of 25-18, 25-20.
Montini Catholic beat Glenbard West in the title match, 25-17, 25-18.
On Tuesday at Burlington Central, Kaneland lost to the hosts 25-22, 25-13, 26-24 to fall to .500 on the season. Lubic contributed five points, 18 assists and two kills, while Ellie Dunn had eight points and 12 kills, and Anna Senese contributed 10 points and six kills. Bridget Ransford contributed five points and three kills.
Despite the loss to the Rockets, McCastland seemed pleased with the progress the team is making.
“The score shows a loss for Kanleand,” she said, “This is day 15 here at Kaneland with a new coach, new offense, new defense and a lot of learning. My team saw victory in so many areas tonight. We are better than Saturday when we last played.”
Kaneland’s next challenge takes the form of visitors Aurora Central Catholic on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Photos: Senior captain Jenny Lubic will provide leadership for first-year coach Kerri McCastland’s Lady Knights. Photo by Patti Wilk
McCastland era begins with mission to duplicate success
KANELAND—It’s a different look to the ladies of the court for Kaneland.
There’s a change at the top, with experienced head coach Kerri McCastland taking over the reins left to her by Todd Weimer. KHS also has to offset the vacancy of six seniors from a year ago that helped pave the way to a 23-13 record and sectional appearance.
With a newly structured roster in place and action underway, McCastland is pleased with how the rigorous prep has left the volleyball team.
“It’s been a run out of the gate with excitement,” McCastland said. “The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the physicality of the game or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.”
Having to turn the page from the only system the program has known since 2005 can be a major adjustment, but the KHS crew looks to be game to learn as quickly as possible and solidify the lineup.
“It’s been hard work, but these are their words, ‘but it’s been good work’. That’s a great testament to the kids,” McCastland said.
McCastland realizes the stakes as a new coach coming into a team that achieved notable heights a year ago.
“It’s both ends of the sword, they graduated an awful lot of seniors from that successful team and left a great legacy. We have a young team, and a new-formatted team, with some freshmen and sophomores, a large majority of juniors and a senior setter who’s going to lead the whole pack,” McCastland said.
Senior Jenny Lubic brings a wealth of experience, and experience as a captain, continuing the Lubic production cycle begun by sister Jessica under Weimer.
Juniors include Ellie Dunn, Brittany Grider, Riley Hannula, Rachel Kintz, Regan Prost and Anna Senese. Sophomores are Vanessa Gould, McKenzie McMullan, Kathy Nguyen and Bridget Ransford. Freshman on the squad are Alex Anderson and Hannah Nauert.
“There’s joint passion. Thirteen players are hungry and interested in learning in a hot gym. They want to be great,” McCastland said.
Trying to match a 23-13 record and sectional appearance will happen in large part due to mistakes avoided on the court, as well.
“They need to avoid falling back into old habits. I would love for them to embrace the learning that has occurred and trust in it and be consistent in it,” McCastland said.
With the journey having already begun with a gathering of teams at Wheaton North, Kaneland looks to have its hands full with members of the Northern Illinois Big XII.
“I have great respect for the conference right now,” McCastland said. “As an official in the conference last year, you know a little bit of who graduated. I hear Sycamore’s new coach is very good, and that’s exciting. I think Morris has always generated a good team. I think Yorkville has a fiery and knowledgeable coach, and you can’t underestimate them. DeKalb has a very seasoned club coach who has a lot of leadership. Entering every conference game, we have to prepare for the team we’re going to face.”
Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton
• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez
• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon
• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo
• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams
• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury
Photo: Keri Groen pushes the ball past Geneva defenders uring Kaneland’s Spikefest held at Kaneland Harter Middle School on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Top-seed Lady Knights sweep Green Wave at Hampshire by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Tuesday’s playoff opener got rid of the bad taste of last year’s crushing opening defeat pretty well.
Almost a year to the day of a three-game downer at the hands of Glenbard South to end the 2011 season, mistakes were curbed and the aggressive tone worked in a 25-18, 25-18 win over St. Edward of Elgin on Tuesday at the Class 3A Hampshire Regional.
The win over the No. 5 seed Green Wave paves the way for a regional winner-take-all against the third-seed Sycamore Lady Spartans, which beat No. 2 Burlington Central after Kaneland’s victory by a 25-23, 25-21 clip.
“Postseason has not been nice to us, and we’ve faced some tough opponents,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said. “We were determined and we were focused, and we wanted to come out and play the best we could.”
KHS is now 22-12 for the year.
St. Edward fell victim to its share of errors in the first game on Tuesday, and Kaneland took advantage with a 15-5 lead. The Green Wave closed it to 19-12 before an Ellie Dunn kill. After seeing the margin close to 20-15, a block by Keri Groen, a pass over the net by Jenny Lubic and a Lyndi Scholl kill helped extend the margin to 24-16. An attempted block hit the net for game point at 24-18.
“The most important thing that we did was ball control,” libero Shayna Tucek said. “Every player focused on what they had to do, and they did it.”
St. Edward regained some footing and was ahead as late as 14-13 in the second game.
A Lauren Banbury kill gave the Lady Knights a lead for good at 16-15. After Kaneland put the pressure on, St. Edward was forced to regroup in a time out at 22-16.
Up 22-17, Groen stuck a kill down the St. Edward lineup, and several exchanges later, had another kill followed by a Scholl game point for the match win.
“It’s honestly the biggest weight lifted off,” Scholl said. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we can play Thursday and the season isn’t over. We still have a chance.”
Thursday’s loss to the visiting Lady Foxes was despite the best efforts of Lubic and Ashley Prost, who had a combined 24 assists. The lower level games all went Kaneland’s way.
At SpikeFest, no team performed better except the champion Geneva Lady Vikings. Riverside-Brookfield took third, followed by Metea Valley, Yorkville and Hampshire.
Kaneland’s 4-1 mark featured wins over Hampshire (25-16, 25-19), R-B (27-25, 27-25), Metea Valley (25-17, 20-25, 15-9) and Yorkville (25-14, 25-14).
The loss against Geneva was a 25-19, 25-22 result.
By virtue of their exceptional play, Dunn and Banbury of Kaneland earned all-tournament nods.
Dunn had 18 aces, three kills and eight blocks, while teammate Banbury had 13 kills and four blocks.
Kaneland is set to play in the Hampshire Regional final on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.
Kaneland serves up sweep to Streator
KANELAND—Kaneland High School volleyball can’t play Streator every week, so it was best to make the most of its battle with the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday.
Make the best of it they did, with a sweep of the Northern Illinois Big XII West Division rival, 25-9, 27-25.
The sweep in Streator, in addition to a second-place showing at the usual Bartlett Tournament stop this past Saturday and a win at Morris on Tuesday, sets the Lady Knights’ early-season mark at a proficient 10-4.
Contributions were plenty for Kaneland last Thursday, notable by Ellie Dunn with nine kills, Lyndi Scholl with seven kills and Lauren Banbury with two kills and two blocks.
Teammates Jenny Lubic had 20 assists and two aces, while Ashley Prost and Shayna Tucek combined for 15 digs.
Adding to the sweep-fest were the sophomores that won 25-10, 25-5, the freshman “A” team that won 25-15, 25-12, and the “B” squad in a 25-12, 25-14 win.
In Bartlett, the Lady Knights took four wins on the afternoon, with the only loss coming to the only team better than them on that day: West Chicago.
KHS handed the Fenton Lady Bison a three-game loss by a final of 25-14, 23-25, 15-8, and the hosts a 25-20, 25-9 setback.
The next batch of wins occurred against Dundee-Crown High School in a 25-12, 25-4 turn of events, before the Lady Knights took care of Rockford Lutheran, 25-18, 25-21.
The invite championship went the Wildcats’ way at the end of the line, with the Lady Knights dropping a 25-18, 25-17 matchup.
Noteworthy performances tournament-wide were had in the form of Dunn’s 26 kills and 15 digs, Scholl’s 28 kills and 25 digs, and Prost’s 16 kills and eight aces.
Tuesday saw Kaneland’s return to the win column as they battled through a straight-game victory at Morris 26-24, 25-22.
Lubic led the way with 13 assists and four digs. Shayna Tucek contributed 18 digs. Dunn had seven kills and four blocks, Lyndi Scholl put up five kills and two aces, Lauren Banbury added four kills and two blocks, and Keri Green tallied two kills and four blocks.
The Lady Knights battle the incoming DeKalb Barbs program on Thursday, Sept. 13.
Kaneland—The Lady Knights volleyball team improved its record to 5-2 with a Tuesday win over Hinckley-Big Rock.
Kaneland won in straight games, 25-13, 25-11, and set a season record with nine aces.
“We did a great job of being aggressive at the net, along with solid D from the whole team,” head coach Todd Weimer said.
Elize Dunn led the team in kills with 11, to go along with one ace and four digs. Jenny Lubic collected 22 assists to lead the team by far, in addition to two aces and five digs. Lyndi Scholl added four kills and an ace, Lauren Banbury tallied six kills and two aces, Ashley Prost contributed with three kills, one ace and nine digs, and Rachel Clinton and Shayna Tucek combined for 11 digs to help lead the way.
The Lady Knights next travel to Streator for a Thursday, Sept. 6, contest.
KANELAND—With the leaps and bounds in a positive direction from Kaneland volleyball the last five years, sometimes second place isn’t so bad.
With four wins out of five matches, the Lady Knights finished second place out of six squads at the Bartlett Tournament on Saturday.
Kaneland also tagged visiting Morris on Tuesday as conference action began.
Kaneland is now 11-3 (1-0 NIB-12).
KHS defeated Woodstock North 25-10, 25-12 to kick things off in Bartlett. The Lady Knights then beat Dundee-Crown by a 25-15, 25-14 clip. West Chicago beat Kaneland to continue its undefeated campaign, 25-22, 25-21. KHS then beat the host school 25-13, 25-27, 15-11 before ending the day with a 25-19, 27-26 win over Larkin.
Lauren Banbury came away with 24 kills while Jenny Lubic had 47 assists during the day.
Against the Lady Redskins, Kaneland’s 25-17, 25-19 win was highlighted by Katy Dudzinski’s 10 kills and Kylie Siebert’s 20 digs.
The Lady Knights’ venture to the new DeKalb High School for conference play on Thursday, Sept. 15.
Photo by Mary Herra
KANELAND—Lady Knights volleyball seems to be settling into a nice early rhythm eight matches into 2011.
The recent good fortunes have made matters quite bumpy for KHS opponents.
The most recent victim was the Hinckley-Big Rock program, which fell to the host Lady Knights 25-19, 25-20 in varsity action.
The Lady Knights have won six of their first eight matches, before the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference season heats up.
Front-line presence Katy Dudzinski had nine kills to her credit, while teammates Grace Fabrizius and Lauren Banbury added four each of their own. Jenny Lubic and Maddie King had two aces each, while Ashley Prost added 14 assits in the winning effort.
Up ahead for KHS, the usual mid-Sept. Bartlett Tournament stop, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Photo: Katy Dudzinski brings experience, size and force to the Lady Knights volleyball squad looking to elevate a 19-win total from 2010. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Could this be a lucky seventh for KHS volleyball coach Todd Weimer?
After a 2010 season that featured a record of 19-14, wins over Geneva (first time since 1991) and Sycamore (road win for the first time since 1999) for the first time in a long time, Weimer’s raring to get his girls on the court once again.
“There were a ton of firsts for us last year,” Weimer said. “I’m feeling great. We’re pumped up every morning. I love investing even more into the program, and we’re very excited.”
The Lady Knights flourished last year, but will have to deal with the sting of a regional opener loss to Hampshire, and the graduation of four seniors led by NIU freshman Jessica Lubic.
“Team chemistry is extremely strong and the personalities are great and attitude has been awesome,” Weimer said. “Last year was great and we think this will be a fun season.”
Seniors returning to the Lady Knights include libero Kylie Siebert.
“This is Kylie’s third year on varsity, and it goes through her on our side. She’s the first contact or the first pass, and she’s the best at it,” Weimer said.
Six-foot-two Katy Dudzinski, committed to Wichita State University, also lends skills up front as RS.
“Kylie, Katy and Malory Groen have kind of set the tone for the expectations,” Weimer said.
Additional seniors include OH Kourtni Bingley, MH Groen and OH Grace Fabrizius.
Juniors are marked by OH Lyndi Scholl, MH Keri Groen, S Ashley Prost, DS Rachael Clinton and MH Lauren Banbury.
Sophomores ready to make an impact on varsity are OH Maddie King and S Jenny Lubic.
The season’s first serve is set in Geneseo in a NIB-12 crossover on Monday, Aug. 22, while the first East Division match takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 13, against Morris.
“The setting is great, the defense is great, the passing is consistent. With this whole team, there are very few weaknesses,” Weimer said.