Tag Archives: nib12

Tennis’ trajectory still skyward

Photo: The tennis team honored their seniors Sept. 29 after their match with Sterling was cancelled. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This has been an impressive season for KHS tennis by any stretch of the imagination.

The 13-2 dual record has been made more impressive by the Lady Knights powering through the sometimes inclement weather, which has infringed on practice time at points.

Kaneland took care of business in Mendota, Ill., against the Lady Trojans on Monday, and also beat the Hampshire Lady Whip-Purs on Sept. 28 along Big Timber Road.

A 6-1 dual win over Mendota featured two singles wins and a doubles sweep.

“I was nervous about playing today,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “With last week’s weather, we haven’t had much practice time. We looked a little rusty, but we held it together.”

Sammi Schrepferman took a 6-3, 6-3 win in No. 1 singles action, and Jelly Emmanouil took her No. 2 singles encounter 6-1, 6-2.

The No. 1 doubles tandem of Madi Jurcenko and Maddy McMullen (subbing for Amelia Napiorkowski) took a 6-1, 6-1 sweep, and the Jenna Bicos/Jess Woodward.

Shortened matches against Hampshire still produced a convincing sweep of the hosts, with Emmanouil earning an 8-0 win, and Schrepferman continuing to win in an 8-3 affair.

“We’re winning a lot and for me, it builds confidence,” Schrepferman said. “Playing No.1 has made me a better player and try to work harder.”

Napiorkowski/Jurcenko, Bicos/Woodward and Madi Limbrick/Steph Rosenwinkel all came away with victories.

The Lady Knights see the regular season end on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7 and 8, with the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Rochelle High School.

Yonkovich shoots to Sectional for KHS golf

KANELAND—Kaneland golf will have a sectional presence after all.

Despite a sixth-place finish in the IHSA Class 2A Regional at the Highlands of Elgin golf course, the Knights’ sophomore talent Matt Yonkovich emerged as an advancing individual and heads to the sectional hosted by Wheaton Academy out at Pheasant Run in St. Charles on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The top three teams to advance were Marmion Academy with a 314 score, Wheaton Academy at 315 and Burlington Central at 322.

Kaneland’s 338 was one stroke behind St. Francis.

“It’s a fair course, and if you play it smart, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t shoot low scores here. What was giving us some trouble today were the greens. They’re in good shape, but for one reason or another, we weren’t putting very well,” KHS coach Mark Meyer said.

Yonkovich, who got a large amount of time on the varsity courses in his first varsity year, shot an 80.

The top advancing individual was St. Edward High School’s Michael Holevas.

On Sept. 28, Kaneland finished fifth with a score of 328 at the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet in Yorkville. The host Foxes took the meet over second-place Streator.

Yonkovich and teammate Adam Grams took an 80 off the course.

Junior varsity member Tori Guyton, younger sister of current Illinois State University golfer Hayley Guyton, was scheduled for regional action in girls golf on Wednesday.

Updatde: Tori Guyton qualified for sectionals. See next week’s paper for more details.

Comeback city

Photo: Knight Zack Martinelli (11) was integral on offense and special teams in the astounding 49-38 comeback win over DeKalb on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights overcome 17-point second-half deficit in Barb-land
by Mike Slodki
DEKALB, Ill.—DeKalb Barbs football, as exhibited by the first playoff run since 1989 a season ago, is much improved.

As exhibited by a prolific first half and a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, the program can be downright daunting for opposing teams.

It would take a special comeback to sting the Barbs, and on Friday the 6-0 (2-0 NIB-12) Knights had it in them.

Five touchdowns, culminating in a 23-yard Jesse Balluff touchdown run with seven minutes, 15 seconds to go in the game, gave the Knights the lead for good in a 49-38 win in the brand new facilities of DeKalb High School.

DeKalb fell to 3-3 (0-2 NIB-12) with the loss.

A 24-point second quarter for the Barbs was capped by two-way player Brian Sisler’s 52-yard interception return with 14 seconds to go in the half for a 24-14 lead.

	It seemed like everyone had a big play in them on Friday. 	Even when a second-half play looked to be going sour, it ended up sweet.  	Quinn Buschbacher (22) extended a play on a pass for 32 yards, but fumbled. However, Kyle Pollastrini helped his fellow wideout with a recovery. 	Jesse Balluff found the end zone to give KHS the lead for good on the next play.

In the third quarter, Sisler snuck the ball in from the three to maintain a 31-14 lead with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.

“We started to get glassy eyes, but we knew the seniors had to step up with the big play,” KHS secondary member Jake Razo said. “We have a young team, and Brian Sisler is great for DeKalb. We knew we could come back.”

Drew David (17-of-24, 295 yards, 3 TD) found Zack Martinelli with 6:32 remaining in the third on a 23-yard scoring pass to make it 31-21, and the next drive had Quinn Buschbacher scoring on a 26-yard TD pass with 3:25 to go to close within 31-28.

The fourth quarter started dubiously for Kaneland as DeKalb running back Dylan Hottsmith floated a halfback option touchdown pass to Mike Olson with 11:07 remaining in the game for a 38-28 lead.

Kaneland came back with a six-play drive, and David found Sean Carter on a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-35.

Forcing a punt brought KHS back in business, and Buschbacher caught a pass for a 32-yard gain, only to fumble. Kyle Pollastrini was there for the fortunate recovery. Balluff then found paydirt with 7:15 to go.

After another forced punt, Kaneland put the exclamation point on the night, as Balluff scampered for a 27-yard TD run with 5:04 to play.

“Something we told the guys in the locker room at halftime was forget about the mistakes,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We can come back, and this says a lot about guys like Drew and Jesse, who kept it together.”

The sophomores trounced DeKalb, 41-0.

The next challenge for the Knights is Friday, Oct. 7, against 4-2 Yorkville. Peterson Field will also be the site for a Pink Out, with players brandishing pink colors to create awareness of the fight against breast cancer.

Soccer wins pair after loss to conference foe DeKalb

Photo: Anthony Parillo (2) attempts a corner kick last week for the nine-win Knights soccer unit. Photo by Madeline Cole

KANELAND—Kaneland (9-4-1, 4-2-1 NIB-12) suffered its second loss this season to DeKalb in a 2-0 matchup, with a third meeting on the horizon in the Class 2A Regionals.

Against the visiting Bucs, Kushstrim Ismaili scored with five minutes, 59 seconds to go in the first half for a 1-0 lead.

Additionally, the Knights solved host Morris on Tuesday by a 1-0 clip, thanks to Arsim Azemi’s feed from Jordan Escobedo and Josh Williams, coming with 35:57 left.

The Knights host the Rochelle Hubs on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 4:30 p.m.

Lady Knights get dig on Dixon

Photo: Grace Fabrizius (14) spikes away for the Lady Knights volleyball crew, which has won 15 of 19 contests.Photo by Madeline Cole

KANELAND—Lady Knights volleyball continues to go on a tear after solid wins against crossover foe Dixon on Thursday.

With a 25-20, 25-17 win over the visiting Duchesses, the Lady Knights improved to 15-4 (4-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Against Dixon, KHS stalwart Katy Dudzinski had 15 kills and 4 aces, Kylie Siebert added nine digs. Ashley Prost added 10 assists. Jenny Lubic added nine assists and an ace.

All other underclass levels came away with wins, as well.

KHS looks toward Morris for an integral NIB-12 match on Thursday, Oct. 6.

All cylinders firing

Photo: Knights Kory Harner, Gary Koehring and Jacob Razo nullify any future gains by Rochelle QB Nick Moore during Friday’s 35-14 victory. Kaneland has started 5-0 for the second consecutive year. Photo by John DiDonna

Regular season win streak at 15 with 35-14 win over Hubs
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights football was the recipient of heavy contributions from sophomore quarterback Drew David, saw steady ground gains from Jesse Balluff, and was helped out through the air from the likes of Sean Carter and Quinn Buschbacher.

Or as Kaneland football might as well call it, “Friday.”

Kaneland’s overall game was strong enough to ward off an early interception and a strong Rochelle running game that netted 209 yards to leapfrog the Hubs in a 35-14 win.

The Friday win marks the fifth in six tries for Kaneland against Rochelle since the two became regular conference mates in 2006.

But KHS would have done itself a disservice by discounting the tussle, according to KHS coach Tom Fedderly.

“It’s a big conference game, and it’s a big rivalry. I really respect what these guys do over there,” Fedderly said. “We knew it was going to be a physical challenge.”

Kaneland also rockets to the top of the Northern Illinois Big XII conference standings along with Morris, with both schools at 5-0 and 1-0 in NIB-12 play.

It was Razo to the rescue. Jacob Razo (8) took the sting out a Kaneland miscue in the first quarter, and sent the Knights on their way to the end zone. After a Derek White interception gave the ball to Rochelle, the Hubs drove until Razo made an acrobatic pick off QB Nick Moore, saving a 7-0 Knights edge. The Knights then drove 88 yards to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

The IHSA Playoff Points scale has the Redskins and Knights as spots 1 and 2 in Class 5A through five weeks.

On Friday, the Knights amassed 449 yards of offense, compared to 218 for the Hubs, but were outgained on the ground, 209-166.

David impressed again in his fifth start for Kaneland, going 14-for-23 for 283 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Balluff had 100 yards rushing with a touchdown.

Carter had 100 yards receiving with five catches and two scores, while Buschbacher had 89 yards through the air and a touchdown.

Will Metzger had a productive night for Rochelle, gaining 136 yards on the ground.

KHS got on the board early with a 27-yard TD run by Buschbacher just a minute and 40 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

On the next drive, Rochelle’s Derek White picked off a pass, but Hub QB Nick Moore threw an INT into the hands of Jacob Razo of Kaneland, negating the turnover.

The Knights then used the run to power 88 yards and found paydirt on a 12-yard TD pass to Carter with :57 left in the frame for a 14-0 edge.

“We take it one game at a time,” Carter said. “We have our goals and we’re working at it, and I think we’re on track to do what we want to do.”

Rochelle then scored on a fourth-and-four pass from the eight-yard line, thanks to a Nick Moore-to-White touchdown pass. That made it 14-7 with 7:17 left in the first half.

The Knights’ next drive ended on a 22-yard pass to Carter with 6:20 to go, making it 21-7.

Kaneland’s first-half scoring concluded on a 23-yard scoring strike to Buschbacher with 1:40 to go, making it 28-7.

That marked the end of the scoring until the fourth, when Balluff powered in from the six-yard line on the first play of the frame for a 35-7 lead.

Rochelle scored on a Metzger plunge with 5:34 to go for the final margin.

The sophomores also beat the Hubs, 21-8.

Kaneland’s next quest is the host DeKalb Barbs on Friday, Sept. 30.

For the next home game, Kaneland will have a Pink-Out night against Yorkville in two weeks.

Soccer dishes shutouts to Yorkville and Sycamore

Photos: Alec Koczka (20) and Arsim Azemi (3) battle for a head shot near the goal during Kaneland’s varsity game at Sycamore on Tuesday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Once again, the Kaneland High School soccer roster found a way to acquaint itself with the back of the opposing net on Thursday.

Make that multiple ways to acquaint itself.

Using two goals in the first half and three in the second, KHS solved the visiting Yorkville Foxes by a 5-0 final in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

With that matchup in the books, along with a formerly improbable 2-0 shotout win in Sycamore, the Knights are 7-3-1 and 3-1-1 in NIB-12 clashes.

Jordan Escobedo got things going on Thursday with a goal about 13 minutes into play. Escobedo then fed Alex Gil with 26 minutes, 4 seconds left in the the half for a 2-0 lead.

Anthony Parillo convered on an unassisted opportunity with 33:53 left in the game, and Alex Gil took a pass from Escobedo once again with 30:49 to go for a 4-0 lead.

Kushstrim Ismaili closed the barrage out with an assist from Kris Leeseberg with 8:58 remaining.
The JV team improved to 6-3 with a 7-0 solving of the younger Foxes.

In what was described by KHS coach Scott Parillo as swamp-like conditions, the Knights’ two first-half goals were enough against the Spartans, thanks to a Parillo goal from a Thanasi Pesmajoglou feed just seven minutes into the game and an Ismaili goal from Parillo 12 minutes later.

The Knights’ march continues on Monday, Oct. 3, with a non-conference clash against the visiting Belvidere Bucs.

KHS golf earns win over rival DeKalb in conference action

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Consistency and depth are two intangibles that KHS coach Mark Meyer preaches and touts for his Knights golf outfit.

Those were put into motion on Thursday, when KHS traveled to Kishwauee Country Club in DeKalb, Ill., and solved the Barbs in a 160-176 affair.

With the regular season in its homestretch, the Knights are 8-4 in dual competition.

“I think the big difference this year is consistency, and we’re a much deeper team than before,” Meyer said. “Where last year we had one or two players able to make par or one over, now we have like six or seven that can do that.”

Headlining for the Knights were Connor Williams and Adam Grams, who both shot a 39. Brody Kuhar shot a 44, and Zach Douglas shot a 45.

Kaneland had eyes on a repeat for Northern Illinois Big XII conference glory with the Wednesday meet in Yorkville, and heads to Regionals in South Elgin, Ill, on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Lady Knights v-ball continues to roll in conference play

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights volleyball continued to have the edge over familiar opponents, including Rochelle on Thursday.

Led by Katy Dudzinski, Kylie Siebert and Ashley Prost, the Lady Knights swept the visiting Lady Hubs by a final of 25-19, 25-21.

On Tuesday, Kaneland came away with a convincing 25-18, 25-19 victory in Yorkville.

The Lady Knights now sit at 14-4 with a 4-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

KHS now finds itself atop the conference standings with DeKalb, one match ahead of Morris.

Dudzinski had 11 kills, while Siebert had 11 digs and Prost gathered 13 assists.

Against Yorkville, Dudzinski had nine kills, while Prost added 10 assists.

Siebert produced nine digs, two aces and 10 serve-recieve receptions.

“Today we were a lot smarter with the ball and placed it really well,” Siebert said. “That helped us a lot.”

Coach Todd Weimer is encouraged with the recent stretch.

“Both my setters dissected that defense, and it was really fun to see after working on different things this week in practice,” Weimer said.

In sophomore action against Rochelle, KHS won 25-18, 25-20, while the freshman “A” team came away with a 25-8, 25-17 win, and the “B” side edged its opponent by a 27-25, 26-24 win.

Coming up for the Lady Knights is a home matchup with crossover opponent Dixon in the East gym on Thursday, Sept. 29.

KHS football unloads offense on Cavs

Photo: Knight Jesse Balluff (30) evades a slew of green jerseys during Friday night’s 56-14 victory at LaSalle-Peru. The Knights have now outscored LP 112-21 in two meetings. Photo by Ryan Wells

4-0 Knights see everyone get in on the act in 56-14 win
by Mike Slodki
LASALLE, Ill.—The phrase “It was that kind of night,” could carry good or bad connonations.

For the Knights on Friday in LaSalle County, it held quite the good meaning.

Exceptional and opportune scoring keyed a 56-14 Northern Illinois Big XII crossover win for Kaneland over LaSalle-Peru.

With the win, KHS enjoys its second consecutive 4-0 start, and its third in the last six seasons.

The Knights took advantage of their wide range of gifts and amassed 500 yards of total offense, compared to 132 for LaSalle-Peru (1-3).

Running back Jesse Balluff took care of the ball and the Cavaliers run defense, with 124 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns.

“Jesse is getting better every week,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We like to call those run plays every week, and he’s a kid that runs hard.”

Sophomore Drew David continued to make strides on the gridiron, directing the offense and going 18-for-22 for 351 yards with five touchdown throws.

Senior Quinn Buschbacher continued to make something happen most every time he touched the ball. Beginning the cool September night with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown just 15 ticks into the game, Buschbacher also caught six passes for a 136-yard night with two touchdowns.

Teammate Sean Carter also had a highlight-worthy night with 92 yards on five catches and two touchdowns.

It’s said you find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Sean Carter (25) seems to be at the end of a rainbow pass, and often. With LaSalle-Peru reeling from a fumbled kickoff early in the game, Drew David threw a 4th-and-1 pass to Carter for a 28-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead, setting the tone for much of the Friday contest.

Buschbacher’s kickoff return for a TD gave Kaneland an early 7-0 lead, with the ensuing kickoff bouncing off of an LP player and into the hands of Tanner Andrews. A pass and and two runs later lead to a fourth-and-one conversion, with Carter catching a 28-yard TD pass.

The successful play gave KHS a 14-0 lead just 1:55 into the contest.

LP used seven plays to power to the endzone, with Keegan Patyk catching a 13-yard strike to close within 14-7 with 7:22 remaining in the quarter.

On the first play of the Knights’ next drive, Balluff took the handoff and went for a 73-yard TD run with 6:59 to go to make it 21-7.

“We have such great guys out there, all the recievers are good,” Balluff said. “We can pretty much do anything with the guys we have and we’ll be fine.”

On Kaneland’s next drive, the Knights took eight plays in the second quarter to make it 28-7, on a 28-yard strike to Kyle Pollastrini with 6:40 to go in the half.

The Knights’ next drive went nine plays and ended on a pass to Carter for a 19-yard touchdown on a third-down try. That made the affair 35-7 with 2:51 to go.

LP answered with a 37-yard bomb to Tyler Jakse with :25 seconds to go to make it 35-14.

Kaneland decided to make that space of time work by dumping it to Buschbacher, who used his speed and evasiveness to follow blocks and score a 72-yard TD as time expired on the half, making it 42-14.

The remaining scores took place in the third quarter, when David found Zack Martinelli on a 17-yard TD with 8:23 to go, and Balluff’s 11-yard scamper with 2:24 to go.

The Balluff score sent the contest to a running clock for the final 14 minutes, the third such occurence for KHS games this year.

“We did what we needed to do. We’re 4-0 and excited to play conference, and we will not look past Rochelle (Friday, Sept. 23),” Fedderly said.

PR’s galore for Lady Knight runners at Eddington Invite

Photo: Victoria Clinton tries to create space in the F/S competition during Saturday’s Eddington Invite. A freshman, Clinton won the race in 15 minutes, 23.2 seconds. Photo by Madeline Cole

ELBURN—Even with some assets sick and injured, Kaneland girls cross country still saw noteworthy efforts at its own showcase.

The annual Eddington Invite, hosted by Kaneland saw runners Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige and Amanda Lesak all achieve personal bests at the hilly landscape of Elburn Woods.

Crystal Lake Central (40 points) took the event, while Benet Academy finished second with 83 and Marengo took third in 89.

Northern Illinois Big XII conference mates Sycamore (173) and DeKalb (231) finished seventh and eighth.

Crystal Lake Central’s Sami Staples, a freshman, took the race crown in 18 minutes, 34.6 seconds.

Dodis, striding through her junior season, finished eighth overall with 19:45.6 worth of time.

With her best Elburn Woods effort behind her, Dodis believes it’s a beacon of things to come.

“We are excited and feeling really good,” Dodis said. “We wanted to see what we could do this year.”

Teammate Brundige finished in 17th with a time of 20:08.4. Amanda Lesak finished 58th with a time of 21:44.6.

On the frosh/soph side, Kaneland’s fifth place was buoyed by top runner Victoria Clinton at 15:23.2.

Fellow freshman Aislinn Lodwig was fifth at 16:09.6, and Anna Piazza was 38th at 17:57.

Up next for Kaneland girls: the Rock River Run in Sterling, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 24.

KHS goes to Thursday stalemate on pitch, solves Rochelle

KANELAND—Looking to get off of a losing track, the Knights soccer unit did just that on Thursday against Morris, but would like to go a little further in future matches.

Thanks to a Jordan Escobedo goal, the Knights were able to hold off a Redskins scoring attack enroute to a 1-1 tie.

The Knights are now 4-3-1 with an 0-1-1 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

Escobedo’s goal was fed by Tyler Siebert’s assist with seven minutes, four seconds to go in the first half.

The Knights beat Rochelle on Tuesday, 5-1, with five goals from five players.

Kaneland faces Yorkville on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Volleyball drops battle with Lady Barbs in NIB-12 action

KANELAND—Lady Knights volleyball may have dropped its very first meeting at the brand new DeKalb High School to the hosts, but if there’s a silver lining, they’ll meet again Oct. 11.

Thursday saw Kaneland suffer a rare 2011 loss to the host Lady Barbs in Northern Illinois Big XII action by a sweep of 25-17, 25-23.

KHS now stands at 11-4 on the season, and 1-1 in NIB-12 play.

Ashley Prost had eight assists and five digs on the night, while teammate Kylie Siebert had 10 digs. Katy Dudzinski added nine kills in the losing effort.

In sophomore action, the Lady Knights also dropped the match, 25-19, 25-18 to the Lady Barbs.

The freshman levels came away with a win back to Maple Park, however. “A” took a 25-14, 21-25, 25-20 matchup, while “B” took a 25-23, 25-11 sweep.

The varsity roster looks forward to a NIB-12 clash with the visiting Rochelle Lady Hubs on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Golfers solve Morris after Streator setback

ELBURN—Kaneland High School golf continues to get exceptional efforts from a nicely gelling roster, despite suffering two of three losses.

Going back to last week’s loss at Sycamore, Kaneland also dropped a 150-156 matchup at Streator on Sept. 14 before rallying against Northern Illinois Big XII rival Morris on Tuesday by a final of 151-168.

Against the host Bulldogs, the Knights (7-4) saw noteworthy scores from Brody Kuhar (36), Luke Kreiter (37) and Adam Grams (41).

The JV team was edged by Streator 198-199.

In the win over Morris, the visiting Knights saw a 34 from medalist Matt Yonkovich, a 37 by Kreiter and a 40 from both Zach Douglas and Troy Krueger. Grams also managed a 41 score.

The JV roster came away with a 177-199 win.

The varsity troops head off to DeKalb for a meeting with the Barbs on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Kaneland’s 11: Tennis stacking wins

Photo: Madi Jurcenko (left) has become a main component in the formula for success concerning Kaneland tennis, sitting at 11-2. Photo by Madeline Cole

KANELAND—Close counts in tennis.

While the Lady Knights barely edged their opponents, every point mattered and the Kaneland crew now rides a six-match win streak.

The 11-2 Lady Knights look back on wins over host Yorkville, 3-2 on Tuesday, 4-3 over visiting Oswego on Monday and 3-2 over the invading Ottawa Pirates on Thursday.

Against the Lady Foxes, the Lady Knights saw Jelly Emmanouil take a 6-0, 6-0 sweep in the No. 2 singles matchup. The Amelia Napiorkowski/Madi Jurcenko No. 1 doubles team won 6-2, 6-0, while Madi Limbrick and Steph Rosenwinkel won their No. 3 match 6-2, 6-0.

Emmanouil also won her tussle against Oswego in a 6-3, 6-0 match. Napiorkowski and Jurcenko, plus Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward came away with wins in No. 1/No. 3 doubles.

Against Ottawa, Emmanouil, Napiorkowski/Jurcenko, and Limbrick/Rosenwinkel took it to last year’s conference champs.

Limbrick/Rosenwinkel needed a 9-7 tiebreaker in a 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 win.

The Lady Knights take on the field at the Rochelle Invite on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Kaneland Knights drill Dixon, 59-14

Photo: Knight Zack Martinelli (11) escapes Dixon’s Scott Goad on his way to a 25-yard touchdown that made the margin 40-7 in the third quarter. Photo by Ryan Wells

Kaneland improves to 3-0 with offensive explosion
by Mike Slodki
DIXON—At his most popular, the 40th President of the United States put forth a picture of optimism.

In his former boyhood stomping grounds of Dixon, Ill., even the most ardent Duke fan was hard-pressed to put a sunny picture on the end result.

Much like last year’s 55-6 drubbing of the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe, the Knights kept the scoreboard operator busy in a 59-14 handling of the host Dukes, and improved to 3-0 in the process.

Kaneland begins 3-0 for the second straight campaign and for the third time in six seasons.

The Knights achieved running clock status for the second time in three weeks and amassed 486 total yards, compared to Dixon’s 197.

Sophomore signal-caller Drew David continues to work the offense at a winning pace, going 15-for-27 for 274 yards and five TD throws.

Jesse Balluff ran 20 times for 129 yards and three touchdown runs, while Zack Martinelli caught five balls for 136 yards and two scores.

Martinelli, with 2011 being his first sustained varsity time, thinks the team is feeling more comfortable as the weeks and wins pile up.

“We would always get a big return, the line did their job and the receivers got open. Our line’s tough, and we keep powering through and punching it in,” Martinelli said.

The return game was helped by Quinn Buschbacher, who had a big 71-yard kickoff return setting up the third KHS score, and 89 yards worth of punt returns.

David found Martinelli on a 56-yard touchdown three minutes, 55 seconds into the game.

Play of the Knight vs Dixon
Quinn Buschbacher (22) isn’t an award-winning actor, but his performance can be both dynamic and heartbreaking. If you’re Dixon, anyway. After Dixon signal-caller Scott Goad scored on a 32-yard scamper to close within 13-7 in the second frame, Buschbacher caught the ensuing kickoff. The senior raced all the way down to the 10-yard line, setting the stage for a Sean Carter TD catch.

Kaneland’s four touchdowns in the second were scored on a 14-yard pass to Kyle Pollastrini, a 16-yard pass to Sean Carter making it 20-7, a Balluff 1-yard plunge and a six-yard strike to Buschbacher.

Martinelli scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass, while Balluff’s three-yard run closed out the scoring in the third.

The two fourth-quarter scores came from Balluff’s three-yard TD run and a five-yarder from Brandon Cottier.

The Knights travel to LaSalle-Peru High School for the first time on Friday, Sept. 16.

The sophomores also beat Dixon, 42-6.

Knights freshmen football took a 47-8 win from Glenbard North on Monday.

Volleyball sees strides in 4-1 showing at Bartlett Tourney

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.

Soccer handles IMSA, drops NIB-12 opener at DeKalb

Photo: Arsim Azemi battles with a Barb counterpart for the ball in the 2-1 loss on Tuesday night. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The first trip to the new DeKalb High School grounds off of Dresser Road in DeKalb was not a welcome one for Kaneland soccer.

A goal with 28 minutes, 29 seconds remaining sent KHS on its way to a 2-1 loss to the Barbs.

However, Kaneland did get a win on Thursday in Aurora over Illinois Math and Science Academy by a 7-1 final.

The Knights stand at 4-3 on the season with an 0-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

After allowing a goal three minutes into the contest on DeKalb’s turf surface, Kaneland tied it when Alex Gil fed Kushstrim Ismaili for the game-tying score with 20:46 to go in the first half.

Roughly 12 minutes into the second half, Trevor Freeland of DeKalb put the ball in.

Opportunities were there, but the results were few for the Knights, who have found a knack for the net in 2011.

“Today, we couldn’t do it,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “We had a couple of chances at both ends that just didn’t go in. Sometimes, it’s just a game of inches.”

The JV squad did manage a 2-0 win over DeKalb.

The varsity match against the Titans saw first-half goals by Jordan Escobedo and Anthony Parillo’s penalty kick.

An explosion of five goals went the KHS way in the second half with Ismaili, Escobedo, Gil and Alec Koczka getting into the act.

The Knights continue conference play with against Morris on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Knights start long weekend with win over Huntley

Photo: vof Kaneland brings down the ball carrier in the third quarter of Kaneland’s varsity home win against Huntley on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It seemed like every time Huntley came up with a big play in Maple Park on a humid Friday night, KHS was there to answer.

After working their offense and making enough plays on the other side of the ball, the Knights’ abundant answers sentenced the visiting Red Raiders to a 34-13 loss.

KHS has now taken the last two of three overall non-conference meetings from Huntley since the series began in 2009.

With the win, Kaneland improves to 2-0, while Huntley falls to 0-2.

In other levels of action, Kaneland’s sophomore squad fell to Huntley 27-6, while the freshmen came away with a 14-13 win.

Drew David took care of the Kaneland offense in his second week as signal-caller, and went 11-for-19 with 224 yards and four touchdown throws as opposed to only one pick.

“The game is just so much faster on varsity level,” David said. “Just getting the game reps, I think it helps, and the wide receivers do a fantastic job.”

Jesse Balluff had 88 yards rushing, 48 of them on one impressive first-quarter touchdown where he powered through would-be tacklers after the play looked stopped.

“When you have younger guys playing, you wonder how things are going to go,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We keep preaching it’s a four-quarter game. We got down and our kids came back.”

Knight asset Quinn Buschbacher was the leading reciever with 100 yards on five grabs, while Sean Carter had 72 yards and two scores.

Huntley actually outgained Kaneland in total offense with 330 yards compared to 312.

On the visitors’ second drive, Ethan Connor took the pigskin and ran for a 32-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with three minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

On the second play of Kaneland’s ensuing drive, Balluff sent his sideline into a frenzy with his 48-yard gallop. Only one minute had elasped and KHS had tied the game.

After Jake Razo recovered a James Davis fumble on Huntley’s next possession, David’s 31-yard rainbow pass to Sean Carter netted a 14-7 lead with 11 ticks left in the first.

Play of the Knight week 2

The score remained the same at halftime, but KHS put it out of reach in the third quarter thanks to two more Knight touchdown passes. The third two-play drive that resulted in a score ended with a Carter fly pattern for a 40-yard TD. The 40-yard score made it 21-7 with 9:17 remaining in the third.

A fumble by Huntley allowed KHS to put up another touchdown, this a 13-yard TD pass to Buschbacher with 6:58 remaining in the third for a 28-7 lead.

The lone fourth frame score saw Kyle Pollastrini catch his first touchdown pass of the year just seven seconds into the quarter on a 10-yard play.

Huntley’s QB Jake Brock scored on a 17-yard scamper to cap the scoring.

Up next for the Knights is the beginning of the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover games with the West division.

The Knights head west to Dixon High School. Dixon comes into the game 1-1 after dropping a 35-12 result to Rock Island Alleman on Friday.

The Dukes were 1-8 in 2010.


Score by Quarters:
1st Quarter: 35-7, Kaneland
2nd Quarter: 20-0, Kaneland
3rd Quarter: 14-0, Kaneland
4th Quarter: 9-6, Kaneland

Conference Standings >>

Marin boasts top spot in boys XC win

Photo: Miki Marin and Nate Rehkopf power through Elburn Woods during Tuesday’s win over East Aurora and Yorkville. The duo finished first and fourth, respectively. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was near perfect outside on Tuesday.

The weather wasn’t bad, either.

With the first five slots taken up by Kaneland boys cross country harriers, the Knights’ 15 points took care of East Aurora’s 65 and Yorkville’s JV squad’s 89 points.

Miki Marin ran the Elburn Woods trail in 17 minutes, six seconds, in what is a solid campaign for a Knight who doesn’t run like a raw rookie.

“The difference between track and cross country is unbelievable,” Marin said. “They are way different sports. In cross country, you rely on mentality a lot more, and in track you have to just power through.”

Marin’s teammate Connor Johnson took second in 17:08, followed by Kyle Carter at 17:09 and Nate Rehkopf at 17:16.

The Knights travel to the Peoria Woodruff Invite Saturday, Sept. 10.

Soccer survives shootout with Royals, now over .500

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For those that wish the game of soccer could use a couple more handfuls of scoring got their wish on Friday afternoon at Kaneland High School.

The Knights used a huge first half to propel themselves to a 7-4 win over the H-BR Royals.

The six-goal outburst within the first 40 minutes of play allowed Kaneland to improve to 3-2 on the young season.

Anthony Parillo kicked things off with a 35-yard free kick just six minutes, 53 seconds into the match.

Alex Gil scored on an assist from Parillo with 28:22 to go. With 20:50 remaining, Tyler Siebert began his prolific day with a goal on a Kushstrim Ismaili assist.

Jordan Escobedo put it in the net with 12:12 to go thanks to a Tyler Siebert assist.

Thanasi Pesmajoglou got in on the scoring party with an unassisted effort with 8:09 left, and H-BR put the ball in its own net just five seconds out from the break.

Alex Gil completed the scoring with 24:59 to go, helping offset the three-goal burst by the Royals.

The Knights move on to deal with Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora on Thursday, Sept. 8, and head to DeKalb for a matchup at the Barbs’ new grounds on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Kaneland girls XC runs roughshod over foes

KANELAND—It might be too early to measure Kaneland girls cross country’s progress on the basis of Tuesday’s encounter with East Aurora and the JV squad from Yorkville, but the Lady Knights will take the good fortune where they can find it at this early juncture.

Sweeping the first five spots made for a score of 15, besting the Lady Tomcats’ 87, and the Foxes’ 64.

Sophomore Sydney Strang’s 20 minute, 14.6 second time was tops of the field, followed by Victoria Clinton’s 20:17.1, and Abby Dodis’ 20:23.8. Maggie Brundige also excelled at 20:47.

Rounding out the top five was Aislinn Lodwig’s 21:30.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a trip up north to the Wauconda Invite at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Knight golfers score big in wins over W. Aurora, YHS

Photo: Stephen Cannell studies his drive during Kaneland’s home varsity match against Yorkville on Sept. 6 at Hughes Creek. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—How are the KHS golfers supplantiing the loss of key people like Josh Schuberg and Hayley Guyton?

Quite well, thank you.

With handy wins over visiting West Aurora on Aug. 31, and the visiting Sterling crew on Thursday, the Kaneland club has a 5-1 record in dual meets thus far.

Luke Kreiter shot a medalist-worthy 36 against the Blackhawks in the 158-173 win at Hughes Creek G.C., and was aided by a 39 from Brody Kuhar and a 41 from Troy Krueger. Dan Miller and Connor Williams shot 42 each.

The JV crew was edged by W. Aurora by a 183-186 margin.

Against the Golden Warriors of Sterling, a 36 by Adam Grams and a 38 by Krueger and Matt Yonkovich led the way to a 151-164 win. Kuhar also shot a 39 in the win.

Sterling’s JV team beat Kaneland 183-195.

Krueger’s 38 also helped KHS beat Yorkville on Tuesday, 153-172.

On tap for varsity golf: a trip to the Batavia Invite on Saturday, Sept. 10.

KHS golfers swing past Marengo, Rochelle

KANELAND—Kaneland golf didn’t like the feeling of losing the opening match to Jacobs last week, so the Knights made their own luck, and made it better.

On Thursday, Kaneland (2-1) took care of Marengo out at Hughes Creek by a 160-179 tally, while Aug. 24 ended with a convincing conference push of the Rochelle Hubs by a 159-182 final.

Against the Indians, Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams and Zach Douglas each shot a 39 score to help the winning effort.

The JV crew beat Marengo by a 196-213 final.

Against the Hubs, Yonkovich continued his stellar start with a 27 score, while Luke Kreiter shot a 39.

The JV also emerged victorious with a 192-221 win.

Up next for the Knights is a home matchup with Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Sterling, on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Familiar faces and new blood buoy tennis

1st at Plainfield N. invite, wins over GN., Marengo highlight week
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In so many words, what coach Tim Larsen likes about his 2011 crop of tennis players is they “get after it,” in so many words.

“We had two freshmen that had experience and were varsity ready when they got here,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “I feel like I don’t have to do the teaching as in years past. There’s an awful lot of hustle in the varsity lineup and not a whole lot of quit.”

No point was too distant for the Lady Knights, and they parlayed that into a productive week.

On Aug. 24, the Lady Knights lost to Wheaton Academy 3-2 in a dual in West Chicago. KHS regained its swing in a 3-2 win over Marengo on Thursday.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights solved six other teams enroute to a first-place finish at the annual Plainfield North Invite.

On Monday, Kaneland traveled to Carol Stream to stomp the Glenbard North Panthers by a 5-2 dual final.

The win over the Lady Indians featured wins by No. 1 singles entry Samantha Schrepferman (6-1, 6-0), and No. 2 singles counterpart Angelica Emmanouil (6-1, 6-2).

No. 1 doubles tandem Madi Jurcenko and Amelia Napiorkowski took a 6-1, 6-4 matchup for the doubles duke.

At the home of the Tigers off of 248th Street, in Plainfield, Napiorkowski and Jurcenko nabbed first in No. 1 doubles, as did Emmanouil in the No. 2 singles spot, and the No. 3 doubles team.

For Napiorkowski, the pressure is there for the State entry of a year ago.

“There is a lot of pressure to not only do as good as last year, but better. I obviously want to do more,” Napiorkowski said.

Jurcenko’s older sister Lindsay was doubles partners at State with Napiorkowski.

“(Lindsay) mostly played singles, so this is kind of different,” Jurcenko said. “But she said to keep your partner up and give them praise because if they’re down, it’s going to affect you, too.”

Againsrt Glenbard North, Schrepferman, Emmanouil, No. 3 singles entry Maddy McMullen, and the Napiorkowski/Jurcenko combo took wins.

On Tuesday, Kaneland beat visiting Sycamore in conference action, 4-1. The singles matches and the No.1 and No. 3 doubles matchups all went Kaneland’s way.

The surging Lady Knights take on IMSA on Tuesday, Sept. 6, in Aurora.

Volleyball beats NIB-12 crossover foe

Fabrizius, Dudzinski, Banbury key in KO of Geneseo
KANELAND—Volleyball began 2011-12 in grand fashion.

The Lady Knights didn’t let the two-hour trip diminish their court skills as they beat the host Lady Leafs of Geneseo in a Northern Illinois Big XII conference crossover clash by an 18-25, 25-19, 25-20 result.

Grace Fabrizius paced the team with 12 kills, followed by Katy Dudzinski’s 11. Lauren Banbury had six kills to add to the winning effort.

Dudzinski also added four blocks on the evening.

In sophomore action, the Lady Knights had a come-from-behind win over Geneseo by a final of 20-25, 25-23, 25-22.

The freshman “A” squad swept its contest in a 25-10-25-17 encounter, while the “B” team did the same in a 25-9, 25-15 affair.

On the horizon for the quick-starting Lady Knights: the second night of the Wheaton North tournament on Saturday, Aug. 27.

the Knights ahead: Kaneland looks to reach similar heights from a year ago

Photo: Knights football works on getting back to the playoff promised land at the high school. A year ago the Knights had their best season since 1998. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland Knights football achieved such great heights a year ago.

The best season mark since 1998, an undefeated regular season, and an epic third-round playoff win over Vernon Hills—made possible by player Joe Camiliere, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan—made it a season to remember, until it was stopped on a cold night in November against powerhouse Montini Catholic.

Fifth-year coach Tom Fedderly isn’t interested in preparing for last year.

“It was a special year, but last year is last year. Every year is different. I’m going to try to take the guys that we have, and our system is flexible enough where we can do things differently depending on the pieces that we have,” he said.

The Knights’ spread attack on offense was successful in large part due to new Elmhurst Bluejay Camiliere’s penchant for taking care of the ball.

With the starting derby yet to be completely decided, senior Ryan Fuchs and sophomore Drew David could see time under center, and have been told the formula for field success.

“They both know they need to take care of the ball and manage the offense. As it looks right now, I’m pretty satisfied with what we’ve got there,” Fedderly said.

With Andrews and Callaghan gone to graduation, and former receiving threat Daniel Helm now playing for Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., the fourth and fifth option on some days last year now move up as big targets in the form of all Northern Illinois Big XII option Quinn Buschbacher and Sean Carter.

Buschbacher also displayed a knack for the return game in 2010.

“It’ll be good for our quarterback to have weapons like those out there, and they have experience,” Fedderly said.

When the time comes to gain yards via ground attack, the Knights rely on sophomore Jesse Balluff, with Buschbacher and Carter viable options to seek carries, as well.

With Helm not a Knight this season, Kaneland gets a move-in option in the form of Ohio transfer Matt Price.

“He’s six-foot-three, about 195 (pounds), and he’s going to get in the mix, too. He looks like a good player,” Fedderly said.

The offernsive line, carrying infinite importance for protection of the spread offense, looks to curb the loss of tackle Jimmy Boyle to graduation.

Four returnees are suited up for the two-way line in Nick Sharp, Ryan Noel, Ben Kovalick and Alex Snyder.

For the linebacking corps, it looks to be an all new crew with the depth chart still in flux.

In the secondary, Jacob Razo returns and looks to primarily play defense, as will returnee Kory Harner. Joey Cozzi returns for his senior campaign.

Kicker Matt Rodriguez returns to boot the ball through the posts when needed.

Fedderly and staff will continue to work up through the season opener, with new foe Brooks Prep of Chicago on Friday, Aug. 26.

“We just started hitting and we’re still looking to see who our football players are, but we have young kids that I think are going to come along,” Fedderly said.

NIB-12 for Kaneland golf’s taking

Photo: Adam Grams of the Kaneland golf squad is looked to for any chance at season and conference success in 2011. File photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How does a golf squad repeat good fortune of a year ago, despite the loss of two intregral pieces?

KHS coach Mark Meyer, in his sixth season, has some ideas.

“We have good leaders and they know how to do things right,” Meyer said.

With the loss of Josh Schuberg and current Illinois State University Lady Redbird Hayley Guyton to graduation, Krueger and Grams, both seniors, bring their valuable experience on the links into positions of leadership.

A 9-2 dual meet mark and a first-place showing for a Northern Illinois Big XII East Division crown is fresh in their minds.

“The guys coming back like Troy and Adam and others aren’t the most vocal guys, but they know how to lead by example,” Meyer said. “Last year, we elevated our game as a team and shot great at the end. The team is feeling pretty confident and has been working hard in practice.”

The conference should get set for elevated play from a pair of Knight sophomores, Brody Kuhar and Matt Yonkovich.

Coach Meyer looks to turn home course Hughes Creek into an advantage, something that hasn’t always been the case.

“Sometimes we’ve played better away, but I don’t think that’ll be the case this year. It’s a grownup course, and the more you play it, the more you can get comfortable,” he said.

Captains for the roster are Grams, Krueger and fellow senior Anthony Sperando. Other returning seniors are Zach Douglas and Mitch Gemini.

Juniors are Sean Glennon, Luke Kreiter, Stephen McCracken, Dan Miller and Connor Williams, with Kuhar and Yonkovich as the sophs.

The Knights got started with a home matchup against Jacobs on Wednesday and travel to the Geneva Invite on Thursday. Wednesday, Aug. 24, marks the first NIB-12 matchup as the visiting Rochelle Hubs enter Hughes Creek.

“Ultimately, our season boils down to the big tournaments, that can lead to performing well at conference and even State,” Meyer said.

Soccer wishes to carry momentum from ‘10 season’s end

Photo: Jordan Escobedo looks to see his share of scoring chances in 2011. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While an 11-11-2 record from a year ago might not seem super impressive, the way Kaneland boys soccer went about arriving to that final mark was noteworthy.

Nine overtimes in the playoffs were a byproduct of a regional title—the first for boys soccer since 2004, and the first for a head-to-head sport in Maple Park since 2005.

It was Sterling that ousted the Knights last October in the sectional semifinal, but KHS coach Scott Parillo saw the end of the last season as a possible indicator of what could be in 2011.

“We finally started clicking at the end of the season, which is how you want to do it,” he said. “It was a very young squad last year. Once the playoffs began, I had 22 players on the roster and 11 couldn’t drive.”

Those that know what it’s like to go far return in high numbers for the Knights.

“Hopefully, we won’t start as slow and we’ll be very competitive,” Parillo said.

The depth chart was still in a state of flux with athletes still vying for starting slots, but the returnees who have minutes under their belts will need to provide leadership.

Names like Jordan Escobedo, who brought a dose of athleticism at midfield, as well as a knack for finding the net, return for Kaneland for a senior season.

Escobedo is accompanied by sophomore Anthony Parillo and junior Alex Gil at forward.

Tyler Siebert also provides a spark at midfield and forward for his sophomore season.

The goalkeeper derby has yet to be settled, with three possible entries ready for the opener.

At last count, Kaneland was employing six sophomores on the varsity level, seven juniors and seven seniors.

The road to postseason begins on Tuesday, Aug. 23, against familiar rival Marengo, while conference action begins on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in DeKalb.

“Everything has to go right. Our passing has to be right there. Our defensive intensity has to be right there. I’ve stressed as soon as we lose the ball, we’re on defense. We’re all on offense once we have the ball, and we’ve picked up the intensity in practice,” Parillo said.

Tennis wants to recapture last season

Photo: Madi Limbrick is set for a big year, her third on varsity tennis. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fourth-year Lady Knights tennis coach Tim Larsen finds himself in a unique spot.

For the first time, Kaneland comes off a season a year ago in which it had a state presence. Kaneland also finished 8-6-1 in dual tussles, and finished second in the Northern Illinois Big XII East division.

Everyone was a true wild card when slotted into the depth charts, and it might even be more of a shootout for the singles and doubles spots, according to Larsen.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of concern about where to put these girls,” Larsen said. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of new girls, including very talented freshmen.”

But girls that achieved success a year ago, like seniors Amelia Napiorkowski and Madi Limbrick, bring a track record.

Napiorkowski’s success during the regular season was on the singles front, but went to State as a doubles tandem with Class of 2011 member Lindsay Jurcenko.

“(Lindsay) played with a lot of heart, and the other girls saw her play hard and took a cue from it,” Larsen said.

Napiorkowski is projected for a No. 1 doubles slot with Lindsay’s younger sister, Madi, a freshman.

“Madi is playing really well, and I think the time Amelia spent playing with Lindsay was fantastic for her and for us as a team. Amelia has really shown up to practice as a leader on the court,” Larsen said.

Limbrick, projected for double, brings experience and improvement in both singles and doubles matches.

“We’ve been scrambling to find any experience at all the last two season, and Madi brings a lot and she’s seen an awful lot. I’m looking forward to watching her play,” Larsen said.

In singles action, freshman Samantha Schrepferman and Angelica Emmanouil could make an impact.

Larsen knows its a long season ahead, but feels whatever combination goes out there, they’ll carry fighting spirit.

“Last year, whenever our girls would be down a set, it’s as if they played harder, and it’s about finding another gear when you think you might lose the match,” Larsen said.

The tennis campaign volleys on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in West Chicago against Wheaton Academy. NIB-12 play begins the following Tuesday against Sycamore.

Volleyball plans to build on 2010 with returning core

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.

Girls XC looks to better health for success

Photo: Abby Dodis looks to provide a spark with her talent for Kaneland girls cross-country. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s been ideal running weather in mid-August.

Good enough for KHS coach Doug Ecker and the Lady Knights cross-country team to take advantage of.

“So far we’ve been pretty healthy,” Ecker said. “They’ve worked real hard and done a lot of strengthening. Hopefully we’ll stay away from the injuries and sickness that has plagued some of these girls the last three years.”

With the exception of junior all-conference selection Ashley Castellanos’ stress fracture and junior Abby Dodis’ hip injury, the squad can make up for key departures.

“Abby is looking good so far, and Ashley is a competitor. When the time comes, they’ll be ready to race,” Ecker said.

Former State-qualifier Andie Strang and Kris Bowen depart for the university settings, and last-year’s 51st-best runner in Class 2A, Jen Howland, graduated early.

“Three of our top six runners were out at the end of the year, and we still managed to finish fourth in conference and sixth in Sectionals. When they’re healthy, they’re a pretty formidable group,” Ecker said.

Key returnees include Sydney Strang, a sophomore, who is hot off a productive track campaign in the spring, and recovered from injuries.

The Lady Knights will also be looking toward Maggie Brundige for exceptional times, as well.

Ecker also noted select freshmen who have looked like Lady Knight contributors.

“Victoria Clinton and Aislinn Ludwig have worked hard and are looking good right now,” Ecker said.

Clinton comes off of an exceptional middle school career and also the triathlon circuit.

The lone senior on the squad is returnee Carolina Tovar.

“Even though it seems like we lost a lot, we’ll be fine as far as experience goes,” Ecker said.

The 2011 campaign kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 30, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the first Northern Illinois Big XII taste happens a week later against the Yorkville Lady Foxes and East Aurora.

“Yorkville is the cream of the crop, Dixon is very talented and Geneseo is very good—all very good programs, and I think without the health issues we’ve faced we’ll do well,” Ecker said.