Kaneland coach Todd Weimer has been impressed with sophomore Ellie Dunn this season. Her play at the net, both offensively and defensively, has been stout, Weimer said. Dunn is one of the team’s leading hitters and blockers, tallying four blocks and seven kills in the Knights’ loss to Morris on Tuesday night.
She finished with 26 kills and 15 digs at the Bartlett Tournament last weekend, at which Kaneland finished second.
“She’s been a tremendous force and it’s nice to see those young kids play at a high level on varsity,” Weimer said.
Acing the competition
Burlington Central has been a force from the service line this year. The Rockets tallied 32 aces in last weekend’s DeKalb Tournament, led by libero Allie O’Reilly with 10. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Wiltsie had eight and senior outside hitter Lexie Bouza had seven. Senior defensive specialist Karrington Bell had four.
“Excellent serving and team defense helped [us] advance to the championship match,” Burlington coach Marv Leavitt said.
Best of the best
Anyone who pays attention to prep volleyball – in Illinois and nationally – knows West Aurora’s Lauren Carlini is special.
Turns out, she’s the best player in the nation.
Carlini recently earned top honors from prepvolleyball.com, which released the final installment of its annual “Senior Aces” list.
The popular website each year names the top 100 players in the country in 10 segments, and unveiled the top 10 earlier this week. Carlini sets and hits for West Aurora and has committed to Wisconsin.
In 2011, she set for the U.S. Youth National Team in Turkey and has been a decorated club player with Sports Performance.
Prepvolleyball.com also revealed the players that just missed the top 100 on the “Senior Aces” list. St. Charles East setter Erienne Barry, who is committed to Western Michigan, is listed as one of the top 150 players in the country.
– Maureen Lynch, email@example.com
In the Groove
Erienne Barry, St. Charles East, sr., s
What she did: Barry racked up 92 assists in last weekend’s Prairie Ridge Tournament. Her accuracy and leadership has been a big reason the Saints have turned the corner after an 0-4 start this season.
What the Vikings did: Vikings coach KC Johnsen has preached defense all season, and it’s paying off. The Vikings’ blocking on Tuesday in their win against Batavia was impressive, and their back row hunkered down to stop some of the Bulldogs’ biggest hitters from terminating when they were able to get around the block.
What we learned last week:
Good teams still tinker with their offense. St. Francis coach Peg Kopec is trying new lineups hoping to find the best fit for a team that didn't look like it could get much more aggressive. Subbing freely on Monday allowed Rosary to rally and take a game from the Spartans, but Kopec got a good look at what will and won't work during games. With the Spartans hosting Mother McAuley at 5 p.m. today, the Spartans might need all the options they can find. McAulley just pulled off a huge win against Marist, widely considered the best team in Illinois.
What we'll learn in the week ahead:
Wheaton Academy, Rosary and St. Charles North all started pool play in the Wheaton Classic, hosted by Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South, on Wednesday. We'll see how they fare in their respective pools in a field that includes perennial powers Benet, Hinsdale South, Prairie Ridge and Marist.
Coach Sly Sez
There are a few really good matchups this week, with McAuley at St. Francis today and Geneva at St. Charles North next Tuesday. Burlington Central takes on Big Northern Conference East rival Richmond-Burton next Tuesday, too, where Central will see one of the best outside hitters in the state in junior Ali Frantti.
It's still early in the season, but these three games could test each team's mettle and show what they're really made of.