COLLEGE NOTES: Rizzo is Blue Demons’ top blocker

Natalie Rizzo (Glenbard East) started all 28 matches for the DePaul volleyball team last year and heads into her senior year looking for more. As a junior, Rizzo led the team with 94 blocks and also contributed 178 kills and 26 aces. Rizzo enters this season as one of six seniors on the team.

Braggin’ Rights runners

Former Glenbard East cross country teammates Lindsey Rakosnik and Maggie Angst find themselves on opposite sides of the Illinois-Missouri rivalry. Rakosnik broke into the starting lineup as a freshman for Illinois last fall. She was 88th at the Big Ten Championship meet and also ran in the NCAA Midwest Regional. Angst will be a redshirt sophomore this fall for Mizzou looking to get into the starting lineup.

Whitewater pipeline

There already were two Glenbard East grads on the Wisconsin Whitewater women’s soccer team: Erin Mrazek and Jessica Grumstrup. As freshmen, the pair helped the Warhawks win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with an 8-0 record and the team made the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Mrazek made 17 substitute appearances and scored a goal. Grumstrup played 19 times and made one start. Now, goalkeeper Veronica Fairbairn will join her former high school teammates at Whitewater. Fairbairn is Glenbard East’s career shutout leader.

On the men’s side, another former Ram, Kyle Ricely, will enter his sophomore year with the Warhawks. Last year as a freshman midfielder, Ricely made four appearances with one start and scored one goal.

Senior leader

Sean Little (Glenbard East) started all 17 matches for Beloit men’s soccer last year. Now, the senior defender enters the season as one of three seniors on the roster. The Buccaneers were picked fourth in the preseason coaches poll in the Midwest Conference.

Playmaking Eagle

After appearing in all 18 matches and starting in 17 last season, Briana Grenke (Glenbard East) will be hoping for big things this season with Benedictine women’s soccer. The forward/midfielder had four goals and three assists last season to finish second on the Eagles in points. As a senior this season, Grenke will hope to lift the Eagles to an improvement on last season’s five wins.

Climbing up the depth chart

Lawrence University junior wide receiver Tyler Lueck (Glenbard East) is looking to continue the improvement he showed last season. Lueck caught six passes for 27 yards as a sophomore to build on his three receptions for 17 yards as a freshman.

Pioneering Bulldog

Brendan Shannon (Montini, Lombard) will have a lot to build on this fall after producing a breakout season for Butler football last year. As a junior wide receiver he had team-highs in receptions (62), receiving yards (864) and touchdown receptions (eight). His accomplishments earned him both Academic All-Pioneer League Second Team and All-Pioneer League Second Team. Shannon, a redshirt senior, plays on the Bulldogs with fellow Montini grads Zach Taylor, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman from Clarendon Hills, and Matthew Kersten, a redshirt sophomore kicker from Naperville.