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Girls volleyball preview: Roadrunners on the rise

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 1:40 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:52 a.m. CST

LA GRANGE PARK – There is plenty of talent on the Nazareth girls volleyball team. While the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference won’t give the Roadrunners any breaks, Naz should be one of the top teams in Class 3A.

With three Division I commits on the roster, Nazareth could have the best team in program history. Sam Brown (Youngstown State), Julia Saunders (Wisconsin) and Linnea Roherson (Illinois) are the college recruits and will lead a team that is young on paper, but heavy on elite club experience.

Saunders, from La Grange Highlands, was the only underclassmen named all-conference in the ESCC last season and played club for the 1st Alliance 16 Silver team that finished sixth at U.S. Nationals this summer. Defensive specialist Riley Burchett was named all-tournament at nationals and will pair with Roherson to give the Roadrunners two talented defensive specialists. Sophomore setter Emma Decker, who is 6-foot-3, returns to run a 5-1 offense for Naz.

“We have the talent to be competitive throughout the season,” said coach Wayne Saunders. “There is a great deal of club experience and several Division I athletes.”

Nazareth Roadrunners at a glance

2012 record: 23-14 overall, 5-4 ESCC

Top returners: Sam Brown sr. OH Riley Burchett jr. DS Emma Decker so. S Linnea Roherson sr. DS Julia Saunders jr. OH

Promising newcomers: Tina Elstner jr. MB Maeve Grimes so. S Troi Sharpp so. OH

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