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Sports

Girls Volleyball: Previewing Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Lyons, Morton, Nazareth, Riverside-Brookfield and Fenwick

Lyons' Patti Cesarini goes up for a kill against Glenbard West's Ananda Patterson (13) and Virginia Curtis (16) during an IHSA Class 4A regional final in La Grange Oct. 25.
Lyons' Patti Cesarini goes up for a kill against Glenbard West's Ananda Patterson (13) and Virginia Curtis (16) during an IHSA Class 4A regional final in La Grange Oct. 25.

The start of the high school girls volleyball season initiates the drive toward Normal for the Class 2A and 3A state finals in November. Here’s the outlook for Fenwick, Hinsdale Central, Lyons Township, Morton, Nazareth and Riverside-Brookfield as they start their quest for the glory.

FENWICK FRIARS

Coach: Kathleen O'Laughlin

2018 record: 20-6

Top players

Name year pos.

Beau Vanderlaan jr. MB

Elise Hennegan so. OH

Lauren Hall jr. MB

Outlook: Vanderlaan, a 6-foot-1 Northeastern recruit, leads the group of returning Friars from last year's team that took second in the GCAC White. "She will be a big presence for us at the net and is an attacking threat from the front and back court," O'Laughlin said. Hennegan and Hall are others back for Fenwick.

"We are a pretty young team that is adjusting to a new offense and some young talent in key positions," O'Laughlin said. "This is a very hard working group so I expect them to improve every day in practice and make big gains towards the middle of our season."

HINSDALE CENTRAL RED DEVILS

Coach: Tracey Marshall

2018 record: 16-18

Top players

Name year pos.

Brooke Cooper jr. OH

Maggie Huber sr. MH

Nikolette Nedic jr. OH

Natalie Newmann sr. DS/L

Lauren Ridgway sr. MH

Peyton Weber DS/L

Outlook: Marshall, in her second season, anticipates this team to look much different with six returners set to step in to lead. Ridgway, a DePauw recruit, is joined up front by outsides Cooper and Nedic from a junior class Marshall is expecting big things from. The Red Devils added Whitney Young to their schedule, and also joined the Nike Challenge at Mother McAuley. Hinsdale has individuals with power, but is missing solid six-rotation players that can hit and pass and a quarterback setter that can run a system with the loss of Lindsay Knutson.

"Filling in those gaps will be key in order for us to be successful long term in the season," Marshall said.

HINSDALE SOUTH HORNETS

Coach: Stephanie Brezwyn

2018 record: 17-20

Top players

Name year pos.

Kaitlyn Hurka sr. OH

Alayna Chavez sr. MH

Mia Lombardo sr. OH/RS

Samantha Pacentine sr. L

Sara Prueter so. OH

Aurora Korfist sr. S

Brigid Rudolph jr. S

Danielle Wayman sr. MH

Amelia Brennan jr. MH

Cheli Ayala fr. DS

Outlook: The Hornets have dropped down to Class 3A for this season, so Brezwyn excited for a potential deep run in the state tournament. Hinsdale should be prepared with a 4A-heavy schedule. Hurka, Chavez, Lombardo, Pacentine, Prueter and Korfist are all returning starters from a team that went 6-0 in the West Suburban Gold in 2018.

LYONS TOWNSHIP LIONS

Coach: Jill Keeve

2018 record: 21-14

Top players

Name year pos.

Grace Asleson sr. S

Patti Cesarini sr. OH

Lauren Kowalski sr. OH

Kate Mitchell sr. DS

Adrianna Vassek so. OH

Elise Vorpahl sr. MB

Outlook: Stetson recruit Asleson and Oakland commit Cesarini return from last year's regional champions. Keeve, in her second year as head coach, is pleased to have Asleson back to lead a fast-paced offense.

"This varsity team is a great mix of experienced varsity athletes and newcomers," Keeve said. "We are excited to see the group become a cohesive unit and finally start the playing in matches and tournaments. The varsity girls are ready to build on the successes of last season. Our experienced pin hitters are returning to establish the offense and defense. We have a great mix of returners and newcomers in the defensive and middle blockers' role."

MORTON MUSTANGS

Coach: Josh Scaletta

2018 record: 13-19

Top players

Name year pos.

Tanya De La Riva jr. OH

Delanecia Walker sr. MB

Gianna Arenella sr. S

Annette Zavala jr. MB

Zanya Azpilcueta jr. OH

Lisette Heredia jr. OPP

AJ Bungubung jr. OH

Esmerelda Sanchez jr. L

Outlook: The Mustangs return five starters, three of which are still only juniors from a team that advanced to a regional semifinal last year. De La Riva, all-conference as a sophomore, had 108 kills, 29 aces and 123 digs last year. Arenella had 348 assists. Morton should get a boost from several additions from last year's sophomore team that won 14 matches.

"We are a young team with a ton of talent and a very high volleyball IQ," Scaletta said.

NAZARETH ROADRUNNERS

Coach: Melissa Vandrey

2018 record: 31-5

Top players

Name year pos.

Leilani Dodson sr. MB

Ella Sandt sr. S

Katie Hurta so. S/OH

Gillian Grimes so. L

Izzy Decker jr. OH

Kitty Sandt fr. S

Ally Surowiec sr. OH

Danielle Wotycki sr. MB

Grace Lyons sr. MB

Lexi Degnan sr. S/DS

Natalie Milano sr. S/DS

Karla Rigan sr. RS

Outlook: The Roadrunners enjoyed a huge 16-win turnaround, and one of the best seasons in program history in 2018. And they could be just getting started. With six of seven starters back and an impact transfer, Nazareth should be one of the favorites in Class 3A. Leading the way is four-year starter and BYU recruit Dodson, one of the best middles in the country. Ella Sandt is a fourth-year starter committed to St. Mary's and one of the state's elite setters. Hurta, a transfer from Lyons and an Indiana recruit, is one of the top setters in the country in her age group and will also attack. Wotycki is another fourth-year starter, Lyons, Denan and Milano going into their second year.

“This group of girls has an opportunity to do something that no other Nazareth volleyball team has done, which is make a run at a state title," Vandrey said. "It will be tough, as there are some extremely talented programs in 3A this season, but they’re motivated and up for the challenge."

RIVERSIDE-BROOKFIELD BULLDOGS

Coach: Mary Pakosta

2018 record: 8-21

Top players

Name year pos.

Colette Barnes so. OH

Julia Brom sr. MB

Annalisa Cinkay jr. OH/MH

McKenna Sloan jr. L

Emeli Romo so. S

Maggie Walsh jr. S

Outlook: Pakosta, a 2004 Riverside-Brookfield graduate who was junior varsity coach for three seasons and freshman coach for six years, takes over her alma matre's program. In fact, R-B's entire coaching staff are alumni.

The Bulldogs bring back three returning offensive starters and their leading defender, and will look to five sophomores to be major contributors as they hope to be more competitive. Barnes received the second-most sets as a freshman. Brom, second on R-B in blocks last year, returns in the middle and could also play right side. Cinkay led the Bulldogs in blocks as a sophomore. Sloan was R-B's starting libero last year and Romo and Walsh will be looked to to run the offense.

"The Bulldogs are under new leadership this year and determined to improve upon last season and aim for a winning record," Pakosta said.

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