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Our Boys are in the limelight. Congratulations to the Lions
Jrs. Boys 14 team who captured gold in the Illinois Heat
tournament on 12/20.

Click Here to see their winning photos.


Jessica Brezwyn (Lions 15-1) was named New Comer of the Year by the Doings newspaper.
Brezwyn, as a Hinsdale South Freshman. had an immediate impact in her first varsity season
as the Hornet’s starting outside hitter. The 5-8 Brezwyn was second on the team with 159
kills and added 86 digs. Congrats Jessica!


Arielle Wilson and Laura DeBruler were named to the 2009 AVCA Division I First-Team All-
America Team. The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 29th annual
AVCA Division I All-America Teams for women's volleyball December 18, 2009, at the AVCA All-
America/Players of the Year Banquet presented by Zamst at the Tampa Convention Center in
Tampa, Fla.

Arielle Wilson, a 6-3 middle hitter for Penn state University, is a junior from Broadview,
Illinois. The First-Team All-Big Ten selection is ranked first in the nation in hitting
percentage, second for blocks per set, and is ranked among the top in the nation for points
per set and assists per set. Wilson is an AVCA All-American for the second consecutive year.

Laura DeBruler, a 5-11 outside hitter for the University of Illinois, is a junior from Downers
Grove, Ill. The All-Big Ten selection ranks among the top-15 in the nation for kills per set
and points per set, and is among the top leaders in the nation for hitting percentage.
DeBruler led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA Tournament with a 26-6 record . DeBruler is a two
time AVCA All-America recipient, the first time coming in 2008.

Click Here for more details.

Erin Potts Loses Battle With Cancer


We are sad to report that Lions Jrs and 1st Alliance player Erin Potts
lost her three year long battle with cancer yesterday afternoon, December
18th at the age of eighteen. Erin had played for Lions Jrs and 1st Alliance
from the time she was eight years old. As a fifteen year old, she played for
Lions Jrs. 15-1. Then, after making the First Alliance 16 Silver team as a setter,
she was diagnosed with malignant sarcoma (bone cancer). Well liked by her teammates because she
was always a positive influence, Erin went to high school at Lyons Township. Her immediate
family includes mom: Mary, father: Dave and siblings: Sara, Chris and Matt. Visitation and
services will be at Hallowell and James on Tuesday, the 22nd from 3-9. Mass will be at 10am on
Wednesday at St Cletus Catholic Church on 55th Street. Your thoughts and prayers are much
appreciated. Click Here for more details.

Erin started with Lions Jrs. as a little cub at the age of 3! While most 3 year olds are
out at the playground or running around at home with their brothers and sisters, Erin was
running around with a volleyball in her hand at her older sisters volleyball tournaments.
At a young age, she loved the sport often dressing up as a little lion to help support her
sister’s team. Erin was sweet, kind, and competitive even then.

As years past and her sister moved on to a higher level of volleyball, it was Erin’s turn
to play. Having been around the sport since she was 3, Erin always played above her age
group. As a third and fourth grader she played with the fifth grade. Erin was well-liked
and respected by her teammates and coaches for her extensive knowledge of the game and her
competitive nature.

As she continued with volleyball she was chosen as a setter because of her leadership skills,
athleticism, knowledge of the game, and big hands. Erin worked very hard in this position and
became an accomplished setter.

Working with Erin was a joy. She pushed her teammates, always gave 110%, and motivated her
team with laughter, smiles, and encouragement. When times got rough on the court, she pushed
harder. She was a competitor from day one and hated the thought of losing.

When Erin could no longer play the sport, her love for volleyball never diminished. She came
in the gym to work with her team and the setters as often as she could. Having been trained
as a setter for so many years, she had much insight to offer young setters. She worked them
hard and wanted them to be their best at all times. Her smile continued to inspire young
athletes and helped make them better players.

We will miss Erin around the gym, as she was such a positive inspiration to us all. Her smile,
laughter, competitive spirit, and insight will live on in the players, teammates, and coaches
she so deeply touched.


Congratulations to all of our alumni that have competed in their respective tournaments!

Division III


Wisconsin Whitewater:

St. Norbert College:


Stephanie Viane Catherine Guido Amanda Matusky  

Division II



Nova Southeastern:

West Florida:


Maggie Malone Jordan Pappas Lindsay Homme Stephanie Sagat
Lauren Billo Molly Sigerich   Colleen Mitros
      Nicole Maes



Olivet Nazarene (Ill.):

Terese Byrne      
Sara Byrne      



Simone Asque and Kelsey Murphy were named to the All
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Team.

Kelsey Murphy, a three-time selection is the only player in
ACC history to record 5,000 assists, 1,000 digs, and 400
blocks in a career. She guided the Tigers to three straight
NCAA Tournaments, the 2007 ACC Championship, and has
led Clemson to the top league hitting percentage in two of the past three seasons. This season,
she ranked third in the ACC in assists/set, but was first among all setters with 100 blocks.

Click Here for more about Kelsey's selection.

Sophomore Simone Asque, seen in the picture, was also named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference
Volleyball Team, as announced Thursday by the league office. The Chicago, Ill., native led the
Cavaliers with 416 kills this season and ranked third in the ACC, averaging 3.65 kills per set. She
earned back-to-back ACC Player of the Week honors following a two-week stint in which she
landed 87 kills (5.44 kps), including a career-high 29 in a five-set victory over Miami, to lead the
squad to three wins in four matches.

To read more about Simone's selection, Click Here.


Alums Laura DeBruler and Arielle Wilson were named 1st Team All Big Ten.

DeBruler was one of eight players who were unanimous selections as voted by the coaches.
She earned Second All-America last year and this year is hitting .301 with a team-best 458 kills.
She ranks second in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation in kills (4.49 kps) and second in the
conference and 17th nationally in points (4.98 pps). DeBruler was named to four All-Tournament
teams in 2009, earning MVP honors at the Bluejay Invitational and State Farm Illini Classic. She was
also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week honoree. DeBruler set Illinois' all-time record for 20-kill
matches with her 30th of her career after tallying 21 kills at Michigan State on Oct. 2. She now has
32 for her career.

Click Here to read more.

Wilson earned her second conference honor after also being named to the First Team in 2008.
A three-time Big Ten Player of the Week, she leads the team, Big Ten and the nation with a .553
hitting percentage. Wilson has at least five kills in 30 of Penn State's 32 matches this season with
double-digit kills in 12. Heading into the postseason, the junior ranks third on the team with 287 kills
(2.75 kills per set) and leads the squad with 157 total blocks. Her 1.55 blocks per set is a team-best
and ranks second in the league. An AVCA Second Team All-American in 2008, Wilson hit a
career-high and Penn State rally-scoring era record .929 with 13 kills on 14 errorless swings in
a three-set victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) earlier this season.

Click Here
for more on Wilson's selection.


Congratulations to our players who have made the 2009 West Suburban Conference team.

Sarah McCarthy, Willowbrook Lauren Zernate, York
Michelle Walaszek, Downers Grove South Caroline Rose, York
Syliva Burr, Downers Grove South Britta Baarstad, Downers Grove North
Jamie Lundstrom, Lyons Township Samantha Marek, Diowners Grove North
Jocelynn Birks, Lyons Township Jillian Briner, Oak Park River Forest
Alexis Viliunas, Lyons Township Tori Clifford, Glenbard West
Laura Williams, Lyons Township  


The first conditioning practice for all 14 and up Lions and 1st
Alliance players took place at LT Sunday night. The players
had a fun, yet intense kick boxing workout.

Click Here to see some video of the action.


Good luck and congratulations to all our alums that are competing in the NCAA Division I tournament
that starts this weekend:

Arielle Wilson: Penn State Jessica Ullrich: Penn State
Michelle McDonough: Binghamton Chelsy Christoff: Dayton
Laura DeBruler: Illinois Abby Nelson: Illinois
Carli Weiler: Michigan State Meghan Keck: Assistant Coach at Ohio University


Claire Reeder of Grinnell College has been named the 2009 Midwest Conference Volleyball Player
of the Year.

Reeder, a 6-foot middle hitter from La Grange Park, Ill. (Lyons Township), was second in the league
in kills per set with 3.56 and fourth in hitting percentage at .275 while also averaging 0.39 blocks.
She was named to the all-tournament team at all five tourneys in which the Pioneers competed in
2009, and also twice earned MWC Performer of the Week Accolades.

Click Here for more.


Alum Stephanie Sagat was named a Second Team All American in NCAA Division II Volleyball
while former 1st Alliance players Maggie Malone and Lauren Billo received Honorable Mention.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce the 29th annual
AVCA All-America teams for NCAA Division II women's volleyball. Many new faces dot the AVCA
All-America teams in 2009, with 32 athletes being honored for the first time including 1st Alliance
alumnae Stephanie Sagat.

Stephanie Sagat, a 5-9 outside hitter for Lewis University, is a senior from Darien, Ill. The Great
Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year led the Flyers to a school record setting season with
27 straight wins and a perfect 14-0 mark in conference play. Sagat is earning AVCA All-America
honors for the first time.

Click Here for the full story.


2009 Argus Press Girls All-Area Team includes many 1st Alliance | Lions players. They are:

Elise Biesboer Sarah McCarthy Caroline Rose
Lauren Zerante    

Honorable Mention:

Morgan Howard Katie Gallagher Emily Iverson
Morgan Semmelhack    

Click Here for the full story.


Jenna Duddleston Wins GCAC White Volleyball Player of the Year. Click Here for the full story.


The Argus Press Speculator named Lauren Zerante to head its
all-area team. Zerante was the York Dukes’ most dynamic
weapon this season, and was the catalyst for a team that
won 26 of its final 30 matches. She finished the year with 312
kills and 280 digs, and also had 33 blocks and 32 aces. Zerante
will play at Bradley next season.Click Here for the full story.

Picture from Bittinger


The Suburban Life has named Jocelynn Birks as their All
Area Most Valuable Player. She helped take her Lyons
Township team downstate to play in the state finals with 358
kills, and also had 84 digs, 40 solo blocks and 28 aces.
Click Here for the full story.


The Daily Herald announced their All-Area Team and 1st Alliance grabs 5 spots. They are:

Britta Baarstad Brianne Riley Caroline Rose
Sidney Sauter Lauren Zerante  

Click Here for the full story.


Michelle McDonough, a 1st Alliance Alum, helps Binghamton earn automatic berth to NCAA Division
I Tourney. Click Here for the full story.


1st Alliance claimed four out of the six spots on the Chicago Tribune All-State First Team. In
addition, five other 1st Alliance players were singled out by the Tribune for All-State Special
Mention. They are:

First Team All-State
Chicago Tribune


Special Mention All-State
Chicago Tribune

Annemarie Hickey   Britta Baarstad
 MaryKate Imrie   Jenny Buczek
 Jocelynn Birks    Courtney Keefe
Brianne Riley   Alexis Viliunas
    Laura Williams

Click Here for the full story.


Jill Mitchell (Western Michigan), 1st Alliance Alum, was named MAC setter of the year. Click Here
for the full story.


Annemarie Hickey was named by the News-Gazette as Player of the Year. Click Here for the
full story.


The News-Gazette named many 1st Alliance players to their all-state teams:

First Team

Second Team

Special Mention

Honorable Mention

Annemarie Hickey Brianne Riley Gillian Asque Jenna Duddleston
Jocelynn Birks Alexis Viliunas  Britta Baarstad Lexi Finger
MaryKate Imrie   Courtney Keefe Jamie Lundstrom
    Jill Paluch Morgan Mientus
      Caroline Niedospial
      Dana Raber
      Lauren Zerante

Click Here for the full story.


Annemarie Hickey was named by the Chicago Tribune as their Illinois Volleyball Player of the
Year. Click Here for the full story.


Kelsey Safranek (UIC), 1st Alliance alum, was named to the 2009 Horizon League All-Newcomer
Team. Click Here for the story. Click Here for pictures of team selections.

Alum Caitlyn Ballweber, now at Florida Tech, was named to the 2009 Sunshine State Conference
All-Freshman Team. Click Here for the story.

Ali Deatsch, another 1st Alliance alum, now at Elon, was named to the 2009 Southern Conference
All-Freshman Team. Click Here to read about her selection.

Six 1st Alliance|Lions players highlight this year’s ACVA Under Armour Girls All-American High
School Watch List. Lexi Finger, Annemarie Hickey, Mary Kate Imrie, Paige Kruse, Sidney
and Sarah Scott were included on the 2009-10 listing. This listing is the initial stage for
selecting 48 student-athletes as Under Armour All-Americans, with 24 players being selected to
both a First-Team and Second-Team. Each of the 24 players on the First-Team will be invited to
play in the Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match & Skills Competition. The event will be held
at the St. Pete Times Forum, December 20 in Tampa, Fla., in conjunction with the 2009 AVCA
Annual Convention. Team selection will take place soon. Click Here for information on this program.
Click Here to see the watch list.


The Chalet Fitness Center opened its new courts in style as the site for our Lions Jrs Fall Youth
League season ending tournament. Click Here for the full story.


Alum Maggie Malone enjoyed an incredible Sunday for the Wingate Bulldogs. Click Here for the
full story.


The 2009 SouthtownStar All-Area Girls Volleyball Team includes many 1st Alliance players:

MaryKate Imrie, Sr (Player of the Year)   Jenny Buczek, Jr
Ashley Holder, Soph   Courtney Keefe, Jr
Caroline Niedospial, Jr   Bridget Powell, Soph
Dana Rabar, Sr   Vicki Wrobel, Jr

Click Here to see the article.


More 1st Alliance alums join the 2009 All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference team. Both
Sara Byrne and Terese Byrne received CCAC All-Conference Honors this season. Their team,
Olivet Nazarene (33-8, 10-0 CCAC and ranked 12th nationally in the NAIA) netted its fifth straight
conference tournament crown and earned its fourth straight bid to the NAIA national tournament.
Click Here for the full story.


Congratulations to our players that have been selected to the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference,
East Suburban Catholic Conference and Southwest Suburban Conference.




Brianne Riley, Benet, Senior   MaryKate Imrie, Sandburg, Senior
Annemarie Hickey, Joliet Catholic, Senior   Lanie Muys, Sandburg, Senior
Ashley Holder, Marist, Sophomore   Jenny Buczek, Sandburg, Junior
Caroline Niedospial, Marist, Junior   Lexi Finger, Lockport, Senior
Lauren Zielinski, Marist, Sophomore   Connor Callozzo, Lockport, Senior
Jen Milligan, Nazareth, Senior    
Jill Paluch, Nazareth, Senior  


    Jessica Falk, Mother McAuley, Senior
Conference Player of the Year Annemarie Hickey, JCA   Bridget Powell, Mother McAuley, Sophomore
    Maddie Greybar, St. Ignatius, Junior


  Sophia Dodd, St. Ignatius, Freshman
Jenna Deddleston, DeLaSalle, Junior   Morgan Mientus, St. Ignatius, Senior
    Paige Kruse, St. Ignatius, Senior


1st Alliance's MaryKate Imrie was named 2009 SouthtownStar Player of the Year for her play
and leadership as a member of the Sandburg Varsity. Click Here for the story. Also, a number
of 1st Alliance players were named to the Southtown All Area Team:
   MaryKate Imrie, Sr (Player of the Year)
   Jenny Buczek, Jr
   Ashley Holder, Soph
   Courtney Keefe, Jr
   Caroline Niedospial, Jr
   Bridget Powell, Soph
   Dana Rabar, Sr
   Vicki Wrobel, Jr

Click Here for the complete Southtown All Area Team.


Alums Kim Scudder and Kayla Mullaney earn 2009 All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic
Conference honors. Click Here for the full story.


Annemarie Hickey was named Player of the Year, and together with other 1st Alliance players
Brianne Riley and MaryKate Imrie, recognized as Sun Times All Area first team players.
Click Here to read the story.

1st Alliance had a major footprint throughout the Sun Times All Area team. 1st Alliance Players
named to their All Area Team were:
First Team
   Annemarie Hickey, 5-8, Sr., OH, Joliet Catholic
   MaryKate Imrie, 5-10, Sr., S, Sandburg
   Brianne Riley, 5-7, Sr., L, Benet

Second Team
   Britta Baarstad, 6-0, Sr., OH, Downers Grove North
   Jocelynn Birks, 6-2, Jr., OH, Lyons
   Alexis Viliunas, 6-0, So., S/OH, Lyons

Special Mention
   Gillian Asque, Young
   Courtney Keefe, Lemont
   Morgan Mientus, St. Ignatius
   Caroline Niedospial, Marist
   Jill Paluch, Nazareth
   Lauren Zerante, York

Click Here
for the full all area team listings.


Alum Laura DeBruler earned her second Player of the Week accolade this year. Click Here for the
full story.


Please download and fill out the Junior Player Membership Packet and bring with you to
the parent meeting on Sunday 11/15.Click Here for the Packet.


Please download and fill out the Coaches Packet and bring with you to the coach’s
meeting on Sunday 11/22.Click Here for the Coaches Packet


10s and 11s sign-ups will be at the Chalet (8300 Wolf Rd Willow Spgs, IL 60480) Sunday 11.8.09
at 6:30pm. This is a correction to the newsletter location.


Lions Jrs. Fall League is hosting 600+ fall leaguers in tournament play on Saturday and Sunday,
11/7 & 11/8. The newly renovated Pleasantdale Park District Chalet is opening its doors this
weekend in a grand style by hosting 600+ fall leaguers in tournament play on Saturday and
Sunday, 11/7 & 11/8. Players from grades 1-8 will compete for the crown of champion in each
division. The tournament will cap off with a “STARS” game on Sunday evening at 6pm. Good
luck to all teams! Anyone is welcome to come and cheer on their favorite team and player.
Click here
for brackets and more.

Virginia Outside Hitter Simone Asque was named ACC Volleyball Player of the Week.
Click here for the story.

Desiree Aramburu of Radford was tabbed The Crons Brand Freshman of the Week. Click here
for the story.

Wingate's Lauren Billo named SAC Player of the Week for the second straight week.
Click here for the story.


Our 1st Alliance Alumni are racking up awards left and right in the college realm!

Rachel Urbelis (1st Alliance Alum) Racks up A-Sun Player of the Week Click here for the story.

Stephanie Sagat broke the Lewis career kill record. Click here for the story.

Caitlin Strimel, Western Michigan named MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week.
Click here for the story.

Wingate's Lauren Billo named SAC Player of the Week. Click here for the story.


Jill Mitchell and Katie Eberling are racking up more honors for 1st Alliance Alums. Click here
for the story.


1st Alliance alumnae Arielle Wilson at it again…Click here for her feature story on being the
Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

Jaime Gotham, also an alum, was named MAC defensive player of the week... Click here for
the entire story.


Freshman outside hitter Jenna Litoborski (1st Alliance Alumni) was named to the all-tournament
team and earned her second A-10 Rookie of the Week honors after averaging 3.8 kills and 2.1
digs per set while hitting .329 on the weekend. Click here for the entire story.


Lions Jrs. Youth Volleyball Fall league play begins this weekend! Click here for the Youth
League website and schedules.


1st Alliance Alum Arielle Wilson, now at national champion Penn State, leads the nation in
Hitting Percentage with 91 kills in 143 attacks for a .580 mark. Click here for more details.


Alumni Michelle McDonough receives America East Player of the Week honors. Click here for
the story.


Radford Highlanders Win Thriller to Sweep RU Tournament as 1st Alliance alum Aramburu Voted
MVP and Alise Tupuritis (Bradley) was named All-Tournament. Click here for the story.


1st Alliance alum Kelsey Murphy, now at Clemson, was tabbed ACC Volleyball Player of the Week.
Click here for the story.


Hickey Gets ESPN RISE Coverage
"Annemarie is simply Illinois' best volleyball
player. " according to ESPN RISE, a maga-
zine celebrating the high school athlete.
ESPN RISE also notes that as a junior last
year, the Wisconsin- bound star earned
All-State honors while leading her high school
team to a 39-3 record and a state title.

Picture by Ross Dettman for ESPNRISE.
Cick here
to read the entire article.


IMPORTANT Tryout Information for Lions Jrs. and Fearless
Lions Jrs. Girls 13 & Under, 14 & Under Tryout dates are September 12th.
Fearless Girls 12 & Under, 13 & Under, 14 & Under Tryout dates are September 13th.

Click here or on the "Tryout Information" button for detailed information. Click here to register.


The Sun Times Top 50 girls volleyball players have been announced and 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs.
has a big footprint in the list (1st Alliance and Lions Jrs. players listed in bold):

Lindsay Anderson, 6-1, sr., MH, Crystal Lake Central; Gillian Asque, 5-10, sr., OH, Young; Kylee
Baker, 6-0, sr., OH, Plainfield North; Taylor Brauneis, 5-11, sr., S, Prairie Ridge; Colleen Brennan,
5-10, sr., S, Glenbrook South; Ellen Chapman, 6-5, jr., MH, Glenbrook South; Julia Conard, 5-10, so.
OH, West Chicago; Danielle Donohue, 5-6, sr., L, Lockport ; Jessica Falk, 5-9, sr., OH, Mother
McAuley (1st Alliance)
; Natalie Fiore, 5-11, jr., S, Oak Forest Ellen Fordon, 6-2, sr., OH, Lincoln-
Way East; Jessica Galotta, 5-10, sr., OH, Mother McAuley; Alexandra Gossen, 6-0, sr., OH,
Evanston; Emily Harris, 6-0, sr., OH, Barrington; Annemarie Hickey, 5-8, sr., OH, Joliet Catholic
(1st Alliance)
; Stephanie Holthus, 6-0, sr., OH, Burlington Central; Mary Kate Imrie, 5-9, sr., S,
Sandburg (1st Alliance)
; Courtney Keefe, 5-11, jr., OH, Lemont (1st Alliance); Kelly Lamberti,
6-0, jr., OH, Cary-Grove; Katie Lill, 5-10, sr., OH, Hersey Storm Melnick, 5-5, sr., L, McHenry;
Morgan Mientus, 5-11, sr., OH, St. Ignatius; Lanie Muys, 6-1, sr., MB, Sandburg (1st Alliance) ;
Caroline Niedospial, 5-8, jr., L, Marist (1st Alliance); Caroline Niski, 5-10, sr., OH, St. Charles
East; Meghan Niski, 5-10, so., OH, St. Charles East; Jill Paluch, 5-5, sr., S, Nazareth (1st Alliance);
Michelle Parsinen, 6-2, sr., MH, Mundelein; Kelsey Robinson, 6-1, sr., OH, St. Francis; Caroline
Rose, 5-7, so., OH, York (Lions Jrs.)

Carly Sahagian, 6-0, sr., OH, Bartlett; Sarah Scott, 6-0, sr., OH, Plainfield North (1st Alliance);
Jacqui Seidel, 5-11, sr., S, St. Charles East; Breanne Shaw, 5-9, sr., OH, Joliet; Sam Skryd, 5-11,
sr., S, Neuqua Valley; Colleen Smith, 5-11, jr., S/OH, Cary- Grove; Monika Stanciauskas, 6-1, sr.,
MH, Wheaton Warrenville South; Taylor Stanfel, 6-1, sr., MH, Deerfield; Martha Stewart, 5-10, jr.,
OH, Waubonsie Valley; Maggie Struss, 5-11, sr., OH, Stagg Courtney Thomas, 6-0, sr., OH, DeKalb;
Alex Viliunas, 6-1, so., S, Lyons (Lions Jrs.); Meg Vonderhaar, 6-0, jr., OG, St. Francis;
Alyssa Warren, 5-9, sr., OH, Joliet Catholic; Amy Wehrs, 5-10, sr., OH, Hampshire; Kara Wehrs,
5-11, sr., S, Hampshire; Lauren Wicinski, 5-11, sr., OH, Geneva; Laura Williams, 5-10, so., OH,
Lyons (Lions Jrs.)
; Audrey Wilson, 5-11, sr., OH, Naperville North; Lauren Zerante, 5-11, sr.,
OH, York (1st Alliance)


Kelsey Murphy and Simone Asque, two standout 1st Alliance alumnae, are among the list of
eighteen players named to the 2009 Preseason All-ACC Volleyball Team. Click here for more.


1st Alliance/Lions Jrs/Fearless
Volleyball Monster

"It's a volleyball monster." says a Chicago
Tribune Trib Local article recently posted.
The article goes on to say " The LaGrange-
based club trio of 1st Alliance, Lions Jrs.
and Fearless has covered the Chicago
suburbs like a huge blanket, providing are
high schools and colleges some
outstanding athletes over the years. When
all the travel and tournaments were done
this summer, ranked
the 1st Alliance/Lions Jrs. in the top 20 for
each age group (15 through 18) nationally."

Cick here to read the entire article.


Laura DeBruler and Arielle Wilson, two standout 1st Alliance alumnae, are among the list of
fourteen players named to the 2009 Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team is out. Click here
for more.


Boys Tryouts Dates:
13/14/15/16 Boys Tuesday 9/8/09
17/18 Boys, Wednesday 9/9/09

Times and specifics to be posted soon!


The final National Rankings are out for ages 15 thru 18 and 1st Alliance/Lions Jrs
are among those listed at the top of each age group. In the 18 year old age group, our 18 Silver
team was ranked 18th while our 18 Black team received an Honorable Mention. For the 17s, our
17 Silver team ended up 9th with 17 Black getting an Honorable Mention. 1st Alliance 16 Silver
ended up ranked 12th in the 16 year old age group while Lions 15-1s were 11th and 15 Red earned
an Honorable mention.

Final 2009 National 18s Club Rankings
#18 1st Alliance 18 Silver Alliance and Tigers and Bears Oh My (Illinois) Pre-season
ranking: 15 Alliance Silver will remember this as a season of many, many highs, including a
third-place finish at AAUs and some big JVDA wins. But you’ll forgive team members if, on
occasion, they shake their fists at the sky, yelling “Black!” after their second team derailed their
chances to contend for a JVDA national championship with a stunning five-set effort in the first
round of the Gold bracket.

Honorable Mention
1st Alliance Black

Final 2009 National 17s Club Rankings
#9 1st Alliance 17 Silver First Alliance Airlines
Pre-season ranking: 26
Led by Jill Paluch, Lauren Zerante and Annemarie Hickey, Alliance gets the No. 9 spot in these
rankings by virtue of a win over Club Fusion and a second-place finish at the JVDA championships.
Fusion had dominated M1 in the finals of the Classic earlier in the spring, else
M1 would have nabbed this spot as a result of its Gold finish at JOs. Yes, I know that MAVA beat
Alliance at Central Zones, but M1 beat MAVA twice at MEQ. Like I said under the Sunshine blurb,
these teams are virtually interchangeable.

Honorable Mention
1st Alliance Black

Final 16s National Rankings
#12 1st Alliance 16 Silver
1st Alliance Adental Contact
Pre-season ranking: High HM
Alliance couldn’t beat Sky High or Sports Performance this year, but was stellar against everyone
else, including a 2-0 mark versus KiVA. This Alliance team got off to a dreadfully slow start, which
included an embarrassing effort in Omaha in February. But with the emergence of Jocelynn Birks,
Alliance began to take off and never stopped flying, finishing T-3 at AAUs and T-5 at the JVDA

Final 15s National Rankings
#11 Lions 15-1
Lions Pride
Pre-season ranking: 1
Lions lost only twice between the AAU Nationals and JVDA championships, but those defeats,
coupled with some inconsistent play late in the season caused in part by injuries, drops our
pre-season No. 1 team 10 spots in the final accounting.

Honorable Mention
Lions Red

We are very proud of ALL our teams and the great success they had in 2009. Nice going girls.


Coach of the Year Melissa Cox
Melissa Cox has been named coach of
the year for the 2008-09 season. Melissa
exemplifies what a great coach is. She
is always the first one in the gym working
extra with her players and the last one on
the court as she tries to get those extra
reps in that may make a difference in the
team's development. Melissa expects
great things from her players and demands
that they always give their best effort.
She cares about her player's emotional and
physical development and maintains great friendships with her players for many years after she
has coached them. Melissa coached Lions 15-1's this season and has coached Lions and 1st
Alliance setters for the past seven seasons. Melissa earned her sixth straight medal at the JVDA
Nationals this season in Louisville.


The 1st Alliance Evaluation Camp schedule has been updated. Click here for the details.


Our alumni are at it again. Click here to see full details on Kristin Hoffman being selected from
a group of over 100 players to play in Pula, Croatia


Fall tryout information will be posted in August. Please check back later for more details.


Congratulations to 1st Alliance 17 Black
- crowned JVDA 17 Club National
Champions yesterday in Louisville.

Congratulations also to a number of other
teams and individuals that came home from
Louisville with honors.

Earning All-Tournament honors were Alexis
and Morgan Semmelhack of
Lions 15-1; MaryKate Imrie (MVP), Jessica
Katie Bazzoni and Jamie Lundstrom of 1st Alliance 17 Black; and Jill Paluch, Annemarie
and Lauren Zerante of 1st Alliance 17 Silver.

Teams recognized include:

Lions 13-1: 3rd Place 13 Open
1st Alliance 16 Silver: 5th Place 16 Open
Lions 14 Red: 7th Place 14 Club
1st Alliance 17 Black: 1st Place 17 Club
Lions 14-1: 7th Place 14 Open
1st Alliance 17 Silver: 2nd Place 17 Open
Lions 15-1: 3rd Place 15 Open
1st Alliance 18 Black: 5th Place 18 Open


1st Alliance 17 Silver played the match of their lives against Fusion 17 Black to win a trip to
the JVDA finals. Then, before a huge crowd, lost in four to KIVA 17 Red. The JVDA Championships
wrap up Tuesday with many 1st Alliance and Lions Jrs teams in the running for gold.

A crowd five deep gathered around Court 58 mid-afternoon as two of the highly seeded teams
played for a trip to the Championship: 1st Alliance 17 Silver and Fusion 17 Black. Fusion
took the first set 25-23, but 17 Silver fought back to take the next two sets by the identical
score of 25-16. The fourth set went back and fourth, two worthy contenders in an exciting
battle. In the end, 17 Silver put on a spurt to win 25-23.

This set the stage for a showdown with KIVA 17 Red. The setting was Freedom Hall and the
lower deck was packed. 17 Silver got off to a quick start, but KIVA got in sync and was seldom
out of system as they got off to a 25-17 first set win. Set two was more of the same and
was won by KIVA 25-16. Then 17 Silver got things going and won set three 25-16. In the
final set however, KIVA was impossible to stop and they cruized to a 25-14 win.

Congratulations to our 17 Silver team for a great season, capped by second place in the
JVDA National Championship.


1st Alliance 17 Silver played the match of their lives against Fusion 17 Black to win a trip to
the JVDA finals. Then, before a huge crowd, lost in four to KIVA 17 Red. The JVDA Championships
wrap up Tuesday with many 1st Alliance and Lions Jrs teams in the running for gold.

A crowd five deep gathered around Court 58 mid-afternoon as two of the highly seeded teams
played for a trip to the Championship: 1st Alliance 17 Silver and Fusion 17 Black. Fusion
took the first set 25-23, but 17 Silver fought back to take the next two sets by the identical
score of 25-16. The fourth set went back and fourth, two worthy contenders in an exciting
battle. In the end, 17 Silver put on a spurt to win 25-23.

This set the stage for a showdown with KIVA 17 Red. The setting was Freedom Hall and the
lower deck was packed. 17 Silver got off to a quick start, but KIVA got in sync and was seldom
out of system as they got off to a 25-17 first set win. Set two was more of the same and
was won by KIVA 25-16. Then 17 Silver got things going and won set three 25-16. In the
final set however, KIVA was impossible to stop and they cruized to a 25-14 win.

Congratulations to our 17 Silver team for a great season, capped by second place in the
JVDA National Championship.


A number of First Alliance and Lions Jrs teams continue to be in the running for gold at
the 2009 JVDA Championships. After the second day of JVDA Championship play in
Louisville, Lions 15-1s, 1st Alliance 16 Silver and 1st Alliance 17 Silver continue to be
undefeated in the Open Division. In one of many highlights, Lions 15-1s roared to a dramatic
third set victory over Sky High 16 Black, scoring the last six points after trailing 10-14.
Undefeated in the Club Division are Lions 15 White, Lions 17s and 1st Alliance 17 Black.
Click here for the JVDA Championship website. Click here for schedules and results.
Here are the records of 1st Alliance, Lions Jrs and Fearless teams after Sunday's matches.
Open Division

  • Lions Jrs 13-1: 2-3
  • Lions Jrs 14-1: 4-2
  • Lions Jrs 15-1: 6-0
  • Lions Jrs 15 Red: 1-5
  • Lions Jrs 16-1: 2-2
  • Lions Jrs 16 Red: 1-1
  • 1st Alliance 16 Silver: 4-0
  • 1st Alliance 17 Silver: 5-0
  • 1st Alliance 18 Black: 3-3
  • 1st Alliance 18 Silver: 3-3

Club Division

  • Fearless 13's: 1-5
  • Fearless 14's: 4-2
  • Lions Jrs 14 Red: 5-1
  • Lions Jrs 15 White: 6-0
  • Lions Jrs 16 White: 3-3
  • Lions Jrs 17s: 6-0
  • 1st Alliance 17 Black: 6-0
  • 1st Alliance 18 Red: 2-2
  • 1st Alliance 18 White: 3-1


Congratulations to Lions 14-1's and Lions 14 Red for winning the Asics tourney at Navy Pier.
14-1's went undefeated in the 15 & under division and 14 Red went undefeated in the 14's.
Lions 12 Red received the 3rd place medal after losing to Cleveland 12's. Fearless 12's defeated
Cleveland for the championship finishing off a perfect season against all 12 & under opponents.


1st Alliance/ Lions Jrs. teams and players collected honors at the 2009 AAU Girls' Junior National
Volleyball Championships. Finishes:

  • Lions 15-1 5th place
  • 1st Alliance 16 Silver 3rd place
  • 1st Alliance 17 Silver 5th place
  • 1st Alliance 18 Silver 3rd place

All-American honors:

  • Alexis Vilinus Lions 15-1
  • Jocelynn Birks 16 Silver
  • Caroline Niedospial 16 Silver
  • Jill Paluch 17 Silver
  • Margy Acton 18 Silver
  • Courtney Cunningham 18 Silver

Good luck to all our teams in Louisville!


1st Alliance/ Lions Jrs. teams and players collected honors at the prestigious National

Junior Classic tournament this past weekend.

1st Alliance

  • 18 Silver 6th place
  • 1st Alliance 17 Silver 2nd place
  • 1st Alliance 16 Silver 3rd place
  • Lions 15-1 2nd place

Tournament Awards

  • Jill Paluch Best Setter (17’s division)
  • Caroline Niedospial Best Libero (16’s division)
  • Alexis Vilinus Best Setter (15’s division)
  • Megan Miller Best Libero (15’s division)


The 2nd Inaugural 1st Alliance/Lions Jrs. Potluck Scrimmage took place this past Sunday with
team and individual competitions being held. Congratulations to the following players who won
their respective contests:

  • Best Serve – Dana Rabar (1st Alliance 17 Black)
  • Best Attack – Jocelynn Birks (1st Alliance 16 Silver)
  • Best Set - Desiree Aramburo (1st Alliance 18 Silver)
  • Best Dig – Alli Garnder (1st Alliance 18 White)
  • Highest Approach Jump - Courtney Cunningham 10 feet 1.5 inches (1st Alliance 18 Silver)
  • Highest Vertical Leap - Jill Paluch 30 inches (1st Alliance 17 Silver)
  • Round robin tourney winner – 1st Alliance 18 Black


More 1st Alliance and Lions players have been honored on as "Defensive
Dandies". In Part II of recognizing defensive specialists, which calls "Dandy
Lions," three of our players are mentioned. According to, the players on this
list are" all-around high school or club talents who project as back row animals at the next level."

Second Team:
Annemarie Hickey, Jr., Joliet Catholic (Joliet IL) – It’s almost a shame to see her on this list
because it means she’s projected to be a back row player at Wisconsin in 2010. While we have
no doubt that Hickey will thrive in that role, her unbelievable attacking prowess, which was the
principal reason JCA won an Illinois state title in 2008, will be missed. The skill set that makes
Hickey a great hitter also serves her well in the back row. She is competitive, strong, aggressive
and intense. “She will go through a wall to get the ball,” said club coach Beth Keck. “She will knock
over a player, spectator, anyone who gets in the way of her and the ball. Last year at JVDA
Nationals our team was up big in a match. We shanked a ball going clear off the court out of bounds
and Annemarie knocked over a 6 year old boy, slipped on an ill-placed ball bag and still got the ball up
but was called off the court. She came up limping and embarrassed over knocking over the boy, but
got right back into the match for the next play.”

Third Team:
Courtney Gosewisch, Sr., Downers Grove South (Downers Grove IL) -- A skilled athlete who
also excels in track and field, Gosewisch was All Area as a high school attacker in 2008, but will
play DS at Purdue. "Courtney is a very dynamic, very tough athlete," said Purdue coach Dave
Shondell said. "She has been an outside hitter throughout her career which I think will benefit her
as a defensive specialist when she comes here. She is quick, a great floor leader, plays hard, and
has the toughness and competitiveness that we are looking for.”

Special Mention:
Laura Williams, Fr., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL) – Possessing excellent quickness and
reaction time, Williams was a starter at outside hitter for Lyons and also is a standout attacker for
Lions 15-1, but her college position may be libero, where her desire to get every ball and keep it live
for her team is exemplary.


1st Alliance and Lions defensive standouts have been honored on as
they named their 2009 Defensive Dandies. In part I, focuses in on "Gym
Dandies", full time back row players, both high school and club, who work their butts off
during practice and play to help the team at all costs. 1st Alliance and Lions players honored
are as follows:

Third Team:
Ali Deatsch, Sr., York (Elmhurst IL), 1st Alliance 18 Black – Patty Iverson said that
Deatsch, who will attend Elon on scholarship in the fall, is the best player she has coached
at York during her tenure. “She is dedicated, skilled, strong, fearless, and a wonderful, positive
leader,” Iverson said. Deatsch, who sports a nifty 4.5 GPA, amassed almost 900 digs in her
final two years at York and, last fall, was named Special Mention All State by the Champaign

Fifth Team:
Caroline Niedospial, Soph., Marist (Chicago IL), 1st Alliance 16 Silver – Marist
coach Natalie Holder predicted that Niedospial, whose nickname is “Carks,” will graduate as
the best libero in school history. One of only two sophomores on an 18-player varsity squad,
Niedospial was voted team MVP by her peers after passing a 2.5 against a brutal schedule.
Club coach Beth Keck described Carks as a “true south side volleyball player.” In other words,
hard working, blue collar and fearless. “She is bruised up from head to toe, sacrificing her body
for the ball,” said Keck. “She is lightning fast and has the ability to dig the rifle attack down the
line as well as run any tip or roll shot down. She makes highlight reel type plays over and over
in matches. She is what Dickie V would call a ‘Ms. Pac Man’ player, one who eats you alive on

Honorable Mention:
Jamie Lundstrom
, Jr., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL), 1st Alliance 17
Black – Lundstrom’s athleticism and aggressiveness on the volleyball court make her an important
piece of everything Lyons does. Her teammates rely on her perfect passing and also her
willingness to hit the floor for any ball that comes her way. She has accumulated 43 aces over
her two year varsity career thus far as well as 42 kills and 510 digs. Lundstrom was named to the
All-Conference team in 2008.

Megan Miller, Fr., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL), Lions 15-1 – Miller got her varsity career off to
a strong start with perfect passes that contributed greatly to Lyons’ success in 2008.

Brianne Riley, Jr., Benet (Lisle IL), 1st Alliance 17 Silver – During high school, Riley played on a team
with seven Division I recruits, but would not be denied court time. A great communicator, she expects
to dominate every time she steps on the floor and is doing just that for 1st Alliance 17-1 this season
despite not playing club the past two years.


1st Alliance alumnae Michelle McDonough, a sophomore outside hitter for Binghamton University's
volleyball team, helped led the squad to the 2008 America East Championship game. Last night she
was honored as team MVP and named Binghamton's 2008-09 Female Athlete of the Year! Click here
for the news release. Click here for her bio.


Six 1st Alliance seniors and a junior committed in April to play college volleyball. Thirty-six of our
thirty-seven seniors have now committed to play at the next level. Seniors Christine Bowe
committed to Saint Xavier University, Emily Cardwell to North Central College, Katherine Gosewisch
to Robert Morris-Chicago, Samantha Grams to Northern Illinois University, Catherine Guido to Saint
Norbert College and Kaylee Kaminsky to Indiana Institute of Technology. In addition, Junior Mary Kate
Imrie recently committed to the University of Illinois–Chicago. Click here for a complete list of commitments.


Congratulations are in order for another baby booming coach.
  Baby's name: Peyton Marie Heatherly
  Height: 21in Weight: 9lbs 3 oz
  Reach: She can give her big sisters great kisses
  Vertical touch: 40 in vertical
  Date and time of Birth: Monday, 4/27/09 at 9am
  Year of Graduation: class of 2027
  Proud parents: TJ and Julie Heatherly


Congratulations to Lions 14 Gold, champions of the Circus tourney. The team went undefeated
and beat Sycamore 14's in the championships.


Fearless 12 Red and Lions 12 Red have gone 1, 2 for six consecutive power league dates.
Fearless 12 Red led by Ryan DeJarld, the 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. | Fearless April player of the
month has won all six 12 and under Great Lakes power league dates. Ryan is a sixth grade outside
hitter that possess a great court sense and skill set for her age and leads her team with a great all
around game. Lions 12 Red has lost only to our own Fearless team on each of these power league
dates, and finally pulled out a game victory against the unbeaten Fearless team on Sunday 4.26.
Congratulations to both teams.


1st Alliance/Lions Jrs. teams continue to shine at tournaments, bringing home more gold. Lions 15
Red claimed 1st place in the GLC Youth Showcase 15 OPEN division, beating Illini Elite in the finals.
Lions 15 White took 1st place in the GLC Youth Showcase 15 CLUB division. Lions 16 Red won
silver at the Indy Jrs. Classic. Click here to see their celebratory picture.

Lions 10 Orange are champions of the 10 & under Lions Year End Event and Lions 11 Navy champions
of the 11 & under Lions Year End Event.


Travel information has been posted for the 5.9 and 5.10 Milwaukee Sting Elite Series. Click here
for the 2009 Travel Information document in the "Parent Corner" and go to page 7.


1st Alliance's inaugural Spring Classic Extravaganza was a huge success with 75 teams
participating. Club Fusion 18 Black won the 18/17 Division, Sky High 16 Black won in the 16/15
Open Division and Lions 16 White took the 16/15 Club Division. Click here to see a final recap
of all the winners.


March highlights for 1st Alliance, Lions Jrs. and Fearless teams are now available. Click here to
see the video.


Information and sign-up detail on Lions Jrs. Summer Camp and 1st Alliance Elite Camp is now
posted on the CAMPS page. Click on "CAMPS" at the top of the page.


Congratulations to baby booming coaches!

Baby's name: Colleen Carroll Chambers
  Height: 22in
  Weight: 9lbs 5 oz
  Reach: She can give really good hugs
  Vertical touch: 40 in vertical
  Date and time of Birth: Monday, 3/30/09 at 4:40pm
  Year of Graduation: class of 2027
  Proud parents: Jamie and Sheila Chambers

Baby’s name: Aubrey Lynn Martinez
  Height: 18 3/4 inches
  Weight- 6 lbs 7oz
  Date and time of Birth: Friday, 3/27/09 at 6:26am
  Year of Graduation: class of 2027
  Proud parents: Joe and Jen Martinez

Baby’s Name: Noah William Hardison
  Height: 20.5 inches
  Weight: 7 lbs 1 oz
  Vertical touch: expected 11'8 vertical jump and lefty honor of the Keck family!
  Date and time of Birth: Saturday 3/28/09 at 7:59am
  Year of Graduation: class of 2027
  Proud parents: Billy and Amy Hardison

3.19.09 has added more deserving young players to the HM categories in our Frosh and
Soph HS lists. Congratulations to our players!

Taryn Trubich, 5-8 OH, Plainfield Central (Illinois) – Trubich played setter early in the year when
Plainfield’s top setter was sidelined due to injury and contributed 70 assists, but she was used most
effectively on the outside, where her 206 kills and 459 digs ranked among the team lead. “She is not
only a very strong, highly skilled, competitive player, she also understands the game mentally for such
a young player,” said coach Carolyn Russell.

Laura Williams, 5-10 OH, Lyons Township (Illinois) – A starter and six-rotation player all season for a
28-12 team, Williams put up 172 kills, 150 digs and 33 aces for Lyons in 2008.

Caroline Niedospial, 5-7 Libero, Marist (Chicago IL) – Natalie Holder predicted that Niedospial will
graduate as the best libero in school history. One of only two sophomores on an 18-player varsity
squad, Niedospial was voted team MVP by her peers after passing a 2.5 against a brutal schedule.
Great on defense as well, Niedospial scores behind the service line with a killer jump serve.


We will be holding a recruiting meeting for all 1st Alliance / Lions Sophomores at the Max–McCook
Athletic Center on Thursday, March 26th at 6:30pm. If you cannot make it but would like to receive
the information packet that will be handed out…please contact Nadine Tomasovich.


Congratulations to Brittany Brown from the Lions 15-1 team who was named to the All-Tournament
Team in the Wisconsin Dells Showcase tournament.


Click here to see video highlights of February volleyball action by our teams.


Congratulations to our 16 Red team who took gold at the Palos Court Tournament this weekend.
Click here to see their celebratory picture.


Congratulations to 1st Alliance 16 Silver for a 2nd place finish at The Showcase this past weekend.
Courtney Keefe, Jocelynn Birks and Caroline Niedospial were named to the All-Tournament

Congratulations to Maddie Greybar, Meredith Vertin and Stephanie Lewaniak for winning
the scavenger hunt in the Dells. Click here for a shot of the winning team.

Congratulations to the following sophomores for making the HIGH HONORABLE MENTION list on sophomore list for The Best High School Sophomores in the Country:

Courtney Keefe, 5-9 OH, Lemont (IL) – A dynamic and intense player, Keefe started for a
second consecutive year on the pin for one of Chicago’s top squads. She finished 2008 with
175 kills, 77 digs, 24 aces and 31 blocks. Stats alone do not tell the story of Keefe’s talent on
a very deep and balanced team. Her aggressive nature and determination will make her a
Chicagoland all star before her senior year is done.

Jenny Buczek, 5-10 OH, Sandburg (Orland Park IL) – A terrific athlete with great leaping
ability, Buczek led the Eagles with 175 kills and set the team standard in digs with 250 of those
bad boys. The only sophomore to make All Conference, Buczek matured from a front row only
player to a necessary all around threat who never left the floor.


Lions Volley Cubs program to begin next week for any boy or girl ages 4-6 years old that is 
interested in a fun and active program taught by experienced volleyball coaches and educators.
E-mail for more information:

Congratulations to Fearless 12 Red for capturing another Great Lakes 12 and under Power
League title.


2009 JVDA National Championships Date Change
The Junior Volleyball Directors Association (JVDA) is excited to announce the 17 & 18 Open
Divisions for the 2009 JVDA Championships in Louisville, KY will start on FRIDAY JUNE 26TH!
Please click here to see all the details.


Congratulations to 1st Alliance 18 Silver for winning the Great Lakes 18 and under Power
League on Saturday. Also, congratulations are in order for the following teams for winning
their pools in the league Saturday or Sunday:
   1st Alliance 17 Silver (Pool B)
   1st Alliance 16 Silver (Pool D)
   1st Alliance 18 Black (Pool C)


Amazing job this weekend for Lions 15-1 for winning the 15 Open President’s Day
tournament at GLC (click here for a picture). KIVA 15 Red (Louisville, Kentucky) coach
Zach McCrite concedes Lions 15-1 (LaGrange, Illinois) is No. 1.

“Lions 15-1 is the best team in the JVDAs without question,” said McCrite after his team
lost to the Lions 25-22, 22-25, 25-11 in the 15 Open finals at the ‘09 President’s Day
tournament hosted by Sports Performance February 14-15.

“We've lost to just one 15 team all season, and it has been to Lions...twice!” McCrite said.
“They run a great 6-2 with two outstanding setters (Alexis Viliunas and Katie Gallagher).
Viliunas will be a gem for a BCS conference school down the road. Beautiful hands and
a great swing. She’s a tough match-up for many opponents.”

KIVA reached the finals by defeating Fusion 15 Black (Crystal Lake, Illinois) 25-15, 25-16
in pool play and Team St. Louis 15-1 in the quarterfinals 25-19, 25-22. KIVA then took down
SPVB 15 Elite 25-19, 25-11 in the semifinals. But in the finals, KIVA could not tame the Lions.

“Lions played great, and we're getting much better against their pressure at every position
in the front row,” McCrite said. “But they're better than us at this point, there's no doubt. Our
serving errors have to diminish if we want to beat them.”


Congratulations to Lions 16 Red for their second place finish at the President's Day
Spectacular in the Wisconsin Dells (click here for a picture).


Not only does 1st Alliance/Lions Jrs. have successful high performing players,
we also have coaches that have earned top honors. Natalie Watkins was one of
eight individuals to be inducted into the Grove City College Athletic Hall of Fame this
past weekend. Click here to read the full story. Congrats Natalie!


Congratulation to the following 1st Alliance players who were selected as 2008 High School All Americans
   Des Aramburu, 5-8 Sr. S, Mother McAuley (Chicago IL)
   Annemarie Hickey, 5-9 Jr. OH, Joliet Catholic (Joliet IL)

These two athletes were chosen as two of the top 150 high school players in the country,
and the 10 best high school players in the state of Illinois. Also, to Courtney Cunningham,
6-0 Sr. MB, Payton (Chicago IL) who received Highest Honorable Mention 2008 High School All Americans


Congratulations on a very successful weekend for all our participating teams. Here are
some of the highlights:
  • Fearless 12 Red taking home the title for 12 and under Great Lakes Power League.
  • Lions 14-1 taking home the title for 14 and under Great Lakes Power League defeating
    SPVB 14 Elite in the Championship.
  • Lions 15-1 winning the Central Zone Invite 15 Open defeating defending national
    champions KIVA 15 Red. Click here to see the Lions 15-1 Championship Photo.
  • Lions 12 Red capturing a 2nd place finish in 12 and under Great Lakes Power League,
    losing only to our own Fearless 12 Red team.
  • 1st Alliance 16 Silver capturing a 2nd place finish in the Central Zone Invite 16 Open,
    beating defending national champions KIVA 16 Red in the semi’s before falling short
    to Sky High 16 Black.   


Congratulations to Alexis Viliunas, who was chosen as one of the FROSH 59: the Best
High School Playing Freshmen of 2008 according to, to Morgan
who was chosen as Special Mention. Also, to Caroline Rose and Nora
who were chosen as Honorable Mention on the list of the nation’s most outstanding
varsity-playing volleyball freshmen.

Alexis Viliunas, 6-1 S, Lyons Township (Illinois) – A very skilled setter, Viliunas started
every match for 28-12 Lyons in 2008. Part of the All Tournament team at Rich East, Viliunas
finished the year with almost 700 assists in a state that plays two out of three. She added
126 digs, 33 aces and 82 kills.”

Morgan Semmelhack, 5-11 MB, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) – Despite eight seniors on the
varsity roster, Semmelhack carved out a role for herself on a 30-9 team that fell in the
Sectional final to eventual 4A champ St. Charles East. A very competitive player who improved
as the year progressed, Semmelhack added 102 kills to a balanced offense while also contributing
40 blocks, 64 digs and 27 aces.”

"Caroline Rose, 5-7 OH, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) - a motivated attacker with all the shots and
strong ball handling skills, Rose came to the varsity a third of the way through the season and
started the rest of the way, finishing with 190 kills for a 30-9 team."

"Nora Mitros, 6-0 OH/MB Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Illinois) – A starter for the Celtics
in 2008, Mitros was third on her team in kills, totaling 106, and added 58 total blocks."

Click here for more information.


Courtney Cunningham and her mother were on the channel 7 news yesterday being
recognized as only one of 10 Chicago Public School females who have signed or committed
to play a sport at the collegiate level.  Read here for the details.


Congratulations to all teams for a very successful January. Some of the highlights included:
Lions 15-1 capturing a 2nd place finish on Sunday 2.1 in the Great Lakes 16 Power League.
1st Alliance 18 Silver took home 2nd place on Saturday 1.24 in the 18 Power League.
Good Luck to all our teams as we begin our travel season to Las Vegas, Omaha, and the
Wisconsin Dells over the President's Day Weekend.


Andi Collins wanted to be the best setter in the nation. Cancer ended that dream Sept.
4, 2003, a month shy of her 17th birthday. The Andi Collins Award, presented in her
honor and memory, recognizes the best senior setter in the nation.

Des Aramburu, 5-8, Mother McAuley (Chicago IL) — The catalyst for the Mighty Macs,
Aramburu was a consensus First Team All State player after leading her team to third
in the Class 4A tournament. She finished the year with 792 assists, 260 digs, 90 kills,
48 blocks and 49 aces, a truly remarkable year for a player setting the varsity for the
first time. She has more intangibles than any setter in this class, a charismatic leader
who played with joy and seemed to understand that this was her shot. Her great
season was recognized with Player of the Year honors in her conference and by two
local papers, the Daily Southtown Star and Chicago Sun-Times.


All Travel Information for the 2009 season is now available. Please download form
from the out-of-town tournament icon and to view your team’s travel itineraries.


Congratulations to Annemarie Hickey who was named as one of the 25 finalists for
2008 National HIGH SCHOOL Junior of the Year.

Annemarie Hickey, 5-8 OH, Joliet Catholic (Joliet IL) – Named First Team All State
by the Chicago Tribune, Hickey was a huge factor in the Angels’ run to a state 3A
title one year after the graduation of 2007 Gatorade National Player of the Year Kelly
Murphy. Very cerebral, Hickey is a quiet assassin. She’s no rah-rah player, preferring
to let her rocket arm speak for her. Playing matches to two out of three sets, Hickey
amassed 427 kills and added more than 300 digs on the season. (Tawa, 2008 National
High School Junior of the Year Finalists)


Congrats to Lions 16-1 who won the Sky High 16 tournament this past weekend
defeating the top-seeded team, Chicago Jrs 16-1 in the finals.

Lions 13-1 also won the Net Force 14 tournament on 1.4 winning all 5 matches
without dropping a set! Congrats to both teams.


We will be holding a recruiting meeting for all 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. juniors
at Velocity Sports Performance on Sunday, January 11th at 7pm. If you cannot
make it but would like to receive the information packet that will be handed out…
please contact Nadine Tomasovich.


Good Luck to all our girl’s teams that are participating in their first tournament
this weekend.