September Newsletter Published
Click here to see the latest newsletter.
Nadine Tomasovich is our coach of the month for November.
Nadine has been a long time coach for Lions Jrs, 1st Alliance
and now 3rd Coast Elite, our boys program. She is also the
assistant director for both clubs and takes on an enormous
amount of responsibility and work. She is the first one to
volunteer to help with any team or any task. Nadine also started
our college recruiting program several years ago and has
helped dozens of girls obtain college scholarships at a variety of universities. On top of all of her
administrative duties she is an excellent coach, mother of a two year old and works a full-time job.
Thanks Nadine for all that you do!
Alums Jaclyn Hart (shown in the picture) and Arielle Wilson have
been chosen as 2010 AVCA Division I All-Americans.
Arielle Wilson was chosen as a first team Division I All-American.
She is a 6-3 middle blocker for Penn State University, is a senior from
Broadview, Ill. A three-time All-Big Ten honoree, Wilson is ranked
among the top in the nation for hitting percentage and is only the fifth
player at Penn State history and the 10th in Big Ten lore to pass the
600-mark in blocks. Helping the Nittany Lions on their quest for a
fourth straight national title, this is the third time Wilson has received
AVCA All-America honors.
Jaclyn Hart was chosen as a third team Division I All-American. She is a 6-1setter for Purdue
University, is a senior from Palos Hills, Ill. An All-Big Ten selection, Hart led the Boilermakers on
an exhilarating run to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 2010. She ranked among the nation's
leaders in assists per set and helped Purdue to a 24-11 in 2010. She is now a first-time AVCA
Click here for information on the Baker’s Square Fundraiser. Many players received two Bakers
Square pie cards to start out, one with a cherry pie on the front and one with a french silk pie on
the front .You can take orders for additional cards ,collect the money ,and when you get the
money back to your coach we can place an order for more cards. This is an easy fundraiser-
everyone loves pie! They make a great Christmas gift for those hard to buy for :)
The original Lions Jrs. 15-1 teamfrom 1995, coached by
Colleen Laurich, recently reunited and brought their future
lion cubs. Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Kate Kalnes
with baby Riley; Katie Ramoley with baby Ella; Joan
Nikischer with baby Maggie; Aly Christoph with baby
Bobby; Melissa Cox with baby Kameron; and Colleen
Laurich. Front Row: Ben Nikischer Not pictured: Noreen
Veeser and baby Reagan.
Congratulations to the Carolina Blue team who was crowned
1st and 2nd grade league champions in the Lions Jrs. Youth
Fall League tournament. Pictured here from left to right: Anna,
Isabel, Jordan and Joe (missing Alana).
Click here to see tournament brackets and other detail from the
Lions Jrs. Fall League.
The outlook looks bright in the upcoming 2010-2011 club
season for 1st Alliance |Lions Jrs.|Fearless|Club Elite teams.
The season starts Sunday, November 28 and by the look of
things, many teams will be bringing home championships this
coming season and celebrating like last year's 1st Alliance
Silver team shown at the left afterwinning the 18’s Sting
Classic last season.
We look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.
Our commitment list is long, our alumni are many. But our former players
are not just playing at the next level, they are dominating. 1st Alliance
has had 1st Team NCAA All-Americans, conference players of the
year, all-tournament selections and many all-conference awards.
Britta Baarstad (pictured) led the rams of University of Rhode Island
in kills with 271 and made her mark by collecting two Rookie of the wee
k awards and the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.
Congratulations to all our alumni on their accomplishments both on and
off the court.
Central Atlantic Collegiate Conf.
Chicagoland Collegiate Conf.
Sara Byrne (AVCA NAIA Honorable Mention All-America)
1st Alliance Alum Claire Randich was instrumental in Butler's drive to
the Horizon League Championship! According to Dawn Jones, ‘Director
of Volleyball Operations’ Claire Randich was an essential part of the
Butler bulldog team and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer
She was a starting middle and an essential player in winning the
Click here for more about the post season awards. Click here for more
about the Butler championship .
The Chicago Tribune selects two 1st Alliance Players as First Team All-State:
Jocelynn Birks, Sr., OH, Lyons
Numbers: 467 kills, 302 digs, 35 aces; 900 career kills.
FYI: Recorded 18 kills in Lyons' state-title match victory over Cary-Grove. Second in school history
with 900 kills.
She said it: "Jocelynn has been a force that other teams have had to contend with all year. She
controls the net with her aggressive attack and leads her teammates by the positive example of her
all-around play." — Lyons coach Joann Pyritz.
Caroline Niedospial Sr., Libero, Marist
Numbers: 728 digs, 196 service points, 87.7 dig percentage.
FYI: Caroline's older sister, Sarah, helped lead Mother McAuley to the Class AA state title in 2000.
He said it: "Caroline is one of the premier liberos in the country. She's a true talent and has a gift for
the game of volleyball. She broke numerous (high school) records and we believe she has the
ability to have the same impact at the collegiate level." — Northwestern coach Keylor Chan.
First Team All-State Tribune
Second Team All-State Tribune
Honorable Mention All-State Tribune
Click here for more.
1st Alliance Alumni, Jill Keeve was named the October Central
Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Student-Athlete of the Month as
announced by CACC Commissioner Dan Mara. Keeve helped lead Holy
Family to a 21-10 overall record and a 16-3 finish in the CACC South
Division this season.
The Tigers finished tied for first place in their division with Philadelphia
University and earned a share of the CACC South Division Regular
Season Title for the first time in program history. Holy Family advanced
all the way to the CACC Tournament final for the first time since 2007.
On the court, Keeve had a career year as she compiled a new career-high with 403 kills. She
averaged 3.47 kills per set, which ranks her second in the conference. During the CACC
quarterfinals, Keeve surpassed 900 career kills in the victory over Georgian Court University. She
will enter her senior season ranked second all-time in school history with 928 career kills.
The junior outside hitter also earned All-CACC first team accolades for the first time in her career. In
addition, Keeve finished the year averaging 2.32 digs per set and tallied 36 service aces and 38
total blocks. She was also the conference Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 31.
Click here for more.
1st Alliance alumni and current Northern Illinois University (NIU) setter,
Kristin Hoffman earns All-MAC First Team honors. With a first team
selection, Hoffman earned her first career All-MAC accolade. She
picked up the third major honor of her career, as she was named to the
2010 ESPN/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic
All-District 5 first team and 2009 Academic All-MAC selection. Hoffman
currently ranks second in the MAC in assists (11.44/set), which is good
for 17th in the nation.
"I think that [Kristin] has done a great job leading our offense, not only in
setting players like MAC Player of the Year Lauren Wicinski, but
distributing the offense to all our players," NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. "She's had a really big
hand in all of our success this year."
Click here for more.
1st Alliance alumni and current Barry MB, Lanie Muys earns SSC All-
Freshman Team honors. In her first year out of Orland Park, Ill., Muys
made an immediate impact for the Bucs. She started all 22 matches at
middle hitter and was third on the team with 167 kills and fourth with
2.04 kills per set.
Muys finished the season with 50 total blocks to chip
in on defense as well. Muys is the 11th Buccaneer volleyball player,
and the third in four years, to earn a spot on the All-Freshman team.
Click here for more.
1st Alliance alumni and current Pitt libero, Margy Acton set a Pitt
record with 45 digs in the five-set match, breaking the previous record
of 36 digs set by Megan McGrane during the 2003 season.
In her 1st Alliance years, Margy her team to a third-place finish at the
2009 JVDA National Championships in Louisville, Ky., and in the gold
division at the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fl. She also
garnered AAU All-America accolades and was selected as a member
of the Great Lakes Regional Team
Click here for more.
The News-Gazette named many 1st Alliance players to their all-state teams:
First Team All-State News-Gazette
Second Team All-State News-Gazette
Special Mention All-State News-Gazette
Honorable Mention All-State News-Gazette
Click here for more.
AVCA chooses three 1st Alliance players on their Under Armour All-American Team
2010-11 UnderArmour First-Team All America
|Player||School||City, State||Pos.||Ht.||College Choice|
|Jocelynn Birks||Lyons Township High School||LaGrange, Illinois||OH||6'2||University of Illinois|
|Caroline Niedospial||Marist High School||Chicago, Illinois||DS/Lib||5'7||Northwestern University|
2010-11 UnderArmourHonorable Mention All America
|Player||School||City, State||Pos.||Ht.||College Choice|
|Katie Krasowski||Marist High School||Chicago, Illinois||MB||6'1||Eastern Michigan University|
Click here for more.
2010 SouthtownStar All-Area Girls Volleyball Team Picked. Congratulations to our players that have
been selected to the 2010 SouthtownStar All-Area Girls Volleyball Team
Lauren Behrens Lincoln-Way East, Notable: All-Tournament at Rich East and Lincoln-Way Central
Jill Conrad Stagg, Notable: All-Southwest Suburban Red
Alexis Davito, Lockport, Notable: All-SouthWest Suburban Blue, All-Tournament at Rich East
Ashley Holder, Marist, Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic, All-Tournament at Rich East and
Downers Grove North
Courtney Keefe, Lemont, Notable: South Suburban Blue Player of the Year, All-Tournament at
Katie Krasowski, Marist, Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference, All-Tournament at
Nora Mitros, Providence, Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference, All-Tournament at
Bridget Powell, Mother McAuley, Notable: All-GCAC Red
Vicki Wrobel, Lemont, Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference, All-Tournament at
Benet Academy Player of the Year
Caroline Niedospial, Marist, Notable: East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year,
All-Tournament at Wheaton Classic, Rich East, Asics Challenge and Downers Grove North,
SouthtownStar Player of the Year
Click here for more.
Congratulations to our players who competed in the 2010
Illinois State Finals on November 12-13 at the Redbird Arena
in Normal. Lyons Township, with eight 1st Alliance Players
on the roster, won the Class 4A Champion ship. They are
shown at left celebrating their victory over Cary Grove in
Seven 1st Alliance players were on the roster for York High
School, which finished fourth in the Class 4A Championship.
Joliet Catholic, which finished second in Class 3A, also had a 1st Alliance player on its roster.
Click here to see video of all matches played by these teams during the Championships.
State Champs: Lyons Township High School
1st Alliance Players:
4th Place: York High School
1st Alliance Players:
2nd Place: Joliet Catholic
1st Alliance Player:
1st Alliance alumni and current Furman setter Sarah McCarthy was
named the Southern Conference Volleyball Freshman of the Week for
the matches played the week of November 1-7. The players of the
week are voted on by the league office.
The Villa Park, Ill., native helped the Paladins to a 2-0 record on the
week with wins over Wofford and UNC Greensboro. McCarthy had
24 assists and seven digs in Furman's 3-1 win over the Terriers on
Wednesday, then posted a double-double with a team-high 21
assists and 13 digs in the Paladins 3-0 sweep over UNC Greensboro
on Saturday. She currently ranks second among all Furman players
with 433 assists this season. McCarthy was also named SoCon Freshman of the Week the
second week of the season. Click Here to read more.
REMINDER: Parent/Player Meeting Sunday 11/14/2010
Don’t forget that all parents and players are required to attend the meeting on Sunday. Payment
options, uniforms and handbook information will be reviewed.
|LTSC||16/17/18's Parent Meeting||4:00pm|
|Chalet||Girls 10/11 sign ups||5:00pm|
|LTSC||12's Parent Meeting||6:30pm|
|LTSC||13/14/15's Parent Meeting||7:30pm|
The NCAA Division 1 Lowe’s Senior Award candidates
include two of our very own alumns: Arielle Wilson and
Laura DeBruler. Click here to VOTE NOW for Arielle and
The Lowe’s Senior Class award honors the nations’ top
senior who excels in the classroom, in the community,
demonstrates outstanding character and brings a spirit of
competition to their sport. Click here to VOTE FOR BOTH NOW!
Arielle Wilson. School: Penn State University. Position: Middle Hitter. Major: Nursing. Wilson has
been named a 2009 AVCA First Team All-American and 2008 AVCA Second Team All-American.
She was a member of the 2009 NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team and led the nation in
2009 with a record-breaking .540 hitting percentage. Her career .489 hitting percentage tops the
Penn State charts. Wilson is a two-time First Team All-Big Ten member and a seven-time Big Ten
Player of the Week, including three times in 2009. She was the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the
Year and Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection and the 2007 NCAA Regional Most Outstanding
Player. She trained with the U.S. National Team during the summer of 2010.
Laura DeBruler. School: University of Illinois. Position: Outside Hitter. Major: Psychology.
DeBruler was named a first-team All-American in 2009 after being named a second-team All-
American in 2008. She is an Academic All-Big Ten selection and was named to four All-
Tournament teams in 2009, being named MVP of two of them. The Illini were ranked as high as
No. 5 in the nation, finishing at No. 10 after a second straight trip to the Sweet 16. She is on
pace to break Illinois’ career kills record and holds the record for most 20-kill matches in school
The Chicago Sun-Times has named it's All Area Team. Of the Sun-Times 36 top players in the
area, 9 of them are 1st Alliance players. Congratulations to our players.
Jocelynn Birks, 6-2, Sr., OH, Lyons Lyons’ Jocelynn Birks will take her game south on I-57 to
Champaign next fall, but not before she compiled some amazing statistics for the powerhouse
Lions. The 6-2 outside hitter compiled 382 kills, 28 aces, 277 digs and 32 blocks during a 34-1
regular season. ‘‘Jocelynn dominates the net with her attack and block and is an effective
offensive weapon wherever she is on the court,’’ coach Joann Pyritz said. ‘‘Jocelynn leads by
example and models the will to win.’’
Caroline (Carks) Niedospial, 5-8, Sr., L, Marist Libero is a relatively new position in volleyball.
But Caroline Niedospial of Marist has already established a standard that may never be equaled.
The Northwestern-bound senior posted a dig percentage approaching 90 percent this season
on more than 740 attempts. ‘‘‘Carks’ is such a tremendous athlete,’’ coach Natalie Holder said.
‘‘She has an uncanny ability to read every hitter efficiently, dig the ball and keep it in system. She
is a dominating force whenever she is on the court.’’
Tori Clifford, 5-4, Sr., L, Glenbard West
Courtney Keefe, 5-11, Sr., OH, Lemont
Caroline Rose, 5-6, Jr., OH, York
Jenna Duddleston, 5-8, Sr., S, DeLaSalle
Ashley Holder, 5-8, Jr., S, Marist
Emily Iverson, 5-8, Sr., S, York
Jenna Jacobson, 5-10, Jr., S, Whitney Young
For the second year in a row senior setter Jenna Duddleston was named the Girls Catholic
Athletic Conference White Division Player of the Year. (Chicago) DeLaSalle’s 5-foot-8 senior
setter Duddleston received the honor after leading the Meteors to a third consecutive White
Division regular season title and third place in the GCAC Red tournament.
It was the second consecutive season that Duddleston received the honor. Duddleston had a
season-high 30 assists in a 25-21, 25-27, 27-25 victory over GCAC rival Resurrection in
September and had 26 assists and six kills in a 25-22, 29-27 victory over Riverside-Brookfield at
the Maine East tournament.
East Suburban Catholic Conference 2010 Women's Volleyball All Conference Selections include
many 1st Alliance | Lions players:
Caroline Niedospial Marist Sr. Libero (MVP)
Ashley Holder Marist Jr. Setter
Katie Krasowski Marist Sr. Middle
Lauren Zielinski Marist Jr. Middle
Brittany Brown Nazareth Jr. Right Side/Setter
Nora Mitros Providence Jr. Right Side
We would like to begin a new tradition in 2011. We would like to host "An Alumni Day" during the
month of May or June. On this day, we would recognize our alumni, have a get together with
food and friends, and then play an alumni match. In order to get this started, we need your help.
Please respond to me with the following information:
1. Would you be interested in participating in something like this?
2. Would May or June be better for your schedule?
3. Would you be interested in playing in the match?
I hope we can get this fun-filled tradition off to a great start!!! Click here to send me an email.
Caroline Niedospial not only the best libero Prepvolleyball.com has
seen this year, but probably the best libero they’d seen…ever! Here
is what they had to say:
"PrepVolleyball.com had heard plenty about Marist libero Caroline
Niedospial over the years. We’d watched the Chicago native play a
few points here and a few points there, both with Marist and her
1st Alliance Volleyball Club, but she was squarely in our sights
earlier this month after Marist blew out Louisville Sacred Heart to
reach the final four at the Asics Challenge, played at Mother McAuley
High School in Chicago. The Redhawks lost their final two matches
of the Challenge – their only two losses to date this season – but we were blown away by the
athletic, fearless Niedospial in the back row. The Northwestern recruit was mesmerizing, no
t only the best libero we’d seen this year, but probably the best libero we’d seen…ever!
" We are not alone in praising this wunderkind. Here’s what Benet coach Bradley Baker has to
say about her: 'If you ask who the best libero in the state of Illinois is, you should only get one
answer. We have played Marist twice and the girl is ridiculous. One of our pre-match goals was
for her never to touch the ball. We have kids that pound the ball and it doesn't matter with her.
Put it in her area and not only does she dig it, but they are in system. Marist has a very nice team,
with a super woman in the back row.'"
Prepvolleyball.com sat down with Niedospial in Chicago right after the big Sacred Heart win to
find out what makes this “super woman” tick. Click here to log into prepvolleyball.com and read
the full Q & A session.
Saying the 1st Alliance family is proud of Laura DeBruler and her
volleyball career is an understatement. She is not only one of the
most decorated and accomplished volleyball players in the history of
our program; she is one of the most accomplished players in the
history of University of Illinois volleyball. DeBruler ends her college
career just shy of the finish line in her senior season at University of
Illinois. An MRI confirmed yesterday (10/12/2010) a tear of the
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
DeBruler ranked first in kills (1,833) and attacks (4,806) and seventh
in digs (1,117) all-time at Illinois. In addition, her 36 20-kill matches are
most in school history. DeBruler is a two-time All-American, earning second team honors in 2008
and first-team honors in 2009, just the fourth Illinois player to be named to the first team. She was
a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and earned eight Big Ten Player of the Week honors,
including on Oct. 4 following a pair of 20-kill match performances in victories over Wisconsin
and Northwestern. DeBruler was also named to 12 all-tournament teams in her career, including
earning MVP of three of those tournaments.
Click here to read more about Laura at Illinois.
Lis Muys is our coach of the month for September. Lis has
been working diligently all spring and summer on increasing
enrollment for the fall league. She also will be starting up the
Fearless program in Tinley Park at DW Ram to accommodate
our young south suburban players. This is Lisa’s third season
of coaching with Lions. Last year she coached the 17Gold team
and the previous year she coached the 16-1 team. Lis is also a
proud volleyball mom, so ask her about her kids anytime!!
Former 1st Alliance player Laura DeBruler was named Big Ten Player
of the Week. This is the eighth time in her career that DeBruler has been
named Big Ten Player of the Week and it comes after a weekend in
which she became Illinois’ all-time leader in kills. With 26 kills against
Wisconsin, she broke the all-time Illini mark of 1,761. With 21 more
against Northwestern, she brought her career total to 1,804. She also
posted double-digit dig totals in both matches last week, finishing with
15 against Wisconsin and 28 versus Northwestern. The senior
averaged 5.2 kills and 4.8 digs per set over the weekend to help Illinois
remain unbeaten in Big Ten play.
A week earlier, she returned to play after a bout with mononucleosis, to help her Illini team beat last
year’s national champions Penn State. DeBruler had four of her eleven kills during the fifth set of the
match against Penn State, the last two of her kills giving the Illini a pair of one-point leads right
before they won the match on a hitting error by the Nittany Lions.
Click here to read more about her Player of the Week honors. Click here to read more about the Penn
State match. Image courtesy of Illinois Athletics.
"A player who plays all the way around and does multiple skills well at
a high level," is how Lyons Township Coach Pyritz describes junior
Laura Williams in a "Doings Western Springs" article by Bill Stone.
Williams was a starter as a freshman at LT, and has been a standout
player there throughout her caree as well as on 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs
Williams, along with Joclynn Birks, were LT players named to the all-
tournament team for their play during the Rich East Tournament where
LT finished as runner-up to Marist. Click here to read the "Doings" article.
Lauren Zielinski and Ashley Holder of Marist Catholic were SouthtownStar Newspaper "Players
of the Week". Both are 1st Alliance | Lions players and are having great seasons at Marist Catholic
High School. Zielinski is a 6’4 Middle Blocker and Ashley Holder a 5’6 Setter.
1st Alliance Alums Britta Baarstad (University of Rhode Island) and Kayla Mullaney (Saint Xavier)
recently earned special honors. Baarstad was named A-10 rookie of the week for the 2nd time and
Mullaney was all-tournament at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Earlybird Challenge!
Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Mullaney (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) had an outstanding
weekend tournament. She earned all-tournament honors as the Saint Xavier University women's
volleyball team won three of its four matches and finished third place overall out of 12 teams at the
2010 University of Michigan-Dearborn Earlybird Challenge in Dearborn, Mich., over the weekend.
Kayla was also CCAC player of the week first week of September. Click here for a profile.
Rhode Island freshman outside hitter Britta Baarstad was named Atlantic 10 Women's Volleyball
Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday after as she helped URI open
league play at 2-0 for the first time since 1999. Baarstad opened the weekend with eight kills
(.263 hitting percentage), six digs and one block in a 3-0 sweep of Temple, before hitting .316
with eight kills and five digs in the Ram's 3-0 victory over La Salle. Click here for more.
1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. players are proving to be strong
contributors to Hinsdale Central and the second half of their
2010 high school volleyball season looks promising as
chemistry with the players builds. The following 1st Alliance
| Lions players are having great seasons at Hinsdale Central:
Katie Grabowski, 5-7 outside hitter (shown in picture)
Katarina Milojevic, 6-0 middle hitter (140 kills, 126 blocks)
Meghan McDowell, 6-2 setter/right-side hitter
Former 1st Alliance libero Brianne Riley of Kansas was
named Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week for the week
ending September 18.
The 5-foot-6 defensive specialist recorded a team-high 15 digs
and was perfect in 34 service receptions as the Jayhawks
defeated Texas A & M, which was riding a four-match win
streak including an upset of No. 8 Texas. Earlier that week,
Riley had 18 digs and six assists at Kansas State. Riley became the first Jayhawk to win weekly
conference honors in almost two years.
Click here for more. Image courtesy of Kansas University Athletics.
Caroline “Carks” Niedospial and Katie Krasowski lead
Marist to the championship of the Wheaton Classic.
Marist (11-0 on the season) was crowned champions of the
Wheaton Classic this past weekend at Wheaton Warrenville
South High School. Caroline Niedospial led her Marist Team
past Lemont, Benet and Rosary to win the tournament. She
was named MVP. Katie Krasowski was also a key contributor,
receiving all-tournament honors.
The picture was taken during the past Club season and shows Krasowski (10), Niedospial (5) and
Joclynn Birks (11) celebrating a point. Birks is having a great season at Lyons Township.
Congratulations to Carks, Katie and to Marist for a great weekend of volleyball.
Alum Kristin Hoffman notches MVP award last weekend at the Elon
ELON, N.C. - NIU Invitational -- Check. UIC Invitational -- Check. Now add
the Elon Classic to the Northern Illinois volleyball team's list of first place
finishes in 2010. Resuming the program's most outstanding start to a
season, the Huskies swept Stetson, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17, on Saturday
afternoon to advance to 11-0 and claim their third invitational title in as
Tournament MVP Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) was stellar
throughout the Elon Classic. The junior setter notched 32 assists, seven digs, and an ace in the final
match of the Elon Classic. Under Hoffman's guidance, the NIU offense held significant edges in kills
(136-101) and hitting percentage (.235-.146). For the tournament, Hoffman totaled 94 assists
(9.40/set), 19 digs (1.90/set), 11 points (1.10/set), six kills (0.60/set), four blocks (0.40/set), and
three aces (0.30/set).
"Our whole team did a solid job," Gooden said. "Mary did a good job in the middle. Lauren led our
team in points and did a good job of serving. Kristin was the one running the offense -- she ran a
really good offense over the weekend."
Click here to read more about Hoffman.
Alum Melissa Joyce recently helped Robert Morris University go 5-0
on the Week and earns Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference
Volleyball Player of the Week honors. Robert Morris has now won nine
straight matches and is 10-3 on the year.Their perfect 5-0 for the week
led to winning the North Park University Tournament. Joyce had an
all-around performance for the Eagles with 30 kills, 51 assists, 67 digs,
five blocks, and 12 serving aces. She played in 17 games and picked up
one double-double on her way to being named to the North Park
University All-Tournament team.
Click here to read more.
Courtney Keefe and Caroline Niedospial just missed being
listed among the top 100 recruits for the 2011 class by
PrepVolleyball.com. They did make the list of Senior Aces
though - PrepVolleyball.com's top 250 volleyball recruits in the
Class of 2011.
" We’ve been working hard since May to identify and compile a
list of the best American recruits in the next senior class," says
the site. "The sole criterion was potential impact over four years at the next level. High school
achievement was not a factor nor was the university they would attend."
Caroline Niedospial 5-6 Libero, 1st Alliance, Marist (Northwestern)
Just missing the top 250
Courtney Keefe 5-10 OH, 1st Alliance, Lemont (Bradley)
This was supplemented by John Tawa with the following "Bypassed" commentary:
"If you studied carefully the top 100 Senior Aces list that came out late in August and early in
September, you would not find Marist libero Caroline Niedospial on it. It is obvious to me that the
college coaches who helped formulate the list erred. It happens.
"For my money, after watching Niedospial play this weekend, I have to say that I think “Carks” is
the best I have seen in a 2011 class loaded with great liberos and may be the best libero I have
EVER seen. Niedospial makes all the plays and has a floor presence you just can’t coach. In the
middle of the action at all times, everything goes right to target with Carks. You can just tell she
wants every ball. A natural leader, Carks edges out fellow Chicagoan Kate Nobilio as the best
back row player I’ve seen since I started doing this in 2000. Nobilio went on to Northwestern and
finished second all time in the Big 10 in digs. Carks is also headed to Northwestern".
Kelsey Safranek, a 1st Alliance Alum, claimed a spot on the Best
Western Invitational All-Tournament Team this past weekend.
In this event, hosted by the University of North Florida. Safranek tallied
41 kills over four matches in helping the UIC flames win the Invitational.
The Flames open the Horizon League portion of the schedule on Friday,
Sept. 17th at the UIC Physical Education Building against the Youngstown
State Penguins at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, they'll welcome Cleveland State
at 4:00 p.m.
Click here to read more about this alum of our program.
Alum Kayla Mullaney was recently named Chicagoland
Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Volleyball Player of the
Helping Saint Xavier University to a perfect 4-0 record
on the week at the SXU/Illinois Tech Crossover Volleyball
Tournament was the impetus for sophomore outside hitter
Kayla Mullaney (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) being awarded this honor.
Click here to read more about this alum of our program.
Alum Michelle McDonough was named to the University Blue and White Classic All Tournament
Team for her play this past weekend. The Senior hitter led the Binghamton volleyball program to a
pair of much needed wins Saturday afternoon. The Bearcats (4-6) upended St. John's (10-2) and
Hampton (0-10) in the final day of action at the UB Blue and White Classic. Click here to see rest
of the story.
Jocelynn Birks, a 6-2 Outside Hitter, was chosen by
PrepVolleyball.com as the 26th best recruit in this year's
senior class. Jocelynn played on the 1st Alliance 17 Silver team
last year and helped lead the team to a top five finish at Junior
Nationals. She plays High School volleyball at Lyons Township,
a team that played in the State finals last year and is expected
to do well in 2010.
PrepVolleyball.com annually presents its "Senior Aces", this year the top 250 volleyball recruits in
the Class of 2011. PrepVolleyball.com states that their sole criterion is potential impact over four
years at the next level. High school achievement is not a factor nor is the university they would
attend. This is what they said about Birks:
"Long limbed and athletic, Birks dominate the net with her attacking and blocking prowess. Blessed
with a great arm – 'One of the purest attacking arms I have ever coached,' says 1st Alliance’s Beth
Keck – Birks can score at will and will be an immediate point producer at Illinois, where she has
committed. She has great reach and range defensively, reads well and has developed into a strong
six-rotation player. She led her high school team to the state final as a junior and her club team to a
top five finish at Junior Nationals. The Illini have a great class in 2011 and Birks is one of its
Alumni Britta Baarstad Named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week. Rhode
Island freshman outside hitter Britta Baarstad was named Atlantic 10
Women's Volleyball Player of the Week Tuesday after as she helped
the University of Rhode Island to a 2-1 mark this past weekend at the
For the week she collected 34 kills and posted a hitting percentage
Click here to read more about this alum of our program.
Alumna Sarah McCarthy was recently named Southern Conference
Volleyball Freshman Of The Week. A setter at Furman, McCarthy was
honored for the matches played the week of August 30 to September 5.
The players of the week are voted on by the league office.
McCarthy leads the Paladins with 133 assists this season.
Click here to read more about this honor.
York, lead by 1st Alliance players has Hinsdale Central's
number again. The No. 6 Dukes defeated No. 4 Hinsdale
Central for the third time this season, 30-28, 25-21 Tuesday
Click here to read the Tribune Sports story about this match.
Picture by David Banks, Chicago Tribune / September 7, 2010.
"Lyons Township senior Julia Watkins is hoping to contribute this upcoming high-school season,"
according to a story by Bill Stone in 'The Doings-Western Springs'.
"She has plenty of momentum after helping her 1st Alliance 17-and-under Black Team win the 17 Club
Division title at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Championships June 15-23 at the ESPN
Wide World of Sports and Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
"The first national title for Watkins also included being selected to the 14-player All-Tournament Team.
Fellow LT senior Erin Juley was on 17 Black, but missed the remainder of the season after injuring
her left knee in January." Click here to see rest of the story.
Pre-Season All Conference awards have been announced and 1st Alliance alumni are selected in
many conferences! Congratulations to our alums who have been named to the Pre-Season All Big
Ten and All SAC teams.
Laura DeBruler Sr. at Illinois, OH Downers Grove, IL and Arielle Wilson Sr. at Penn State, MB
Broadview, IL were unanimous 3 time pre-season all big ten selections. Click here to read more
about DeBruler. Click here for more about Wilson.
Simone Asque is making her second-straight appearance on the conference’s preseason team.
An All-ACC team honoree a year ago, Asque enters the 2010 season ranked sixth on Virginia’s
career records for kills per set, averaging 3.31. She landed a team-best 416 kills last year and
ranked third in the ACC with 3.75 kills per set. A back-to-back ACC Player of the Week in 2009,
Asque collected Texas A & M All-Tournament Team and VaSID All-State first team honors throughout
that year, and was also named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2008.
Five Wingate Bulldogs including two 1st Alliance alumna were named to the preseason All-SAC
team, with four earning first team honors including Lauren Billo (Orland Park, Ill.) and junior
Maggie Malone (Chicago, Ill.). Click here for details on Billo. Click here for info on Malone.
The first weekend of college volleyball is underway and our alumni are standouts! Sophomore
defensive specialist/libero Allie Gardner (Chicago, Ill./1st Alliance) has been named the Missouri
Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week announced by the league office Monday afternoon.
Gardner helped Bradley to a 2-1 record and second-place finish at the season-opening Hotels at
Grand Prairie Invitational. Click here for more of the story.
Laura DeBruler led Illinois with 51 kills on the weekend, moving her into second on Illinois' all-time
career kills list with 1,719, just 42 shy of the all-time Illini record. DeBruler had 19 kills vs. South
Carolina and another 15 vs. MTSU earning her a spot on the all-tournament team for the fourth time,
the only player in the history of the Illini Classic to ever do so. Click here for a profile on DeBruler.
Caroline Rose spiked York to the Benet Invitational Championship Saturday August 29th in Lisle.
Rose, who plays for 1st Alliance during Club season, was named the tournament MVP after a
dominating performance in the championship match. A 5-foot-6 outside hitter, she plays much bigger
than her size. Click here to read about this in the Sun Times.
Sun-Times Top 50 Players list is out. Congrats to the 1st Alliance|Lions players. A round of applause
also goes out to high schools in the top 10 that are predominately anchored by 1st Alliance|Lions
1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. Players on the Sun Times Top 50:
Jocelyn Birks, 6-2, Sr., OH, Lyons
Jenny Buczek, 5-9, Sr., OH, Sandburg
Chelsea Cunningham, 6-0, Sr., MH, Whitney Young
Courtney Keefe, 5-11, Sr., OH, Lemont
Nora Mitros, 6-1, Jr., OH, Providence
Caroline Niedospial, 5-8, Sr., L, Marist
Caroline Rose, 5-6, Jr., OH, York
Jessie Tulacka, 6-1, Jr., OH, Downers Grove North
Alexis Viliunas, 6-1, Jr., OH/S, Lyons
Sun Times Top 10 Teams anchored by 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. Players:
3. Lyons - Six-foot junior Alexis Viliunas, 6-2 senior Jocelyn Birks, junior defensive whiz
Megan Miller, 5-10 junior Laura Williams and setter Erin Juley return from last year's
Class 4A runner-up
4. Marist - The Redhawks welcome back Northwestern-bound libero Caroline Niedospial, 6-1
senior Katie Krasowski, setter Ashley Holder, 6-4 sophomore Lauren Zielinski.
7. Lemont - If the Indians are going to escape the sectional, this has to be the year. Five-foot-10
outside hitter Courtney Keefe, setter Vicki Wrobel and libero Melissa Bograd are back for
8. Sandburg - Jenny Buczek is one of the top outsides around, while 5-11 Val Cutrone and
6-foot Meg Opferman handle the middle
1st Alliance | Lions has large presence in the Illinois players to watch. Out of the top 40 players to
watch, according to the Chicago Tribune, 1st Alliance has 11 players on the list!
Jocelynn Birks, Lyons, Sr., OH - Illinois recruit is expected to become a leader for Lions.
Courtney Keefe, Lemont, Sr., OH - Four-year varsity standout leads a team that lacks depth.
Headed to Bradley.
Nora Mitros, Providence, Jr., OH - Rising star led the Celtics in kills and blocks last fall.
Caroline Niedospial, Marist, Sr., L - Two-time team MVP going to Northwestern.
Alexis Viliunas, Lyons, Jr., S - Sitting out until at least mid-September with injured wrist.
Best of the rest:
Jenny Buczek, Sandburg, Sr., OH (Kent State)
Ashley Holder, Marist, Jr., S
Erin Juley, Lyons, Sr., S (Long Beach State)
Bridget Powell, Mother McAuley, Jr., L
Caroline Rose, York, Jr., OH
Lauren Zielinski, Marist, Jr., MH
Kevin O'Neil is the coach of the month for June.
Kevin began coaching for 1st Alliance four years ago
and immediately made an impact with his team. At his
first qualifier, he led his team to the Championships
and earned a bid to Nationals. Last year, his team
finished off a very successful season to win the
JVDA 17 club division championship. He followed
that success with another championship, leading his 1st Alliance 16 Black team to the
championship of the AAU National Tournament. Way to go Kevin and we hope to keep
Kevin around for many years to come!
Congratulations to our baby booming coaches!
Baby's name: Kameron Bryan Cox
Date and time of Birth:6/22/2010 4:40am
Year of Graduation: class of 2028
Proud parents: Melissa and Justin Cox
Baby's name: Reagan Catherine Veeser
Weight 6lbs 8oz
Date and time of Birth:6/220/2010 9:12am
Year of Graduation: class of 2028
Proud parents: Noreen and Dan Veeser
Baby's name: Alyson Rose Cahill
Weight 8lbs 9oz
Date and time of Birth: 7/16/2010, 9:55 AM
Year of Graduation: class of 2028
Proud parents: Erica and David Cahill
With a very heavy emphasis on year-end performance, the final 2010 PrepVolleyball.com
Rankings for 15s and up are complete. All 1st Alliance|Lions teams are in the top 50.
18 and under ranking
1st Alliance 18 Silver - 41st
1st Alliance 18 Black - Honorable mention
17 and under ranking
1st Alliance 17 Silver - 10th
1st Alliance 17 Black - Honorable mention
16 and under ranking
1st Alliance 16 Silver - 24th
1st Alliance 16 Black - Honorable mention
15 and under ranking
Lions 15-1 - 36th
1st Alliance 17 Silver lost its first two matches at Nationals, both in three sets, then caught
fire, winning six matches in a row until being eliminated from contention by Dallas Premier
in a Challenge match. Led by Jocelynn Birks, Alliance regrouped to beat KC Power, then
agreed to a draw with Long Beach that meant T-5s for both teams.
17 Silver took 5th in a loaded open division at USAV Nationals in Reno. It has been three
years since any 1st Alliance, Lions and Fearless team has taken part in the USAV
National Championships. 1st Alliance 17 Silver didn’t show any signs of being over-
matched or out of place as the team finished 5th overall. Jocelynn Birks took home an
all-tournament award for her effort. Congratulations to the team and to Jocelynn for
What a way to end the season: 16 Black, 17 Black and 18
Black are crowned AAU National Champions! June 23, 2010
will have a place in history for 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. |
Fearless volleyball club. Back to back to back national
champs were crowned at the Disney Wide World of Sports.
18 Black started the run by winning the live televised
championship match against Club South. 17 Black was next,
capturing gold after going undefeated all four days of the tournament. 16 Black capped off the
night with a 2 game sweep of Northern Lights. Congratulations to our three national champions!
All Star and MVP awards were also received.
1st Alliance 18 Black:
MVP- Sarah McCarthy
All Star- Jen Milligan
All Star- Sydney Sauter
1st Alliance 17 Black:
MVP- Jenna Duddleston
All Star- Julia Watkins
All Star- Alexis Davito
1st Alliance 16 Black:
MVP- Lizzy Scanlon
All Star- Brittney Brown
All Star- Jackie Aird
Seniors posed for their last picture together Sunday night
at the 1st Alliance | Lions | Fearless Club Party. They
mingled and socialized with parents, teammates and
The 1st Alliance | Lions | Fearless Club Party was well
attended with alumni, current players, coaches, parents
and families! The attendees were treated with a club slideshow highlighting the season;
player, coaches and senior awards. Thank you all for attending and making the end of the year
party a success!
15 Gold Team took 2nd Place in the Prep Volleyball.com
Classic last weekend in the Dells. Not only did the team
take second, they also received three other awards:
Jen Martinez won Outstanding Coach, Gretchen
Landego won Outstanding Libero and Amanda McNab
won Outstanding Attacker. Congratulations on a great
Lions 15-1, champs of the GLC Girls Pre-National Tourna-
ment, are geared up and ready for the AAU National
Championships this upcoming week in Orlando.
Coming off a spectacular weekend where the team
was crowned champions of Pre-Nationals. The team beat
Illini Elite 15 Cardinal in a thrilling three game set (33-31,
25-27, 16-14). With games to 25 (third set to 15), you can see by the scores how hotly
contested this match was.
Lions 12 Red and Lions 12 Premium took two of three
medals in the 12 and under division at Asics Junior
National Volleyball Championships at Navy Pier to end their
seasons on a high note.
Lions 12 Red lost to a very good Puerto Rico team in the
championship of Asics, one of only 3 losses on the
season for this dominating team. The team went 37-3 overall capturing numerous medals and
tournament wins. Lions 12 Premium took 3rd at Asics, a great finish for the team. Congratu-
lations on fabulous seasons.!
Lions | Fearless swept the Asics Junior National Volleyball
Championships 13 and under division at Navy Pier,
capturing gold, silver and bronze.
Fearless 13 Red captured gold, Lions 13-1 silver while
Lions 13 Red take home bronze. It was a exciting ending
to a great season for all three teams.
Fearless 13 Blue won the 13 Club division of the GLC
Youth Classic this past weekend. In the picture to the left,
they are proudly wearing their championship Tees.
Our 12 and under teams also fared well in the GLC Youth
Classic and look to be in season ending form going into
their last tournament. The GLC Youth Classic is a preview
to the year ending Asics tournament at Navy Pier.
Fearless 12’s, shown at left,
brought home silver losing to
CVC in a close championship match.
Lions 12 Red took home bronze after losing only to CVC in
pool play and Lions 12 Premium took home 5th!
Congratulations to all the players.
Anne Mastandrea is the coach of the month for May.
Annie balances coaching two teams this year, 1st Alliance
17 Black and Club Elite 13 Black. Anne has also coached
a number of the spring clinics, and is always willing to help
out with lessons. Anne has worked position practices all
season and works specifically with our defensive players.
She is very invested in her teams and wants the best for
both of them. Annie’s practices are well organized and fast paced. Her teams have been
successful due to hard work and dedication by the players as well as Anne. Congratulations
1st Alliance teams stood out at the National Junior Classic
tournament. 17 Black won the prestigious 17 Club division,
1st Alliance 17 Silver took home silver in the 17 Open
division, only losing one match to Illini Elite in the champion-
ship and 16 Silver took home a bronze losing only to
eventual winner Nebraska Juniors in the semis.
17 Black won in convincing manner going undefeated over the three day tournament. Beating
Milwaukee Sting 17 Black in the final match of pool play sealed the deal. The team captured
three player awards for their team effort: MVP: Jenna Duddleston, Best Setter: Jill Briner
and Best Libero: Tori Clifford.
17 Open Player Awards included Jocelynn Birks for Best Attacker and Caroline ‘Carks’
Niedospial for Best Libero.
In the 16 Open, Player Awards recognized Katie Gallagher as Best Setter.
Lions 17 Red won the Palos Courts Tourney Sunday 5/30,
beating Lions 17 Gold (again) in the finals. This was the
second tournament win in a row for 17 Red.
The players decided to play a one game to 25 final, after
beating Ultimate 17 Gold in the semis. The competition was
strong and 17 Red still captured gold.
The team is definitely peaking at the right time! It was a total team effort with Emily Iverson
setting well. leading Morgan Howard, Maddie Greybar and Kate Aronson to solid attacking
efforts. Val Cutrone was blocking everything in sight and the team’s defense was VERY solid.
Steph Tassone was a vacuum.
Click here to read the June newsletter.
Coming off a seven week hiatus, 1st Alliance 18 Silver
looked strong this past weekend winning the 17/18
Central Zone. After having such a long time off, coach
Nic Paquiz wasn’t sure how his team would respond.
How would the team look, would they be rusty? He didn’t
need to worry as the team looked to be in mid-season
form. The team won the tournament beating Sky High 17
Black in the championship. Congratulations!
Lions 17 Red takes home ‘Champions’ T-shirts after
winning the Fusion Challenge on May 16th. Lions 17 Red
won the Fusion Challenge this weekend, beating Lions 17
Gold 25-20, 30-28 in the final. Congratulations to both
Lions teams for making it to the finals.
PrepVolleyball.com’s Dandy Lions list is up and Lions|1st Alliance is well represented.
Dandy Lions, presented by Team Caller, are all-around high school talents who project as
back row animals at the next level. Annemarie Hickey, Caroline Rose and Laura
Williams make the list. Here are the comments made by Team Caller about each player:
Annemarie Hickey, Sr., Joliet Catholic (Joliet IL) made the Dandy Lions 1st Team, – A no brainer
for Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, Hickey led the Angels to a 41-1 record and a second
consecutive Illinois 3A title in 2009, amassing 388 kills and 358 digs while playing best two of
three matches exclusively. She had 13 kills and 11 digs in the two-set state final, a typical stat
line for this all-around gem who will be a libero at Wisconsin. She has a pure passing platform
and plays all-out effort defense. Her feel for the game, her knowledge of the game, and her
athleticism are what set her apart.
Caroline Rose, Soph., York (Elmhurst IL) made the 5th Team. – A dynamic attacker at 5-7 with
a great vertical and a very strong defender, Rose finished 2009 with 230 kills and 328 digs
and earned all-DuPage County honors. “She is a ball of energy and her feats surprised me
many times throughout the season, whether it was an amazing dig, hit, or block against a
tough opponent,” said coach Patty Iverson.
Laura Williams, Soph., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL) was a Dandy Lion Honorable Mention.
– A two-year starter, Williams, playing outside hitter, helped Lyons reach the state Class 4A
title match in 2009. Named All Conference, Williams recorded 233 kills, 195 digs, 58 aces and
26 solo blocks for a 37-5 team last fall. An all-around talent who sets during club, she could
very well end up in the back row in college and would be well suited to the task, due to her
consistent passing and tenacious defense.
Lions 14-1 deserves kudos for a 2nd place overall finish
in 14 and Under Power League. Lions 14-1 won the
league date on 5/16 beating Ultimate 14-1, topping off a
great way to end the league season.
Another round of applause goes to Fearless 13 Red, who
was the highest 13 and under team in 14 and Under
Power League. 20 spots ahead of any other 13 yr old team in the league, Fearless 13 Red
finished 5th. The next 13 year old team was our Lions 13-1 team finishing in the top 25.
PrepVolleyball.com’s Gym Dandies list is up and Lions|1st
Alliance is well represented. Gym Dandies, presented by
Team Caller are full time defenders who work their butts
off during practice and play to help the team at all costs.
Caroline Niedospial, Brianne Riley, Bridget Powell,
and Jamie Lundstrom (pictured) make the list.
Caroline Niedospial, Jr., Marist (Chicago IL) made the Gym Dandies 2nd Team. People call her
“Carks” but Niedospial is also “Ms. Pac Man,” a defensive player who eats you alive. Fearless
in everything she does, Carks was HM All State in 2009 and will be a standout defender for
Northwestern starting in 2011. She’s been voted MVP at Marist the past two seasons."She
is quick as lightning and has the ability to reach and pick up balls quicker than any other
defensive player that we have had go through our program," said coach Natalie Holder. "That
is saying quite a bit. She is simply the best defensive player that I have seen in many, many
years." Carks finished the 2009 season with 618 digs, including more pancakes than any other,
and passed 412 balls for a 2.5 average.
Brianne Riley, Sr., Benet (Lisle IL), also made the Gym Dandies 2nd Team. She was the team
digs leader for a 35-5 Benet squad in 2009. This Kansas recruit was named First Team All
Area and Second Team All State last fall. Riley is a fierce and passionate competitor who
simply hates to lose. She works hard, constantly wants to get better and is as disciplined an
athlete as you’ll find.
Bridget Powell, Soph., Mother McAuley (Chicago IL) made the Dandies 5th Team. Powell piled
up almost 500 digs in 2009, amazing considering the state plays 2 out of 3. Quick and with a
natural ability to read the block, she was one of only two sophomores to earn All-Area
recognition by the Daily Southtown Star.
Jamie Lundstrom, Sr., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL) was a Gym Dandies Honorable Mention.
Lundstrom’s 350 digs, as well as her consistent passing and motivation to get to every ball,
helped lead Lyons to the Illinois state final in 2009. She was named to the All-Conference team
and All Academic team this year.
Kristy Krywanio is our April coach of the month. Kristy
is a first year coach with Lions and is always willing to
help out. She has subbed for several coaches for both
practices and tournaments when they needed her help.
She is always available to lend a hand. Kristy is also a
student of the game and is always looking for opportunities
to improve herself as a coach. Kristy coaches the Lions
14 Gold team and her team has an excellent winning percentage this year thanks in part to
Kristy's enthusiasm for the game!
Congratulation to 1st Alliance 17 Silver for winning the
18 and under division of the Milwaukee Sting Elite Series
this past weekend. 17 Silver defeated Milwaukee Sting
18 Gold in the championship!
16 Silver finished 2nd losing to SPVB 16 Elite in a closely
contested championship match.
Congrats to both teams.
Our teams are all doing well in their respective Great Lakes Power Leagues. Here is a break-
down of our team’s standings:
|16 and Under standings out of 164 teams.|
|1st Alliance 16 Black||2nd Place|
|Lions 16 Red||10th Place|
|Lions 15-1||11th Place|
|Lions 16 Gold||29th Place|
|Lions 15 Red||45th Place|
|Lions 15 Gold||67th Place|
|Lions 15 White||120th Place|
|14 and Under standings out of 86 teams|
|Lions 14-1||4th Place|
|Fearless 13 Red||5th Place|
|Lions 14 Red||12th Place|
|Lions 14 Gold||20th Place|
|Lions 13-1||26th Place|
|Fearless 14-1||33rd Place|
|Lions 13 Red||35th Place|
|Lions 14 White||43rd Place|
|13 and Under standings out of 47 teams.|
|Lions 13 Gold||11th Place|
|Lions 13 White||19th Place|
Lemont volleyball star Courtney Keefe is ready to dive into
any situation. The 5-foot-10 Keefe made an early college
commitment to Bradley University, a team that finished the 2009
season with a 9-23 overall record and an 0-18 mark in the
Missouri Valley Conference.
Click here to read more about Courtney and her commitment to
Bradley in a Lemont TribLoca.com story by Jeff Vorva.
A huge congratulations to our teams competing in 12 Power League. The Lions 12 Red team won
every Power League and Fearless 12s ended up second overall.
Our club had five of the top 12 teams in the 12 and under power league. In addition to Lions 12 Red
and Fearless 12s, these teams from our club were one of these top finishers: Lions 12 Blue, Lions
12 Premium, and Lions 12 Gold. In fact, we were the only club with more than one team in the top
12 and we had five of them!!
Lions 11 Navy was the highest finishing 11 year-old team in 12 and under power league finishing
in the top 16 teams overall. This is the highest finish of any 11 year-old team from any club that
anyone can recall. Our 11 Teal team was the second highest finishing 11 year-old team.
Congratulations on this very impressive showing.
Click here to read the May newsletter.
1st Alliance 17 Silver and 16 Silver score Open
Bids to USAV
Nationals in Reno. 17 Silver finished 5th and 16 Silver finished
3rd. This earned open bids for both teams to nationals later this
summer. This was the first time all year that 16 and 17 Silver
got the chance to play teams from Texas, Florida, California,
Colorado, Minnesota, and Iowa. The Northern Lights Qualifier
was a great experience for both teams.
17 Silver was the first team in the program to earn an open bid this past Saturday in Minneapolis.
The team captured a bid after locking in first place in their pool with a win over Skyline. The team
went 7-1 over the weekend with the only loss coming from eventual tournament winner and
nationally ranked #7 Long Beach Rockstars.
16 Silver was in a do or die situation Sunday after
first match in gold medal round Saturday night to A5. The team
came out ready to play beating Northern Lights 16-1 and Nike
Six Pack. They went on to avenge an earlier loss to Front
Range for 3rd place overall finish. The team is shown at left
looking on as Coach Melissa Cox signs paperwork for their
bid to Nationals. Congratulations to both teams
Fearless 13Red Team had a successful weekend at the JVA Youth Classic in
Kentucky on April 16-18th, placing 3rd in the Open Division. Fearless lost a close
match to Team Indiana 25-20, 25-23 in the semi-finals. Congratulations!
There was a lot of supurb play last
as our 10s, 11s and 12s competed in the Lions
Jrs. Winter League Championships!
Pictured is the 11 Red Team which took home
the Silver Division Championship. Congratulations
to them and these other teams for winning their
Gold division champions-Lions 11 Navy
Gold division runner-ups-Lions 11 Teal
Silver division champions-Lions 11 Red
Gold division champions-Lions 10 LT Navy
Gold division runner-ups-Lions 10 Ogden Pink
Silver division champions-Lions 10 Ogden Purple
Silver division runner-ups-Lions 10 Ogden Red
Lions 13-1 won gold in a dominating effort at the
2nd Annual Spring Classic over the weekend.
The team went 7-0 en route to a championship.
13-1’s defeated Lions 13 Red team in the
championship match. Congratulations to both
teams for making it an all Lions final.
Kristee Conrad is our April coach of the month.
Kristee balances school, playing volleyball and
coaching our Lions 12 Navy team. Kristee is
very creative, hard working and always does
the "extras" that make a great coach. We are
thrilled to have you back at Lions as a coach this
season! Congratulations to Kristee.
Click here to read the April newsletter.
PrepVolleyball.com recognizes thirteen 1st Alliance and Lions players in their "Soph 79" list. The
"Soph 79 list," recognizes the top sophomores based on high school achievement in the land.
Congratulations to all our players that were recognized.
THE 2009 SOPH 79
Alexis Viliunas, 6-1 S, Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois) – Named Second Team All State
by the Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-Gazette, Viliunas had a monster year in leading
nationally-ranked Lyons to a 37-5 record and second place in the Illinois 4A tournament. Utilized
more as a hitter in 2009, Viliunas responded with 210 kills to go along with her team-leading 543
assists. She was a top server and blocker as well.
HIGHEST HONORABLE MENTION
Ashley Holder, 5-7 Setter, Marist (Chicago, Illinois) – All Conference and All Area by the
Southtown Star, Holder was first on the Redhawks and in the area in assists with 796,
first in aces and service points and second in digs. She is smart and skilled and freezes
blockers with her deceptive jump sets. She is a fierce competitor who enjoys pressure
and knows how to run an offense and instill confidence in her hitters.
Bridget Powell, 5-6 Libero, Mother McAuley (Chicago, Illinois) – Powell piled up almost 500 digs
in 2009, amazing considering the state plays 2 out of 3. Quick and with a natural ability to read
the block, she was one of only two sophomores to earn All-Area recognition by the Daily
Caroline Rose, 5-7 OH, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) – A dynamic attacker with a great vertical and
a very strong defender, Rose finished 2009 with 230 kills and 328 digs and earned all-DuPage
County honors. "She is a ball of energy and her feats surprised me many times throughout the
season, whether it was an amazing dig, hit, or block against a tough opponent," said coach
Patty Iverson. "Our senior outside hitter was during part of the season and Caroline picked up
the slack and then some. She is a major reason for our success this past season."
ELITE HONORABLE MENTION
Laura Williams, 5-10 OH, Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois) – A two-year starter, Williams
helped Lyons reach the state Class 4A title match in 2009. Named All Conference, Williams
recorded 233 kills, 195 digs, 58 aces and 26 solo blocks for a 37-5 team last fall. An all-around
talent who can also set, her aggressive serve helped to keep teams off balance all year long.
HIGH HONORABLE MENTION
Morgan Semmelhack, 6-0 MB, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) – York’s leading blocker in 2009, with
126 rejections, Semmelhack can play several positions along the front row. She had 140 kills
hitting out of the middle and also was one of the team’s toughest servers.
Taryn Trubich, 5-9 OH, Plainfield Central (Plainfield, Illinois) – All Conference and All Area in
Plainfield, Trubich is a hard-working, competitive athlete who led the Wildcats in kills (230) and
aces (62) in 2009 and was second in digs with 242. A primary passer, Trubich also has setter
skills. She was a Second Team All County pick.
Lauren Zielinski, 6-4 MB, Marist (Chicago, Illinois) – Quick for her size and beginning to realize
how dominant she can be, Zielinski was a scary blocker who led the team in solo stuffs and
was among the leaders in all of the Chicagoland area. You simply can’t get the ball around
"Spiderman." A high efficiency hitter as well, Zielinski earned All Conference recognition and has
the reach to hit over most blockers and the power to hit through them.
Brittany Brown, 5-11 RS, Nazareth (LaGrange Park, Illinois) – A strong contributor for Nazareth,
Brown is emerging as a force both blocking and hitting on the right side.
Katie Gallagher, 5-7 Setter, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) – Part of a 6-2 offense at York, Gallagher
plays bigger than she is. She jumps well, jump sets even better and has a strong serve.
Megan Miller, 5-4 DS, Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois) – A strong passer, Miller added 65
digs for a 37-5 team that reached the Illinois state finals in 2009. She is a tenacious and
enthusiastic back row presence.
Nora Mitros, 6-0 RS, Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Illinois) – A great leaper, Mitros has great
skills and athleticism. One rival coach marveled: "She simply crushes the ball!"
Jessie Tulacka, 6-1 RS, Downers Grove North (Downers Grove, Illinois) – A matchup problem
for most teams, Tulacka was second on the team with 55 blocks and added 88 kills and 38 assists.
She is a skilled player who will likely set the Trojans in 2010.
1st Alliance March Podcast is online. Click here to check out interviews with some of our coaches.
Lions 15-1 had a strong showing last weekend in Louisville
by taking second, losing to KIVA 15 Red in the finals. They
had quality wins over nationally ranked NKYVB 15-Tsunmai,
A5 15-1 and Union 15-Garvey.
The parents were extremely supportive and cheering their
team on all that they could! This will prepare them well as
they head into the MidEast qualifier next weekend.
Lions Jrs. 12 Red wins Palos Challenge after being down in
the quarterfinal game and the championship match! The team
went 7-0 behind the great play of EVERYONE!
12 Red pulled out come from behind victories in the quarterfinals
AND finals. The team was down 17-24 in the quarterfinals vs.
Club Kace when Ariel Hamby went back and served out the
game! They then defeated Fearless in the semi-finals to go on to play a very big and talented Sky
High Black team in the finals.
Red was down 11-14 in the 3rd game when Kendal Kavanaugh went back to serve. It was a
combined effort of GREAT defense and Kendal's serving that help Red edge out Sky High and win
16-14 in 3 games. Way to go Lions 12 Red!
1st Alliance 17 Silver has huge weekend with wins against SPVB 18 Elite, Fusion 18 Black and
Sky High 17 Black! The final weekend of 18 and under power league completed this weekend and
1st Alliance 17 Silver made a statement with their strong play. Finishing 4th out of 119 18 and
under teams, 17 Silver knocked off nationally ranked SPVB 18 Elite, Fusion 18 Black and Sky High
17 Black. Strong play all around led to the victories over the tough competition.
1st Alliance 16 Black’s Food Drive was a huge success this past weekend in the Wisconsin Dells.
The food repository from the Dells was extremely happy with the amount of food that was
collected by the team. The food that was collected will be used to feed over 400 families in the
The March 2010 PrepVolleyball.com National Rankings are out and 1st Alliance and Lions Jrs. teams
are recognized across the board in the 15 -18 age divisions. Here is a list of the teams recognized
and comments made by PrepVolleyball.com:
Lions 15-1 ranked 13th (listed as Lions “Gate” (Illinois))
Pre-season ranking: 11. This team has been inconsistent in the early going, but the talent is
undeniable. “We can take anyone to three,” said coach Monica Renfrow. That is both a blessing
and a curse.
1st Alliance 16 Silver ranked 15th (listed as “Quench Your” 1st Alliance (Illinois))
Pre-season ranking: 12. A split with KiVA and win over Sky High lands Alliance in the No. 15 spot
in these rankings. The team, which finished fourth in Chicago over President’s Day Weekend, has
lost to only two 16s teams all season.
1st Alliance 16 Black honorable mention
1st Alliance 17 Silver ranked 16th (listed as “I Saw Her” 1st Alliance (Illinois))
Pre-season ranking: 13. This team’s kind of a big deal. Check out “Carks” singing and Chelsea
Cunningham doing ballet for yourself at
1st Alliance 17 Black ranked 58th
1st Alliance 18 Silver ranked 32nd (listed as 1st Alliance “and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” (Illinois))
Pre-season ranking: 39. A whole bunch of injuries are holding this team back at present.
All teams fared well at the 3rd Annual Showcase Event in the Wisconsin Dells over the 3/5 – 3/7
Weekend. Here is a list of the 1st Alliance and Lions Jrs. Results:
1st Alliance 18 Black: 12th place overall and a 2nd place finish in the Silver Division.
1st Alliance 17 Silver: 3rd place. Jocelynn Birks took home an all-tourney award.
1st Alliance 17 Black: 9th place overall winning the Silver Division.
Lions Jrs. 17 Red and 17 Gold: tied for 13th place.
1st Alliance 16 Silver and 16 Black: tied for 5th.
Mary Passananti has been chosen as the coach of the month
for February. Mary started coaching for Lions Jrs. when the
club was in its second year of existence and her daughter,
Jenna, now our setter coach was in third grade. She has
coached our fifth grade team, 11 Navy for MANY years. She
is known for her great enthusiasm for the game and dedication
to the young player. Many of our “studs” got their start on
Mary’s team where she not only taught them how to play the game, but how to love the game. In
addition to Mary’s time with her team, she volunteers as our picture lady and helps our photographer
Bob with all of the picture taking, ordering and distribution of the team photos. If you see a large
stuffed Lion on a team bench with a faded sweater, look for Mary to be close by. Thanks Mary
18 Silver’s Lexi Finger has been recognized for excelling both on the court and in the classroom.
She was voted 3rd Team 2009 PrepVolleyball.com High School Volleyball Academic All American
list. A 5-7 Libero from Lockport, IL, Lexi is a two-year All Conference and All Area performer.
She was also team captain for the Porters in 2009.
Academically, her 4.68 GPA on a 4.0 scale ranks Finger 11th in her class out of 965 students
(top 1.1 percent). A member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and an
Illinois State Scholar, Finger scored an astounding 34 out of 36 on the ACT test. She will play next
year for Colgate University.
Lions 14 Boys round out their season by taking gold in the
Developmental League! Ending their season on a winning note,
the Lions 14 Boys team brought home a gold medal in the
Developmental League. Click here to see a larger version of
this championship team.
Click here to read the March newsletter.
The 1st Alliance 18 Power League Podcast is now online. Click here to hear Club Highlights plus
interviews with coaches and players from 1st Alliance 16 Silver, 17 Silver and 17 Gold.
A recap of 2.20/2.21 weekend play shows that battling the injury bug seems to be the biggest
obstacle of all the older teams. Although many teams have been bitten, the teams are still holding
their own in the Great Lakes Power League.
17 Silver went 3-0 on Sunday in Pool B holding an overall 7th place ranking in the league. 18 Black
went 3-0 on Sunday in Pool C and move up to Pool B. 16 Silver finally got over the Wisconsin
Juniors 17-1 hump by knocking them off in two on Sunday. The team went on to win the next
match moving up to Pool C.
The 1st Alliance February Podcast is now online. Click here to hear Club Highlights plus interviews
with the coaches from 1st Alliance 16 Black, Lions 12 Red, Lions 12 Blue and Lions 11 Navy.
Beth Keck is our coach of the month for January. Beth started
her coaching career many years ago leading the Lions 13
White team. From there she moved to the 14Red team, 16 Red
team and then onto Alliance where she has coached the 16
Silver team until moving to the 17Silver team this year. Beth has
been known for her tough but fair style of coaching. She
strives to excel in her coaching knowledge and recently put
together a drill book. Beth assists outside the gym with the website development as well as many
other areas including assisting with recruiting and coach development. Congratulations to Beth!
Lions Jrs. Players Sophia Dodd and Jessica Brezwyn were named to the 2009 FROSH 59 list
by PrepVolleyball.com. The FROSH 59 comprises of the best high school freshmen in the United
States according to PrepVolleyball.com.
Sophia Dodd, 5-10 S/RS, Saint Ignatius (Chicago, Illinois) – A five-tool player, Dodd had a big 2009
impact on a Saint Ignatius team that finished 32-7, the best record in school history. A setter and
hitter in the team’s 6-2 system, Dodd amassed 488 assists, 191 digs and 111 kills last fall in what
was supposed to be a rebuilding year. “She was the only girls to be in the top four of every
category we keep stats for and the only freshmen to make all conference in the Girls Catholic
Athletic Conference,” said coach Erik Eastman.
Jessica Brezwyn, 5-9 OH, Hinsdale South (Darien, Illinois) – A future star, Brezwyn was asked
to carry a heavy load for the young Hornets and performed admirably, racking up almost 280
kills to go along with 151 digs, 29 blocks and 45 aces. Brezwyn was named Honorable Mention
All Area and Newcomer of the Year. “She will be a force to be reckoned with in the future,”
said coach Lisa Jablonski. “She is a competitor who is strong and smart.”
Shawn Myszka presents “The Ins and Outs of Volleyball
Jumping” to 1st Alliance Players and Coaches May 14th and
Shawn Myszka is currently the Athletic Performance
Director of Explosive Edge Athletics in Eden Prairie, Minnesota,
which currently trains many of the top volleyball players in the
state in Minnesota on all levels. In addition, Shawn serves as a consultant to coaches at numerous
volleyball programs throughout the state. Shawn is a very well known and highly sought-after jump
clinician who has quickly become a leader in the field of jump training, plyometrics, and power
development through out the industry. He is a frequent presenter at strength coach and sports-
specific conferences nationwide.
Shawn, who is the Founder of the Plyomterics/Jump Training Special Interest Group,
has also recently developed the first-ever Jump Training Certification designed for coaches looking
to specialize in training to increase jump performance. In addition, Shawn was voted the 2008
Minnesota NSCA Trainer of the Year. 1st Alliance welcomes Sean on May 14th and 15th as he
trains our coaches and players on jump training techniques.
Click here for more information on the jump clinics.
Click here to read the February newsletter.
Our 15 and 16 year old teams had a strong showing in the 2nd weekend of Great Lakes Power
League. 1st Alliance 16 Black continues their strong play with two second place finishes in the
Great Lakes 16 Power League over the 1.30 and 1.31 weekend. Lions 15-1 and Lions 16 Red
also fared well rounding out respectable 9th and 12th place seeds for the league play in a few
Three 1st Alliance | Lions Jrs. players made the prestigious 2009 PrepVolleyball.com High School
All Americans list: Annemarie Hickey, MaryKate Imrie, Jocelynn Birks and Brianne Riley.
In making its announcement, PrepVolleyball.com noted that “to be a High School All-American,
you must have made a massive impact on your high school team. 'Massive' is subjective, but at
a minimum requires that you be the best player on your team and one of the top 3-5 players in your
state regardless of class, except for volleyball hotbeds like California, Texas, Indiana and Illinois,
where you must be among the 10 best HIGH SCHOOL players regardless of class.”
Annemarie Hickey is a 5'9" Senior outside hitter who played her high school volleyball at Joliet
Catholic (Joliet, Illinois). She is a two time PrepVolleyball All American.
MaryKate Imrie, a 5'10" Senior setter, played high school volleyball at Sandburg (Orland Park, Illinois).
Jocelynn Birks is 6'2" and a Junior outside hitter at Lyons Township High School (LaGrange, Illinois).
Brianne Riley is a Senior Libero at Benet (Lisle, Illinois) who stands 5'7".
Lions Jrs. Volleyball Club will be running a four session volleyball clinic on Sundays at the South
Suburban Sports Complex (1329 Commerce Drive, Crete, IL ) for boys and girls in grades K thru 8
on 2/21, 2/28, 3/7 and 3/14. Click here for more details and to sign up.
Checkout the slideshow presentation of our 1st Alliance | Lions
Jrs. | Fearless alumni and high school achievements. We are
very proud of all of our alumni and current players.
Click Here to see the video.
Alexis Viliunas made Lyons roar and was recently named
as one of the 29 finalists for 2009 National High School
Sophomore of the Year. Alexis Viliunas, 6-0 S, Lyons
Township (La Grange, Illinois), was Named Second Team
All State by the Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-
Gazette. Viliunas had a monster year in leading nationally-
ranked Lyons to a 37-5 record and second place in the Illinois
4A tournament. Utilized more as a hitter in 2009, Viliunas responded with 210 kills to go along
with her team-leading 543 assists. She was a top server and blocker as well.
MaryKate Imrie and Jill Paluch were nominated for the 2009 Andi Collins Nation’s Top Senior
MaryKate Imrie, 5-10, Sandburg (Orland Park IL) – Spunky Eagles setter earned First Team All
State and First Team All Area honors after leading Sandburg to a 32-7 record and status as one
of the state’s best teams. Imrie, who will attend Illinois-Chicago, amassed 719 assists, 260 digs
and 115 kills in 2009.
Jill Paluch, 5-4, Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park IL) – Named Honorable Mention All State, this
top 250 Senior Ace headed to Akron led Nazareth Academy to its first ever regional and sectional
championships in 2009. Paluch is a winner who plays with intensity and desire on every point.
A successful weekend it was for 14s, 15s and 16s Lions and
Alliance girl’s team. Lions 14-1 won the Palos Courts tournament
Sunday 1/10 by beating the Altitude 14 Black team in the finals.
The 14-1 team won every match without dropping a single set!
16 and under Power League results: Alliance 16 Black went
6-0 in matches; and 12-0 in sets. Currently ranked 4th overall in
Lions 16 Red went 6-0 in matches; and 12-0 in sets. Currently ranked 7th overall in points.
Lions 15-1 went 6-0 in matches; and 12-0 in sets. Currently ranked 15th overall in points.
The 1st Alliance 17 Silver team made their acting debuts
Sunday at Lyons Township. Check out the individual player
interviews to get to know the girls.
Click Here to see the video.
The girl’s 2010 club season is off to a great start. 1st Alliance
16 Black began the season with a dominating effort at Sky High
in Crystal Lake this past weekend where they went undefeated
at the Sky High tournament. Alliance 16 Black beat one of our
own, Lions 15-1, in a hotly contested final. The sets were very
competitive until Alliance 16 Black pulled away at the very end.
Lions 15-1 had an impressive showing, beating multiple 16 and
under teams including the Edge 16-1 team in the semifinals.
In other league action, 1st Alliance 18 Silver, 18 Black and 17 Silver won their respective 18 Power
League pools both Saturday and Sunday. They are currently ranked in the top 9 out of 120 teams.
1st Alliance 17 Black also had a great showing the first weekend of play and isn’t far behind with
a top 15 ranking.
1st Alliance 16 Silver is currently the second ranked 16’s team in the 18 Power League and is 24th