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11.28.11 - Lions/1st Alliance Alums Gather

26 Alumni came home and participated in the "Home for the
Holidays" Lions/1st Alliance Alumni Match.

It was a fun night for all.


11.14.11 - Lions|1st Alliance Day of Service

Over 225 Lions/ 1st Alliance players, coaches and family
members lent a hand this past Saturday to the Feed My Starving
Children organization in Aurora. The group packed 327 boxes of
food. Each box contains 36 bags of MannaPack Rice. A single
bag of food will feed 6 children. So, the group provided over
SEVENTY THOUSAND meals for the hungriest children around
the world. The project was a great success and we thank all
of you who participated.

Click here to see pictures from the event.


12.14.11 - Viliunas named Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year

In its 27th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The
Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, today announced
Alexis Viliunas as its 2011-12 Gatorade Illinois Volleyball Player of the

The award, recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also
high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character
demonstrated on and off the court. It also makes Viliunas a finalist for
the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award.

Alexis is a member of the 1st Alliance 18 Silver team.

Click here for the Gaterade News Release.


12.14.11 - Home for the Holidays Lions/1st Alliance Alumni Match Tues Dec 27th 8-9:15pm at LTSC

We are excited to say we are offering an alumni match this year during your winter holiday break.
The match will be on Tuesday, 12.27 from 8-9:15pm at LTSC. You will come in during the 18s
practice and play each other as well as the current 18s. We are looking to field 8 teams: the 3 18s
and 5 alumni. Practice that night begins at 7pm so feel free to come in and warm up anytime after 7pm.

Please come and celebrate the holidays with us!!


11.14.11 - 1st Alliance Players Make News Gazette All-State

The 30th News-Gazette All-State team includes many 1st
Alliance players. Here they are with News-Gazette comments:

30th News-Gazette All-State First team:

Katie Gallagher York Sr. 5-7 S Iowa State recruit had 633 of
the team's 689 assists, to go along with 187 digs, 52 blocks,
49 kills and 35 aces for a 32-4 team which lost in the Class 4A
sectional finals.

Caroline Rose (pictured) York Sr. 5-8 OH Western Michigan recruit had team-high totals of 270
kills and 267 digs, 33 blocks and 30 aces for a 32-4 team which was ranked among the team's top
125 prep teams. Hitting efficiency was .258.

Alexis Viliunas Lyons Sr. 6-1 S Illinois recruit had 644 assists, 320 kills, 300 digs, 54 aces and 43
blocks for a 30-9 team. Has school-record 2,202 assists (top 25 all-time in IHSA).

30th News-Gazette All-State Second Team:

Ashley Holder Marist Sr. 5-8 S Uncommitted, amassed 1,121 assists (second in IHSA history) for
34-8 team which placed fourth in Class 4A. Had 454 digs and 33 aces. Ended career with school-
record 2,940 assists (fourth in IHSA history) and is second with 149 aces.

Katie Urchell Providence Catholic Sr. 5-8 OH Uncommitted, the four-year varsity starter had 268
digs, 146 kills, 44 blocks and 35 aces this year for a 28-9 team. finished career with 1,045 digs and
519 kills.

Laura Williams Lyons Sr. 5-10 OH Duke walkon had 334 kills, 99 assists, 53 aces and 30 blocks
for a 30-9 team. Finished with 964 career kills and 209 career aces.

30th News-Gazette All-State Special Mention 50

Melissa Deatsch York Jr. 6-1 OH
Sophia Dodd St. Ignatius Jr. 5-11 S/OH
Jill Hickey Joliet Catholic Sr. 5-6 L
Melissa Nava Hinsdale South Sr. 6-0 MH
Lizzy Scanlon Mother McAuley Sr. 5-10 OH
Jessie Tulacka Downers Grove North Sr. 6-1 OH
Nora Young Lisle Benet Sr. 6-1 OH

30th News-Gazette Honorable Mention 100

Megan Miller Lyons Sr. 5-5 L
Nora Mitros Providence Catholic Sr. 6-1 OH
Bridget Powell Mother McAuley Sr. 5-8 L
Caleigh Ryan Glenbard West Jr. 5-10 S
Mallory Salis Marist Jr. 5-10 OH Add’l Notes:

Other Honors

Amber Clay- Hammond Times Illinois All area Team and the Hammond Times Illinois Girls Volleyball
Player of the Year
Ashley Holder- Week of Oct 24-30 MaxPreps/AVCA Hign School Players of the Week


11.28.11 - Homme, Cardott, Joyce, Mullaney, Hoffman Make
ACVA All-American Teams

With the regular collegiate volleyball season at an end, many 1st
Alliance Alums are being recognized for an outstanding year.
Leading the group are two players that made the American
Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Team.

Brittany Cardott, a Junior Setter at Millikin University was
named AVCA Division III Honorable Mention while Lindsay
(pictured), a Sophomore University of West Florida Middlbe Blocker was named
AVCA Division II Third-Team All-America.

Melissa Joyce a junior outside hitter at Robert Morris and Kayla Mullaney an outside hitter at St.
Xavier were also named AVCA NAIA Honorable Mention All-Americans. Kristin Hoffman rounds
out the alumni awards with a 2011 AVCA Division I All-Region Team award. Hoffman is a senior
setter at Northern Illinois University.

Here are All-Conference honors earned by our Alums:

Atlantic Sun Conference

Midwest Conference

Central Atlantic
Collegiate Conference.

Libero of the Year:
Jamie Lundstrom, Belmont

Catherine Guido

Jill Keeve

Chicagoland Collegiate Conference



Desiree Aramburu
Melissa Joyce
Kayla Mullaney
Kim Scudder
Rebecca Bograd
Christine Bowe
Terese Byrne

Kelsey Safranek

Setter of the Year; All MAC
Kristin Hoffman

College Conference
of Illinois and Wisconsin

Gulf South


Brittany Cardott
Maddie Greybar

Lindsey Homme

Click here for an article about Lindsay Homme's selection.


11.18.11 - Viliunas leads talented Chicago Tribune All-State Team

"The 6-foot-1 Viliunas' diverse skills on the court — setting, hitting,
blocking, digging and serving — match her cooking talents," according
to the Tribune article. "She wrapped up a stellar career with a host of
achievements, finishing with a school-record 2,202 assists and
compiling 704 kills, 820 digs, 145 blocks and 147 aces.

Viliunas, Williams and Megan Miller led a young Lyons team to within a
few points of a third consecutive Class 4A state trip. For her leadership
on and off the court, combined with 644 assists, 320 kills, 300 digs, 43
blocks and 54 aces, Viliunas is the 2011 Chicago Tribune girls volleyball
player of the year." Click here to read the rest of the Tribune story. Picture by the Tribune.

1st Alliance player Caroline Rose joins Viliunas on the Tribune All-State First Team and Mallory Salis,
another 1st Alliance player, made the Tribune All-State Second Team. Here is what the Tribune had
to say about these selections:

Caroline Rose
School: York.
Class: Senior.
Position: Outside hitter.
Numbers: 287 kills, 291 digs, 39   blocks, 32 aces.
College: Western Michigan.
FYI: At 5-foot-8, Rose was one of the most prolific
  hitters in the state the last two years, finishing
  with 642 kills.
They said it: "Caroline is extremely quick, jumps
  well, has many shots and is a very good ball-
  handler. But to me, the most important character-
  istic is her coachability. Her positive attitude in
  practice and games has made her a good role
  model for the younger players in our program."
  — York coach Patty Iverson.
Alexis Viliunas
School: Lyons.
Class: Senior.
Position: Setter.
Numbers: 320 kills, 644 assists, 300 digs, 54 aces,
  43 blocks.
College: Illinois.
FYI: Her older brother, Eddie, is a junior tight end on
  the Illinois football team.
They said it: "Alexis leads by example and maintains
  her cool in extremely tense game situations and
  clearly is a top performer for a setter."
  — Lyons coach Joann Pyritz.

Mallory Salis

School: Marist.
Class: Junior.
Position: Outside hitter.
Numbers: 414 kills, 49 blocks, 352 digs, 62 aces.
College: Ohio.
FYI: Salis ranks second in school history with 684
  kills, 205 behind Abby Nelson (849).
They said it: "Mallory is the total package as an
  outside hitter. She's a six-rotation weapon. She
  has grown into a court leader and a savvy hitter
  who is challenging to block because of her
  vertical leap and ability to read the opponents
  defense." — Marist coach Natalie Holder.

The Tribune also selected these 1st Alliance players for Special Mention:
  Amber Clay, Marian Catholic, So., OH;
  Sophia Dodd, St. Ignatius, Jr., S;
  Katie Gallagher, York, Sr., S;
  Ashley Holder, Marist, Sr., S;
  Jenna Jacobson, Young, Sr., S;
  Taylor Kasal, Downers Grove North, Sr., OH;
  Kelly Marcinek, Marist, Jr., OH;
  Nora Mitros, Providence, Sr., RS;
  Melissa Nava, Hinsdale South, Sr., MH;
  Gabby Pethokoukis, Benet, Sr., MB;
  Bridget Powell, Mother McAuley, Sr., L;
  Morgan Semmelhack, York, Sr., MH;
  Jessie Tulacka, Downers Grove North, Sr., OH;
  Katie Urchell, Providence, Sr., OH;
  Laura Williams, Lyons, Sr., OH

Click here for the complete Tribune First Team. Click here for the Tribune Second Team. Click here
for the Tribune Special Menion players.


11.17.11 - Eight 1st Alliance Players in All-Star Game

On December 3rd at 5 pm, eight 1st Alliance players will
participate in the 2011 Illinois HS Girls Volleyball All Star Game.
The game will be played at Moraine Valley Community College
in Palos Hills.

The all-stars selected have been assigned to teams. Click here
for the website complate listing.

Team Pink, coached by our very own Natalie Holde, will include these 1st Alliance players:
  S - Ashley Holder – Marist
  OH – Lizzy Scanlon – Mother Mcauley
  RS – Nora Mitros – Providence

Team White will include these 1st alliance players:
  OH - Jessie Tulacka – Downers Grove North
  OH – Laura Williams – Lyons
  S – Alexis Villaunis – Lyons
  MH – Melissa Nava – Hinsdale South
  OH – Caroline Rose – York


11.17.11 - Holder Leads SouthtownStar 2011 All-Area Team

Marist’s Ashley Holder was named SouthtownStar 2011 Girls
Volleyball Player of the Year and leads a 1st Alliance rich group of

" She’s a career record-holder at Marist in assists (2,871), service
points (625), good serves (1,167), serve attempts (1,179), good sets
(7,082) and set attempts (7,117)," said the SouthtownStar website
article naming her Player of the Year. ". In 2011, Holder led the area in
assists with 1,121. She also compiled 454 digs, 220 service points,
33 aces and 28 blocks. She was the centerpiece on a Marist team that
made program history by being the first to compete on state finals
weekend. The RedHawks finished fourth in Class 4A with a 30-7 record. 'It (getting to the state
finals) was pretty important, not for all of us who played this season, but for those who played
in the seasons before us,' Holder said. 'The past couple of years we kept getting closer and closer
and closer. This year was really the year that we set the tone and pushed past that barrier.' Cool,
calm and collected every step of the way was Holder."

1st Alliance players that made the SouthtownStar All-Area Team are:

Krista Brakauskas
School: Providence
Year: Junior
Position: Setter
Assists: 727, Service Points: 316, Digs: 202.
Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference.
Amber Clay
School: Marian Catholic
Year: Sophomore
Position: Outside hitter
Kills: 311, Digs: 134, Aces: 35.
Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference.

Jill Conrad
School: Stagg
Year: Junior
Position: Setter
Assists: 251, Kills: 240, Service Points: 241, Digs: 240.

Notable: All SouthWest Suburban Red;
    2010 SouthtownStar All-Area.

Ashley Holder
School: Marist
Year: Senior
Position: Setter
Assists: 1,121, Digs: 454, Service Points: 200.

Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference;
   three-time SouthownStar All-Area

Lizzy Scanlon
School: Mother McAuley
Year: Senior
Position: Outside hitter
Kills: 191, Digs: 214.

Notable: GCAC Red Player of the Year.

Mallory Salis
School: Marist
Year: Junior
Position: Outside hitter
Kills: 414, Digs: 352, Service Points: 200, Aces: 62.

Notable: All-East Suburban Catholic Conference.

Click here to read the SouthsideStar article on their allstar team selections. Click here to read the
SouthsideStar article naming Ashley Holder Player of the Year.



11.17.11 - Scudder and Mullaney Pace SXU to Best Season in History
                 Guido Named Player of the Year

After recently completing one of the best seasons in program history
with a 30-5 overall record, the Saint Xavier University volleyball team
landed five of its players on the 2011 All- Chicagoland Collegiate
Athletic Conference (CCAC) Volleyball Team - including two 1st
Alliance alums, Kim Scodder (pictured top left) and Kayla Mullaney.

Scudder is a senior middle blocker and Mullaney a junior outside
hitter. Mullaney was also named the 2011 CCAC Co- Player of the

Click here for the complete story on the CCAC website.

Also making headlines was alum Catherine Guido (pictured bottom
left) . She was named Midwest Conference 2011 Player of the Year
for her performance on the St. Norbert College team.

Guido, a defensive specialist, finished third in the nation for the
regular season with 6.87 digs per set as she helped the Green
Knights win their 11th MWC Championship and their fourth MWC
Tournament title.

Click here for the Midwest Conference story.


11.17.11 - AVCA names two 1st Alliance players All-American

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has
named 1st Alliance players Alexis Viliunas and Katie
to their 6th annual Under Armour Girls High School
All-America Teams.

Viliunas, a 6'1" setter from Lyons Township High School in
LaGrange was named Second Team All-America for 2011-2012.
She is committed to attend the University of Illinois.

Gallagher is a 5'8" setter from York High School in Elmhurst and was an Honorable Mention Selection.

Each of the 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 Alamodome on December 16 in San
Antonio, TX., in conjunction with the 2011 AVCA Annual Convention.

Click here to read the AVCA announcement.


11.14.11 - Jillian Keeve Receives All-CACC First Team Honors

Jillian Keeve, 1st Alliance alum now at Holy Name, is receiving All-
CACC first team honors for the second straight season. She is
averaging a team-best 2.86 kills per set, which ranks her among the
conference leaders in kills. Keeve is also averaging 2.19 digs per set
to go along with 47 service aces and 35 total blocks.

Keeve currently sits second all-time in program history with 1,286
career kills. She trails former standout Jennifer O'Connor by only 112
kills. O'Connor recorded 1,398 career kills from 2005-2008. Keeve is
also ranked among the team's all-time leaders in service aces (5th -
142), digs (7th - 871) and total blocks (9th - 128).

Click here to read more on the Holy Name University Tigers website.


11.14.11 - Safranek Earns All-Horizon League Honors

UIC junior outside hitter Kelsey Safranek (Downers Grove, Ill./
Downers Grove South) was selected to the all-Horizon League

"The 2011 season marks Safranek’s third-consecutive season
to earn an all-Horizon League honor," reports the UIC website.
"As a freshman (2009), Safranek was selected to the all-
Newcomer team, followed by being named to the all-Horizon
League team as a sophomore in 2010.

"Safranek sits atop of the Horizon League in number of kills with 455 at a clip of 4.42 per set. She
has also chipped in 236 digs and 27 blocks, three of which were solo blocks. Safranek was
selected as the Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 12 after her performance at the Dunn Hospitality
Invitational, where she logged 55 kills in the three matches, including a (then) career-high 28 kills
against Southeast Missouri State. Safranek bested her career-high kills as she hammered down
33 kills against Youngstown State on Nov. 5."

Click here to read the UIC article.


11.14.11 - Keefe Named MVC Freshman Of The Week Again

For the second time in four weeks, freshman outside hitter
Courtney Keefe (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) has been named the
Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Week announced
by the league office Monday afternoon after helping Bradley to
home victories against Drake and Creighton.

Keefe averaged a team-best 3.12 kills and 3.75 digs per set,
helping Bradley to a sweep of Drake and five-set win against
Creighton. She had nine kills and a match-high 13 digs in a three-set victory against Drake on senior
night for the Braves.

Keefe turned in her second double-double of the year, tallying a season and match-high 16 kills to
go along with 17 digs and two blocks in a five-set win against the Bluejays. The win against
Creighton snapped a 12-match losing skid in the all-time series and moved BU into eighth in the
standings. The Braves moved within a half game of seventh-place Drake and two games of sixth-
place Indiana State for the final spot in next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference

The MVC Freshman of the Week honor is the second this season for Keefe, who joined Creighton's
Michelle Sicner and Missouri State's Olivia Brand as the only multiple winners of the award this year.

Over the last seven matches, Keefe is averaging a team-leading 3.21 kills per set and Bradley
(11-15 overall, 4-12 MVC) is 4-3 during that span. She has helped the Braves to their first winning
home record (7-6) and the most wins since finishing the 2005 campaign 10-5 at home en route to a
16-17 overall record.


11.14.11 - Alums Excel in Volleyball and Academics

Congratulations to our alumni who are showing they can
balance class and volleyball:

Kristin Hoffman, (pictured) a Northern Illinois senior from
Batavia, Illinois who is a history major with a 3.97 grade point
average, earned a first team selection in 2010 as well and
went on to become the program's first Academic All-American.
The setter of one of the top five offenses in the country leads
the nation in assists (12.42/set) and became only the third Huskie to reach 4,000 career assists
last week. Hoffman was also named among 30 candidates for 2011 Lowe’s Senior Class Award
earlier this season to be given a setter recognized for community, classroom, character, and

Maggie Malone of Wingate is a senior from Chicago, Illinois with a 3.52 grade point average in
Mathematics / education.

Click here for a list of the Academic All-Americans.


11.14.11 - 1st Alliance Players in State HS Finals

Congratulations to our players who competed in the 2011
Illinois State Finals on November 11-12 at the Redbird Arena in
Normal. Benet Academy, with nine 1st Alliance players on the
roster, won the Class 4A Championship. Sheila Doyle and
Shannon O’Brien are pictured left. Ten 1st Alliance players
were on the roster for Marist High School, which finished
fourth in the Class 4A Championship. Marian Catholic, which
finished fourth in Class 3A, also had two 1st Alliance players
on its roster. Click here to see video of all matches played by these teams during the Championships.

Class 4A State Champs: Benet Academy 1st Alliance Players:
  Sheila Doyle
  Mary Kate Whelan
  Cara Mattaliano
  Abby Willett
  Shannon O’Brien
  Sarah-Jane Pavlik
  Nora Young
  Gabby Pethokoukis
  McKenzie Kuhn

Class 4A 4th Place: Marist High School 1st Alliance Players:
  Dana Loncar
  Abbi Anderson
  Mallory Salis
  Taylor Holder
  Lauren Zielinski
  Ashley Holder
  Rachel Dalton
  Elyse Panick
  Shannon Murphy
  Kelly Marcinek

Class 3A: 4th Place: Marian Catholic 1st Alliance Players:
  Amber Clay
  Jasmine King


11.11.11 - 1st Alliance Players Make All Conference

SouthWest Suburban Conference 2011 Women's Volleyball All-
Conference Selections

Note: an asterisk (*) means the player was also named MVP of the

  Morgan Thomas Stagg
  Jill Conrad Stagg

DuPage Valley All-Conference Team

  Destini Wade Glenbard North
  Vanessa Abenante Lisle

Metro Suburban Conference All-Conference

  Jenna Lodewyk Timothy Christian

Voyager Media All-Area Team and West Suburban Gold All Conference

  Danielle Conrad DGS

11.11.11 - Katie Eberling Makes USA Bobsled Team

Katie Eberling, a 1st Alliance alum, made the USA Bobsled team and is
off to Europe to represent the USA on the World Cup Tour. Click here
for an earlier news item about Katie pursuing a bobsled career.

"We will be overseas for five weeks competing in 2 Europa Cup races
and 3 World Cup Races," says Katie in her Blog. " The World Cup Races
will be broadcast at (with a delay), check it out!"

Click here to read Katie's Blog.

Click here for her profile on the US Bobsled team website.


11.10.11 - Viliunas Named Player of the Year by Sun-Times

Alexis Viliunas has a lot to cheer about as she is named
Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year.

"Viliunas guided the young Lions to within two points of a third
straight state semifinal appearance," reports the Sun Times.
" After finishing the regular season with 272 kills, 551 assists,
43 aces and 278 digs, the 6-1 senior had 13 kills and 18 assists
in a 25-22, 21-25, 25-23 loss to Marist in the Class 4A super-
sectional at Hinsdale South. For her efforts, Viliunas has been named the 2011 Sun-Times Player of
the Year."

Click here for the full Sun Times on-line story.


11.10.11 - 1st Alliance Wll Represented on Sun-Times All Area Team

The Chicago Sun-Times has named it's All Area Team, and, of the
Sun-Times 37 top players in the area, 11 of them are 1st Alliance
players. Congratulations to our players.

Here is what the times has to say about the 4 1st Alliance players on
the First Team:

Alexis Viliunas- See featured article (above) on Viliunas being named
the 2011 Sun-Times Player of the Year.

As tough and hard-nosed a player as you are likely to find anywhere,
York’s Caroline Rose ranked as one of the state’s top offensive threats despite her somewhat
undersized stature. The Western Michigan recruit had a season-high 20 kills in a loss to Benet in the
finals of the Benet Invitational and finished the regular season with 29 aces, 247 kills, 33 blocks and
253 digs. “Caroline’s ability to read the defense and see the block makes her a very effective hitter,”
coach Patty Iverson said. “Caroline is also one of our most adept ball handlers in both serve
reception and defense. She is quick in moving to the ball and loves to get to the tough shots. Her
ability to work with the players around her makes her the consummate team player.”

Katie Urchell does not have overwhelming statistics. At 5-8, she does not physically intimidate
foes. All Urchell does is help her team win. This fall, her 268 digs, 146 kills, 35 aces, 258 service
points and 305 serve receptions helped lead Providence to a title share of arguably the toughest
conference in the state -- the East Suburban Catholic Conference – which produced six regional
championship teams. “I cannot say enough about Katie Urchell,” coach Rachel Ellingson said. “Katie
has been a staple in the program for four years. She is a fourth-year varsity starter who continued
to improve year after year. On the court, her calm, cool demeanor made her one of the most
consistent players we have ever had. Off the court, she is a great student and leader in the
Providence community. She will be greatly missed.”

Iowa State-bound Katie Gallagher moved seamlessly from sharing setting responsibilities during
York’s run to a fourth-place finish in 2010 to serving as the team’s only setter as they climbed to the
top of the Sun-Times rankings in 2011. The 5-foot-10 senior finished the regular season with 32
aces, 48 kills, 49 blocks, 182 digs and 611 assists. “The chemistry between Katie and our setters
made our offense very diversified and enabled us to attack from all positions,” coach Patty Iverson
said. “Katie has beautiful hands and is able to deliver a good set from most passes she receives.
She is also a quick defensive player, has a tough and consistent serve, and blocks well, making her
a very valuable asset for our team.”

Sun Times All –Area Second team 1st Alliance Players
  Sophia Dodd 5-11 Jr. S St. Ignatius
  Ashley Holder 5-8 Sr. S Marist
  Bridget Powell 5-8 Sr. L Mother McAuley
  Mallory Salis 5-10 Jr. OH Marist
  Laura Williams 5-10 Sr. OH Lyons

Sun Times All –Area Third team 1st Alliance Players
  Jillian Hickey 5-6 Sr. L Joliet Catholic
  Liz Scanlon 5-10 Sr. OH Mother McAuley

Click here for the Chicago Sun-Times 1st Team story. Click here for the complete Chicago Sun-Times
2nd and 3rd team listings.


11.07.11 - Rose Captains DuPage All-Area Loaded with 1st Alliance Players

Caroline Rose (pictured, photo by Mark Black) captains a 2011
DuPage County Daily Herald All-Area girls volleyball team that is loaded
with 1st Alliance players. "A four-year starter and now three-time All-
Area selection," says the Daily Herald, "Rose has grown into one of the
state’s best outside hitters and all-around talents. During the regular
season Rose led the Dukes in kills with 247 and digs with 253 and also
had 33 blocks and 29 aces." Click here to read the Daily Herald feature
article about Rose titled "York's Rose Always Played Big".

Congrats to all the 1st Alliance players who made the Daily Herald's list
of 20. Here is what the Daily Herald said in their write up:
Melissa Deatsch The junior outside makes up a potent duo with Caroline Rose. Deatsch has 205
kills with 71 blocks, 235 digs and 50 aces for the West Suburban Silver champions. Deatsch has
developed her ballhandling skills and become a much more consistent server. A member of the First
Alliance 16 Silver, Deatsch was all-tournament for the AAU junior national champions. “We’ve had a
couple matches where she has been our best player,” York coach Patty Iverson said.

Katie Gallagher A dynamic setter running York’s 5-1 is this senior committed to Iowa State. Gallagher
made changes to her sets this year, holding her hands higher for a faster, cleaner release. Gallagher
has 611 assists, 182 digs, 49 blocks, 48 kills and 32 aces on the season. Gallagher is ranked 80th
nationally by in the Class of 2012. “She mixes things up very well,” York coach
Patty Iverson said.

Melissa Nava The heart and soul of the West Suburban Gold champion, is this four-year starter
committed to Illinois-Chicago. The six-rotation player has put down 303 kills with 132 digs, 41 aces and
63 blocks. The middle hitter was all-tournament at the Mizuno Cup, the Wheaton Classic and the
Warrior Blast. “She has carried the team at times,” Hornets coach Lisa Martinez said.

Caleigh Ryan The catalyst for the Hilltoppers’ first 30-win team since 1983 is this junior setter. Ryan
has 701 assists to go with 61 kills, 38 aces, 39 blocks and 154 digs. She was MVP at the Wheaton
North, Joliet and Glenbard West invites as the Hilltoppers won all three tournaments. “She is a natural
leader, an intelligent girl,” Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said, “and she just does not like to

Jessie Tulacka The senior committed to Bradley came out of club season a polished player and
continues to shine for the Trojans. The third-year starter has a team-high 345 kills, 22 blocks and 43
aces and is second with 177 digs and 119 assists. Tulacka’s serve-receive skills have shown
greatest improvement over a short time. “What’s exciting is that she just continues to get better and
better,” Trojans coach Mark Wasik said.

Honorable mention: Sharon Anderson (Hinsdale South, jr., S); Taylor Kasal (Downers Grove
North, sr., S); Jenna Lodewyk (Timothy Christian, so., S); Morgan Semmelhack (York, sr., RS);
Sam Schrenker (York, sr., MB); Nora Young (Benet, sr., OH).


Click here to read the Daily Herald All-Area article.


11.07.11 - Malone leads Wingate To Undefeated Season

Wingate senior and 1st Alliance alum Maggie Malone has led
the 14th ranked Bulldogs to their first-ever undefeated regular
season in school history.

This past weekend the 14th-ranked Wingate University volleyball
team swept the visiting Wolves of Newberry College 3-0
Saturday afternoon in Cuddy Arena to complete an undefeated
season. The Bulldogs won by scores of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-19
to improve to 27-0 overall and 18-0 in the SAC.

Maggie Malone, who is the team’s libero, finished up her final regular season as a Wingate University
volleyball player, topping off her final weekend as a Bulldog by being crowned homecoming queen!
Maggie leads the team with 438 digs which is just over 5.41 digs per set.

Click here to read Maggie's Blog entry "Highlights from Senior Night."



1st Alliance Alumni continue to be in the news. Kristin Hoffman won
MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week Honors, Britta Baarstad (pictured)
leads the University of Rhode Island on the Volleyball Court and Jillian
received the CAA Rookie of the Week honor.

Northern Illinois University's Kristin Hoffmanwas was named Mid-
American Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week, the league
announced Friday. Hoffman captained the Huskie offense during NIU's
2-0 weekend at home as she totaled 74 assists (12.33/set) and 24 digs
(4.00/set). In a 3-0 win over Kent State, the nation's assists leader
handed out 40 helpers and had 12 digs for her fourth double-double of
the season. During NIU's 3-0 win over 2010 MAC champion Ohio, Hoffman registered 34 assists and
12 digs for her fifth double-double. Hoffman, a senior from Batavia, Ill., maintains a 3.97 grade point
average as a history major. This is the second time she has won the award, as she earned the
honor Nov. 19, 2010. Hoffman is the first Huskie athlete to win the award this season. Click here
for the NIU article.

Following a phenomenal freshman season in which she led the University of Rhode Island in kills
per set and was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week twice, Britta Baarstad is
completing a tremendous sophomore campaign. With a couple of weeks remaining in the season,
Baarstad is second on the team in kills (272) and kills per set (2.99), and first in aces (23). She's
one of only three players to play in every match and she's posted three double-doubles so far (in
kills and digs). Click here to read more.

Freshman Jillian Briner was named Rookie of the Week by the CAA on Monday, Oct. 31. Briner
receives the award after helping the Huskies defeat a pair of conference foes last weekend. Briner
has now collected four Rookie of the Week honors from the CAA. The award has gone to a Husky
for the past four weeks, with Briner receiving the title three times. Click here for the Huskies story.



1st Alliance Alum Courtney Keefe was named Missouri
Valley Conference(MVC) Freshman Of The Week. According to
the Bradley Braves website, the league office announced
Monday afternoon after Keefe helped Bradley to a four-set
victory against Indiana State last week.

"Keefe averaged 2.50 kills, 4.17 digs and 0.67 aces per set in
home matches against I-74 rival Illinois State and Indiana State,"
notes the website. "She had four kills, six digs, two assists and a block in two sets against Illinois
State, before turning in her strongest performance of the year against Indiana State. In the match
against the Sycamores, Keefe finished with season highs of 11 kills, 19 digs and four service aces
for her first career double-doubles. She entered the match against Indiana State with a total of 13
kills in the previous nine matches, but surpassed her prior season highs of nine kills and 12 digs to
help lead the Braves to a 25-27, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 win. Keefe is the second Bradley player to
earn MVC Freshman of the Week honors this year, joining Madison Kamp (Orland Park, Ill./Chicago
Christian) who earned the distinction back on Sept. 6. Bradley had not had an individual earn MVC
Freshman of the Week in the first seven years of the award prior to this season. Keefe is seventh
on the team in kills, while ranking third in aces and fourth in digs this season." Click here for more.



"St. Norbert junior and 1st Alliance alum, libero Catherine Guido keeps floors clean." writes a D-III
Women's Volleyball Blogger. "St. Norbert junior libero Catherine Guido went into the week ranked
sixth in the nation at 6.42 digs per set. That number got a nice boost over the weekend. Guido had
matches of 53, 48, 37 and 23 digs this weekend for an average of 9.47 per set against Carroll,
Augustana and UW-Stevens Point.

" If you’re wondering," continues the Blog, "Guido’s 53 digs in five sets against UW-Stevens Point
was nine shy of the D-III record. Her 48-dig performance in four sets against Carroll was seven off
the mark. To put a finer point on it, no one has had more than 48 digs in four sets since 2004, and
it’s good for sixth best ever in D-III. The 53 in five is eighth all time. But add them all up and I’m
guessing that no one has ever had more than 161 digs in a four-match weekend."

Click here to read the Blog.



East Suburban Catholic Conference 2011 Women's Volleyball All-
Conference Selections:

  Jill Hickey Joliet Catholic
  Amber Clay Marian Catholic
  Ashley Holder (pictured) Marist
  Mallory Salis Marist

Brittany Brown

  Ana Vrhel Nazareth
  Nora Mitros Providence
  Katie Urchell Providence


Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) High Sschool All-
Conference Selections:

  Jackie Aird Mother McAuley
  Ryann Arundel Mother McAuley
  Lauren Grady (pictured) Mother McAuley
  Mary Kate Mixan Mother McAuley
  Bridget Powell Mother McAuley
  Lizzy Scanlon Mother McAuley
  Sophia Dodd St. Ignatius
  Courtney Somerville St. Ignatius
  Natalie Arredia De La Salle

A special recognition to Lizzy Scanlon who was denoted Athlete of the Year.



1st Alliance is bringing the Lions to the City! City Lions Volleyball
Club announces girls tryout information.

Practice close to home but get the benefits of one of the premier
suburban volleyball clubs. Ranked 2nd in the nation by Prep
Volleyball, 1st Alliance/Lions Jrs. placed teams in every age
group in the top ten in the country last season.

Tryouts will be held as follows:

  12 & Under (most 5th/6th graders) Saturday, Oct 15 10:00am - 11:30am
  13/14’s & Under (most 7th/8th graders) Saturday, Oct 15 10:30am - 12:00pm
  Make-up Tryout Wednesday, Oct 19 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Click here for a flyer with more detail.



Alums Margy Acton (pictured), Jillian Briner, Bridget
and Ali Deatsch were recently in the news.

Jillian Briner was selected as CAA Rookie of the Week. The
freshman the CAA honors on Monday, Oct. 10. Briner
receives the award after helping theNortheastern Huskies to a
pair of conference victories last weekend. Northeastern
improved to 13-4 (3-2 CAA) on the season by defeating UNC
Wilmington, 3-1, on Friday night before sweeping Georgia State, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon. Briner
tied for the team-high with 21 assists in the win over UNC Wilmington, while adding eight digs, seven
kills, three blocks and two service aces to her stat line. On Sunday versus Georgia State, the rookie
tallied 17 assists, nine digs, eight kills and a service ace, as the Huskies cruised to their ninth sweep
of the season. The Oak Park, Ill., native ranks third in the CAA in service aces per set with a 0.40
average and her 23 aces are tops on the Huskies. The setter/outside hitter is second on the team in
assists (302) and kills (123), while ranking third in digs (112). Click here to read more.

Bridget Murphy was named the Summit League’s Athlete of the Month for August/September. This is
tthe Junior libero's first Athlete of the Month award and second conference award this season. She
won Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 29 following the SIU-Edwardsville Invitational. Murphy
has collected six straight 20-plus dig performances and owns nine overall this season. She leads all
Summit League competitors and ranks seventh in the nation with 5.82 digs per set. She is also
helping the Western Illinois defense rank fifth in the nation in digs per set (18.41). Click here for more.

Ali Deatsch was tabbed as Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week The junior helped
Elon to a 2-0 record over the weekend with wins against division opponents Western Carolina and
Appalachian State. Deatsch led all players with 16 digs in the team’s sweep of Western Carolina.
She recorded 36 digs over the weekend, averaging 5.14 per set. The Elmhurst, Ill., native leads the
conference in service aces (36) and is fourth in digs (322). For more, click here.

Margy Acton recorded 22 digs in 3-1 victory over DePaul to lead the University of Pittsburgh
women's volleyball team to the victory at Fitzgerald Field House on Sunday. The Panthers won with
scores of 25-22, 25-12, 22-25 and 25-20. Acton's 22 digs marked the sixth time this season she has
posted 20 or more kills in a match. She tallied 18 digs against Notre Dame to give her a 5.71 dig per

set average over the weekend. Click here for the Pitt story.



Plan to attend the Girls Volleyball Sarcoma Foundation Event on
Tuesday, October 11th. The Lyons Township Girl’s Volleyball
program will host a charity event that day at North Campus in
the Field House to benefit the Sarcoma Foundation.

Erin Potts, pictured, a 2009 graduate of LT and a Volleyball team
member, passed away from Sarcoma cancer in 2009. The
program will honor her on this evening. Volleyball players are
selling tee- shirts in honor of Erin and all proceeds will be donated to the Sarcoma foundation. In
addition, donations will be taken at the door.

The program will begin at approximately 5:45pm. and will include a tribute to Erin, followed by
introduction of Lyons senior volleyball athletes and their parents. The match vs. Hinsdale Central will
begin at approximately 6:00pm following the tribute. Please plan to attend and thank you for your
support of the Sarcoma Foundation



Megan Miller broke the Lyons Township High School career dig
record set only three days earlier.

Last week Lyons Township senior Laura Williams made big news
for her backrow play. (Click here for the story.) During the September
20 match against Glenbard West, the Duke bound senior eclipsed the
school dig careeer record of 860. Career records usually stand for
quite some time before they get broken, but Williams held the record for
a mere three days. Senior libero Megan Miller, committed to Wake
Forest, surpassed Williams at Rich East tournament this past weekend.

Miller, who already holds the school's single season dig record of 543 that she set last year,
currently has 906 career digs with a half of a season still remaining. After Miller broke the record at
the Rich East tournament, Coach Joann Pyritz said, “Megan Miller has been a varsity team member
since her freshman year. During this time, she has led the team with her tenacious defense and
excellent ability to read the offense.  As a result, Megan has just broken the career dig record." 

Interestingly, Senior Alexis Viliunas, committed to Illinois, might have been the first of the LT
seniors to break the career dig record had she not missed the first half of the season last year due
to a broken wrist. Viliunas will most likely cross over the old record of 860 in the next couple

So "Mil, Vil and Wil" (as Assistant Coach George Ushela likes to refer to the three seniors Miller,
Viliunas and Williams) will likely be the three highest in the LT career dig record book by the
season’s end.



1st Alliance led high school teams fared well in Rich East
Tournament.  Mother McAuley beat Lyons in the finals as
Marist downed Providence in the third place match.

Congratulations to Mother McAuley led by the following 1st
Alliance players:

Jackie Aird     Ryann Arundel     Mary Kate Mixan
Peggy Clemens     Bridget Powell     Lizzie Scanlon (Pictured)
Lauren Grady    

Congratulations to all 1st Alliance | Lions players who played on teams making the finals. Special
recognition goes out to our players making the all-tournament team:

  Ashley Holder- Marist     Lizzie Scanlon- Mother McAuley
  Alexis Viliunas- Lyons     Laura Williams- Lyons
  Lauren Behrens- Lincoln Way East     Danielle Conrad- Downers South


The spotlight shone recently on two more 1st Alliance alums. Lanie Muys
(pictured) was named Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the
Week and Emily Iverson was named Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of
the week.

1st Alliance alumna and Barry University's Lanie Muys (Orland Park, Ill)
received her award after she averaged 1.4 blocks per set as the
Buccaneers split a pair of SSC matches.  In a three-set sweep versus
Nova Southeastern, Muys posted 10 kills and five blocks to help hold the
Sharks to a .087 team hitting percentage.  She also gathered a pair of digs
in the contest.  Muys also tallied eight kills and five blocks in a four-set loss
to Florida Tech.  Her efforts at the net helped hold Barry’s conference foes to a .165 hitting percentage

Stonehill College freshman Emily Iverson (Elmhurst, Ill./York) was named the Northeast-10 Conference
(NE-10) Rookie of the Week by the league office. Iverson’s consistent play for the Skyhawks has
been recognized by the NE-10 in all four reporting periods as the freshman earned Setter of the Week
honors on September 7 and Rookie of the Week honors on September 13. Last week (September 20),
Iverson was tabbed as the Co-Rookie and Co-Setter of the Week by the NE-10. In a 1-1 week overall
for Stonehill, Iverson recorded 13 assists per set and recorded 104 assists total. In a 3-2 loss to
Bridgeport on Tuesday (September 20), the freshman setter dished out 64 helpers and turned in 40
more in a 3-0 victory over Saint Michael’s on Saturday, September 24. Iverson also added seven kills,
two service aces, and ten digs on the week.

Among all Division II freshman setters in the country, Iverson currently ranks ninth overall with 9.80
assists per set this season. In the NE-10, Iverson leads all setters with 490 assists total, 74 assists
ahead of second place, and is the only player at her position to average nine assists or more per set.
Iverson is also only one of four players on the Skyhawks to play in all 50 sets this season amassing
31 kills, 21 service aces (second highest mark on the squad), 99 digs, and nine total blocks. Click here
for more.



Laura Williams broke the Lyons Township career dig record
Tuesday. And, close friend and teammate Megan Miller is
posed to pass Williams.

Most people would describe Lyons Township Senior Laura
Williams as a hard hitting outside. And while Williams is currently
second in the state with a .419 hitting efficiency and averages
4.6 kills per set, the big news she made this week was for her
backrow play. On Tuesday night, the Duke bound senior eclipsed the school dig record of 860.

"Laura Williams has been a varsity starter since her freshman year," says Lyons Township Coach
Joann Pyritz. "While her net play is usually her signature in any match, Laura is also known for her
great defense and is now the program's leader in career digs. She broke this record yesterday at
Glenbard West giving her a total of 863 career digs."

Breaking a career record is impressive, but having a non-libero break a career dig record is rare.
Since the libero rule went into effect about a decade ago, most dig records are held by liberos
because they play in the back row for six rotations versus other roles, like Williams, that are only in
the back row for three rotations.

The prior LT record was held by Jamie Lundstrom who was the varsity libero for three years and
graduated in 2010. Lundstrom is now the libero for Division I Belmont University where she holds
the single game dig record.

Laura's ball control not only helps LT, but was instrumental in 1st Alliance's 10th place finish in the
nation last year in 17 Open where Williams played club volleyball. For her contributions, USA
Volleyball named her to the All Tournament team.

While career records usually stand for quite some time before they get broken, Williams is not likely
to hold the title long. Senior libero Megan Miller, committed to Wake Forest, is on the heals of re-
breaking the record. She may even do that this weekend at the Rich East tournament which
features four of the top ten teams in the state.

And this is what 1st Alliance 17Silver Coach Nicasio Paquiz had to say: "Defense takes discipline,
such as the amount of patience and trust that you need to possess in order to become a solid
defender - there's a level of maturity that comes along with it, and that's just part of the mental
aspect. Then there's the physical and technical side of execution and delivery, coupled with the
amount of time spent in the practice gym and the repetitions an individual goes through in order to
develop their skillset. Laura has done a great job applying herself to improve her craft. Having been
part of successful high school and club programs, I think, has helped with the process, as well. I
have witnessed Laura grow as a volleyball player (defensively), and I couldn't be more proud.
Proud in the sense that she's doing what she needs to do in order to prepare herself to help her
team succeed on the court, but also in her preparation for her volleyball career after high school.
Laura grew into becoming a good defender, and maybe one day she'll be a great one. If there's one
thing I've learned about Laura, she doesn't settle - she wants to be better! That's a great mindset to
be in because it only makes you want to do more! And when you're playing at a high level, it's a
necessity to have that type of drive, especially when you're looking to compete at the next level."



Former WMU volleyball standout and 1st Alliance Alumna Katie Eberling
is on track for a possible berth in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi,
Russia, as brakeman on a two-man bobsled team.

Eberling is moving to Lake Placid next week to work with the national
team strength and conditioning coach and get ready for the team trials
in late October when the ice is on the track. The drivers pick the
brakemen and after the trials, it's determined who will participate in the
three different circuits. The top circuit is the World Cup in Europe. If
Eberling makes a World Cup team, she will live abroad for about a year.

Click here for more.



Soph Paige Kruse (1st Alliance alumna) was named tournament MVP
as she led Lehigh against Princeton this past weekend. After beating
St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday, the Lehigh volleyball team won two more
matches on Saturday for a perfect 3-0 record to take first place at the
Lehigh/Lafayette Crosstown Tournament. The Mountain Hawks defeated
Princeton 3-1 before beating La Salle in straight sets.

Kruse had a career-high 19 kills against Princeton. "She got to work right
away with four kills to help Lehigh take a 5-1 lead in the first set against
Princeton", reports Lehigh Volleyball. One of Paige's kills was facing
set and match point, enabling the Mountaijn Hawks to eventually win the
set and go on to win the match.

Kruse adds this Tournament MVP honor to her Patriot League Academic Honor Roll award in 2010-11.



1st Alliance Alums shine again in college action over the 9/17-
9/18 weekend.

Jill Briner led Northeastern to the Harvard Invitational title.
Briner notched a double-double of her own with 22 assists and
14 digs, as well as seven kills and was named to the All-
tournament team.

Margy Acton was named to Pitt’s Blue and Gold all-tournament team as she posted a 5.85 dig per
set average in the three matches this weekend. She collected an impressive 37 against Delaware,
27 against New Mexico and 12 against Temple.

For her performance at the Ohio State Sports Imports Classic, the University of Akron volleyball team's
Jill Paluch
(pictured) was selected to the All-Tournament team. The sophomore logged 44 digs in
three matches as the Zips' starting libero, playing a vital role in UA's defense.



Many 1st Alliance players received an all-tournament award at the
Wheaton Classic this past weekend.

Sharon Anderson (pictured) led her Hinsdale South team to the
championship match Saturday.

The Wheaton Classic All-tournament team included:
  Katie Grabowski, Hinsdale Central
  Ashley Holder, Marist
  Melissa Nava, Hinsdale South
  Mallory Salis, Marist



1st Alliance players are prominent among those chosen for the Senior
Aces Final List of the top 250 Class of 2012 recruits in the nation.
Bridget Powell pictured here is one of many 1st Alliance players to
make this list. Note: see also articles below about Alexis Viliunas and
Katie Gallagher who were already announced as being Senior Aces.

Here are's Senior Aces Number 101-250 (listed
alphabetically by position along with their height, position, high school,
club and college commitment):
  Gabby Pethokoukis, 6-3 MB, Benet Academy (Lisle, Illinois), 1st Alliance
    – Villanova
  Caroline Rose, 5-8 Libero, York (Elmhurst, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Western Michigan
  Nora Mitros, 6-0 RS, Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Uncommitted

Just missing the Senior Aces List:
  Sam Schrenker, 6-1 MB, York (Elmhurt, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Army
  Lauren Zielinski, 6-4 MB, Marist (Chicago, Illinois), 1st Alliance – South Carolina
  Laura Williams, 5-10 OH/S/DS, Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois), 1st Alliance -- Duke
  Megan Miller, 5-5 Libero, Marist (Chicago, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Wake Forest
  Bridget Powell, 5-6 Libero, Mother McAuley (Chicago, Illinois), 1st Alliance
  Brittany Brown, 5-11 RS/S, Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Loyola of Chicago
  Jessie Tulacka, 6-1 RS, Downers Grove North (Downers Grove, Illinois), 1st Alliance – Bradley



1st Alliance Alums continue to show outstanding talent in
college action over 9/10- 9/11 weekend.

Junior UIC outside hitter Kelsey Safranek (Downers Grove,
Ill./Downers Grove South) was selected as the Horizon League
Offensive Player of the Week after her performances in three
weekend matches, it was announced by the conference office
Monday morning. "This was a well-deserved honor for Kelsey,"
said head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. "It is also a true reflection of her and our team's hard
work. Kelsey had a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing what she is going to do during
conference play." Safranek earned the conference accolade after stellar play at the Dunn Hospitality
Invitational. Evansville played host to the two-day event. In the three weekend matches, the junior
totaled 55 kills for a clip of .202, while chipping in 33 digs and three service aces to propel her to the
all-tournament team. Following the Friday match against Arizona, Safranek led all players in the
contest against Evansville with 21 kills (.255), while adding two service aces, 12 digs and an
assisted block. Safranek had a break-out match against Southeast Missouri State as she logged her
second double-double of the weekend. She hammered down 28 kills (.273), a career high, to lead all
players, while adding 12 digs and a solo block to assist the Flames in a 3-2 victory over the Redhawks.

Senior Virginia OH Simone Asque (pictured) had her first 20-kill performance of the 2011 season,
leading a group of four Cavaliers that earned double-digit kills with 22 against Ohio in the Baymont
Invitational in Ohio. Asque added five digs and three blocks. For the weekend, Asque finished with
53 kills in three matches, and hit an impressive .325 en route to her second all-tournament team
honor of the season.

Senior Elon libero Ali Deatsch earned SoCon Player of the Week Honors. Deatsch recorded 70 digs
in 12 sets, averaging 5.83 digs per set, in the Butler Invitational. The Elmhurst, Ill., native also led all
players against Central Michigan and Austin Peay with 21 and 31 digs, respectively. The 31 digs
against Austin Peay was a season-high and now ranks fourth on Elon’s Division I individual match
records list for digs. During the Central Michigan match, the junior matched her career-high of five
aces. Deatsch was also named to the Butler Invitational All-Tournament Team



Alum Caitlyn Ballweber was tabbed one of the Panther Student-
Athletes of the Week at Florida Tech.

Ballweber, a 5-11 outside hitter from Homer Glenn, Ill., led FIT with 56
kills and six service aces during a 3-1 trip to Aiken, S.C. She hit an
outstanding .473 and averaged 4.83 kills per set in a pair of 3-0
victories over Barton and Augusta State on Saturday. She finished the
four-game tournament with 18 digs, one block solo and three block

Click here to see the Florida Tech article.



Lions|1st Alliance players continue to shine in high school.

Destini Wade of Glenbard North (pictured) attacks during the Glenbard
North at Willow Brook Girls volleyball game last week.

Caleigh Ryan had 23 assists, 5 kills and 8 digs, and Glenbard West
ran its record to 7-0 with a 25-23, 18-25, 25-13 road win at Trinity.
Amanda Perry had 2 kills and 8 digs.

Jenna Lodewyk added 16 assists and 5 aces and Mackenzie Vos
5 kills for Timothy Christian against Wheaton.

Click here to read the Daily Herald writeup.



Alum Emily Iverson, now a freshman at Stonehill College, was named
Northeast-10 Conference Setter Of The Week by the conference.
Iverson dished out 91 assists for Stonehill in three matches.

In the Kutztown University Classic last weekend, Iverson facilitated a
Skyhawks offense that went 2-1 overall with 91 assists total to go
along with 23 digs, three kills, two block assists and two service aces.
Iverson averaged 8.27 assists-per-set over the weekend and 30
assists per match.

On Saturday, the freshman also set a career-high in assists against
Kutztown University with 37 total in a five set loss. Among all setters in the NE-10, Iverson ranks
third in total assists through four matches with 117 on the season and second in assists-per-set
with an average of 8.36. In both categories, Iverson ranks first among all freshman in the NE-10.

Click here to see the Stonehill writeup.



1st Alliance alum Jenny Buczek of Orland Park, now a freshman at Kent
State University, led the way for a trio of freshmen who burst onto the
scene in the Golden Flashes victory over Cleveland State.

Buczek totaled a team and career-high 16 kills and added a service ace
to lead the offensive charge as the Flashes outhit the Vikings, .236-.202
and took a hard fought five set victory.

Kent State has found itself in five set matches more than half the time this
year and the play of Buczek has been an important factor in the team's
success. Click here to read more.



Alexis Viliunas is the 34th best volleyball recruit in the Class of 2012
according to as it unfolds its "Senior Aces", the top
250 volleyball recruits in the Class of 2012. Noting that Viliunas is a 6-1
setter attending Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois) High School and
playing for 1st Alliance, PrepVolleyball went on to say "Very skilled,
Viliunas could potentially be an attacker at the Division 1 level but setting
is going to be her future at Illinois, where she has committed. A complete
player with innate leadership skills, Viliunas fits well in both a 6-2 or 5-1
offense. She is extremely versatile and adapts well in any situation.
Viliumas has a great set of hands and a tremendous understanding of
tempo. A smiley and fun kid off the court, Viliunas brings her charm,
experience and energy to the court. She makes players around her better and led her high school
team to the Illinois 4A championship last fall. Look for Viliunas, who makes playing look effortless, to
be on the court early in Champaign."



With the second weekend of college play complete, 1st Alliance Alums
make more headlines. Congratulations to our former players making their
respective all-tournament teams.

Junior libero Bridget Murphy (pictured) of Western was honored as
the Drury Inn/ASICS Challenge tournament MVP after compiling 42 digs
(6.00 digs per set) over the weekend. She was also named as the Papa
John's Scholar Athlete of the Week for her accomplishments on the
court and in the classroom. A junior Communications major, Murphy
currently holds a 3.36 cumulative grade point average and has been
named to the Summit League's Fall Academic All-League Team twice in
her career. She was most recently selected to the 2010-11 Summit League Commissioner's List of
Academic Excellence in June.

Kelsey Safranek at UIC was named to the all-Chicagoland Challenge team. UIC placed 2nd in the
All- Chicagoland tournament including Northwestern, UIC and Loyola.

Britta Baarstad of Rhode Island University was named to the Holiday Inn Express All-Tournament
Team. Baarstad recorded a match-high 20 kills in the win over Kent State and 17 kills against Stony

WKU Heather Boyan comes up big in final match against Ohio in the Kentucky Classic. WKU
combined for 12 team blocks, led by freshman Heather Boyan with six blocks, including three solo
blocks. Boyan also recorded four kills and a team-best .571 hitting percentage. "Heather really made
a huge difference in the complexion of that match," WKU coach Travis Hudson said. "We are talkin
g about defending and that kid goes out there and plays two games and ends up with six blocks in
two games and one being a huge one right at the end of the fourth set and so she certainly gave us
a lift."

NIU won the Creighton's Bluejay Invitational Saturday night at D.J. Sokol and Kristin Hoffman was
named to the all-tournament team. Hoffman handed out 121 assists along with netting 19 digs and
eight kills.

The Virginia volleyball team closed out action at the Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup with a 3-0 (25-22,
26-24, 25-19) win over Long Island on Saturday (Sept. 3) at Memorial Gymnasium. Senior outside
hitter Simone Asque (Chicago, Ill.) was one of Virginia's representatives on the all-tournament
team. Against the Blackbirds, Asque finished with 11 kills, five digs and four aces.


8.31.11 is presenting its Senior Aces, the top 250
volleyball recruits in the Class of 2012, and Katie Gallagher
lands at number 80.

"One of the fastest setters in the class of 2012," says the article, "Gallagher’s play is cat-like in that
she is quick, bouncy and determined to get what she wants.
She rarely needs help getting to any passes and takes a
majority of those with her hands. And what beautiful hands they are! Gallagher’s high release holds
the middle blocker at bay until she’s ready to deliver an accurate and tactically smart set to one of
her hitters. Quick defensively -- her speed allows her to get to most balls on her feet – and
possessing a great jump float serve, Gallagher is more than just an assist machine. She also blocks
pretty well for a small setter. 'Probably her greatest asset is her ability to assess the situation and
make a great decision in a calm fashion regardless of where our team stands in the match,' said
York head coach Patty Iverson. Gallagher will bring her dynamic play and intensity for winning to the
Iowa State Cyclones in the fall of 2012."



Congratulations to the 18 1st Alliance players named to the Sun
Times top 50 players list.
  Laura Behrens, 5-11, sr., OH, Lincoln-Way East
  Brittany Brown, 5-11, sr., RS, Nazareth
  Melissa Deatsch, 5-11, jr., OH, York
  Sophia Dodd, 5-10, jr., S, St. Ignatius
  Katie Gallagher, 5-8, sr., S/OH, York
  Jill Hickey, 5-3, sr., L, Joliet Catholic
  Ashley Holder, 5-8, sr., S, Marist
  Jenna Jacobson, 5-10, sr., S, Whitney Young
  Megan Miller, 5-6, sr., DS, Lyons
  Nora Mitros, 6-1, sr., OH, Providence
  Bridget Powell, 5-6, sr., L, Mother McAuley
  Caroline Rose, 5-8, sr., OH, York
  Caleigh Ryan, 5-9, jr., OH, Glenbard West
  Mallory Salis, 5-9, jr., OH, Marist
  Jessie Tulacka, 6-2, sr., OH, Downers Grove North
  Alexis Viliunas, 6-0, sr., S/OH, Lyons
  Laura Williams, 5-10, sr., OH, Lyons
  Lauren Zielinski, 6-4, sr., MH, Marist.



Rookie Jillian Briner (pictured) made her Northeastern Huskies debut
and posted a double-double in her first collegiate match with 17 assists
and 11 digs while also adding seven kills. She was one of Northeastern’s
representatives on the Beanpot Classic All-Tournament team.

Jamie Lundstrom has a record setting night at Belmont by recording
40 digs in the final match of the Belmont Invitational… "Just outstanding
(her effort tonight)," Coach Deane Webb said. "We are excited about
Jamie and her future, a kid that is working hard to improve. I think this
year, just seeing that we are a more athletic and faster back row having
Scarlet (Gable) and Jamie back there, just changes what we can do
defensively. I'm really pleased and happy for Jamie to have this type of match and set a record, that's
great for her. She's a wonderful young player and person and I'm glad she gets to achieve that."

2011 Bradley University CEFCU (Citizens Equity First Credit Union) Classic All-Tournament Team
included the following 1st Alliance Alumni: Kelsey Safranek (UIC) Mary Kate Imrie (UIC) Alise

Kansas sophomore libero Brianne Riley took home Libero of the Tournament, recognizing her all-out
effort behind a front line that racked up 12 total blocks Saturday night. Kansas swept Tourney Host
to Win the Georgia Bulldog Invitational, 3-0.

Junior Margy Acton was named to the Pitt Panther Invitational All-Tournament team. Acton collected
a match-high 23 digs against the Rams. On the weekend, she posted a 4.62 dig per set average and
added in seven aces for Pitt in the tournament win.

Senior Carli Weiler led all individuals this weekend with a team-best 5.56 digs per set along with
0.44 service aces a set for Michigan State University as they captured the University of Central
Florida Classic Title.



Sixteen 1st Alliance players made the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Under
Armour Girls’ High School All-America Watch List. AVCA recently announced the 2011-12 season
watch list which includes 646 players from 38 states and serves as the starting point for the Under
Armour All-America selection process. In November, the AVCA will name 48 student-athletes as
an Under Armour All-American, with 24 players being selected to both a First-Team and Second-

Congratulations to our 16 seniors who made the list! Here they are, with height, position, High School
and Club as listed by AVCA:
  Brittany Brown 5'11 RS/S Nazareth Acad. LaGrange Park IL 1st Alliance
  Katie Gallagher 5'8 S York Elmhurst IL 1st Alliance
  Jillian Hickey 5'6 L Joliet Catholic Acad. Joliet IL 1st Alliance
  Jenna Jacobson 5'9 S Whitney Young Chicago IL 1st Alliance
  Megan Miller 5'6 DS/L Lyons Township La Grange IL 1st Alliance
  Melissa Nava 6'0 RS Hinsdale South Darien IL 1st Alliance
  Gabriella Pethokoukis 6'3 MB Benet Academy Lisle IL 1st Alliance
  Bridget Powell 5'5 L Mother McAuley Chicago IL 1st Alliance
  Caroline Rose 5'8 OH York Elmhurst IL 1st Alliance
  Samantha Schrenker 6'1 MB York Elmhurst IL 1st Alliance
  Morgan Semmelhack 6'0 MB/RS York Elmhurst IL 1st Alliance
  Jessica Tulacka 6'1 RS Downer's Grove North Downers Grove IL 1st Alliance
  Alexis Viliunas 6'0 S Lyons Township La Grange IL 1st Alliance
  Laura Williams 5'10 OH Lyons Township La Grange IL 1st Alliance
  Nora Young 6'0 OH Benet Academy Lisle IL 1st Alliance
  Lauren Zielinski 6'4 MB Marist Chicago IL 1st Alliance



Alumna Kristin Hoffman has been selected to the MAC's first ever
Preseason All-MAC team. Hoffman, a former 1st Alliance standou now
at Northern Illinois University, is coming off a career season in 2010 that
saw her rank 17th in the nation in assists (11.51/set) and a 2010 first
team All-MAC selection.

Hoffman was one of six named to the West Division Preseason All-MAC
team, and her NIU team was chosen by MAC head coaches as the
team most likely win the MAC title in 2011.



Congratulations to 1st Alliance players named to the Chicago Tribune’s Girls volleyball preview as
top 20 players to watch. Here are the 1st Alliance players named, their school, year in school,
position and comment from the Tribune article:
  Sophia Dodd, St. Ignatius, Jr., S
    Wake Forest recruit leads talented and experienced cast primed for breakout season.
  Bridget Powell, Mother McAuley, Sr., L
    A three-year starter who had 522 digs in 2010.
  Caroline Rose, York, Sr., OH
    Western Michigan recruit set for big season after stunning showing in 2010.
  Mallory Salis, Marist, Jr., OH
    Ohio-bound recruit recorded team-high 258 kills for 37-win squad last year.
  Alexis Viliunas, Lyons, Sr., S
    Illinois recruit played big role in last year's 4A title run.
  Laura Williams, Lyons, Sr., OH
    Duke-bound standout ranked high in several categories in the state last year.
  Lauren Zielinski, Marist, Sr., OH
    South Carolina recruit rehabbing from surgery to repair torn labrum.

Congratulations to these 1st Alliance players making the Tribune's ’30 others to watch’ list:
  Ryann Arundel, Mother McAuley, Sr., RS
  Lauren Behrens, Lincoln-Way East, Sr. OH
  Katie Gallagher, York, Sr., S
  Ashley Holder, Marist, Sr., S
  Jenna Jacobson, Young, Sr., S
  Taylor Kasal, Downers Grove North, Sr., OH
  Nora Mitros, Providence, Sr., RS
  Melissa Nava, Hinsdale South, Sr., MH
  Gabby Pethokoukis, Benet, Sr., MB
  Morgan Semmelhack, York, Sr., MH
  Jessie Tulacka, Downers Grove North, Sr., OH



The Lions Jrs. Summer Sand League was a big success. Seven
girls participated in the league, playing in five different tourna-
ments across the country. And, two of our players, Halle Truett
and Madison Babich finished second to qualify them for the AAU
National Championships in New Orleans where they finished

The girls also felt the season really prepared them for their up-
coming indoor fall seasons. Olivia Bieniek, Halle Truet, Madison Babich, Hannah Fleckenstein,
and Michelle Wiese will continue to use their new strength and stamina in the Lions Jrs Fall League.
Frannie Cervone and Alexa Dimperio will use their new moves to help in their upcoming high school

It was a great season and we look forward to building the program in the future. Keep our sand
program in mind for the summer of 2012. The girls are pictured from left to right: Olivia Bieniek, Alexa
Dimperio, Madison Babich, Halle Truett, Hannah Fleckenstein and Frannie Cervone (Michelle Wiese is
not pictured).



1st Alliance finishes 2011 as the second ranked volleyball
club in the country. After the final club rankings were released,
a summary of club finishes was compiled and 1st Alliance

finished second overall.

Also, based on RichKern, 1st Alliance is ranked fourth overall
in the number of players moving on to play at the collegiate
level for the class of 2011!

The top three clubs in the country based on final ranking from are as follows:
  1. Texas Advantage Volleyball Club
  2. 1st Alliance Volleyball Club
  3. Mizuno Long Beach Volleyball Club



Lions/Alliance coaches and players are dominating the sand
courts this summer. Madison Babich and Halle Truett
(pictured) recently qualified for Nationals (see article below).

Sheila Shaw, assistant coach of 1st Alliance 18 Silver, and her
partner just won the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Shootout on
Bradford Beach in Milwaukee beating 2004 Olympians
Davis/Johnson in the semis!! Click here for more details.



Madison Babich and Halle Truett finished second out of
more than thirty teams this past weekend in the 14U division at
the Spike n' Splash tournament held at North Ave Beach.

This qualifies them for the AAU Jr. Olympics held in New
Orleans the weekend of July 30th.



The final national rankings for the 2011 club season are out and teams from
1st Alliance | Lions Jrs made the top 25 in every age group.

With a very heavy emphasis on year-end performance, the final 2010 lists these
1st Alliance | Lions Jrs teams:

18 and under ranking
  1st Alliance 18 Silver – 11th

17 and under ranking
  1st Alliance 17 Silver - 8th. Coached by Nic Paquiz, 1st Alliance shook off some significant injuries
    to finish well at Junior Nationals. The right side attack, led by Jessie Tulacka, was particularly
  1st Alliance 17 Black – 39th

16 and under ranking
  1st Alliance 16 Silver – 11th

15 and under ranking
  Lions 15-1 – 22nd



The coaches of the year are Beth Keck and Aaron Porter, 1st
Alliance 16Silver coaches.

Together they helped mold a young and somewhat inexperienced
team into National Champions. Hard work, intensity and focusing
on the goal were important to both coaches all season. Throw in
a little luck and the right timing and you once in a while come up
Champions. Congratulations Beth and Aaron!



Laura Williams received all-tournament honors at the
USA Volleyball National Junior Championships held last
week in Atlanta, Georgia. She is one of fifteen named to
the all-tournament team. Laura is an outside hitter on 17

17 Silver played very well at the tournament - ending up
second in the Bronze Division and tenth overall. As one
of only 32 teams that qualified for the National Champion-
ship in 17 Open, 17 Silver matched up against the best
in the country and ended the tournament having won six
of their ten matches.

Playing In the finals of the Bronze Division, 17 Silver found itself losing in a closely
contested match against a TAV team that played flawlessly at the top of their game.

Congrats to Laura and all the 17 Silver girls on a great tournament.



June's coach of the month is Laura Baetzel, coach of 1st Alliance 18Black. Laura is a first year
coach for 1st Alliance and was a member of the FIRST 1st Alliance 18Silver team six years ago.
Laura's intensity she had as a player is evident in her desire to see her players be the best they
can be. Her fellow coaches appreciate her enthusiasm for the sport and her desire for her team
to excel. Congratulations Laura and we hope you have a LONG coaching career with 1st Alliance!



1st Alliance 16 Silver slays TAV 16 Black in the champion-
ship match of the 38th AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball
Championships. The match was televised by ESPN GO and
is available on their website.Click here to see 1st Alliance
16 Silver win the national championship.Select the Wed Jun
22 7pm match. Click here to read an article on ESPN Rise. also covered the event.

1st Alliance 16 Silver coach Beth Keck called the match up between her team and TAV VB Rags
16 Black for the AAU 16 Open national championship “a little bit of David versus Goliath.” While
that conjures up a particular image, there is one thing that most people forget: David won that

Wednesday evening at the Milk House at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, “David” did it
again. Using aggressive serving and a never quit attitude, 1st Alliance upset Texas Advantage,
27-25, 25-16, to claim the title that just about everyone thought would be heading back to Texas.

Full Recap of 1st Alliance and Lions top finishes:
  14 & Under Classic Division
    Lions 14 Navy - 2nd place
    All Stars from Lions 14Navy:
      Francesca Cervone
      Annicka Griffith
      Jennifer Marie Porod

  14 & Under Club Division
    Lions 14 Red - 5th place
    All Stars from Lions 14 Red:
      Lizzie Zaleski

  14 & Under Open Division
    Lions 14-1 - 9th place finish

  16 & Under Open Division
    1st Alliance 16Silver - 1st place
    All Americans from 1st Alliance 16 Silver
      Mallory Salis
      Melissa Deatsch
      Sophia Dodd- MVP

  17 & Under Club Division
    1st Alliance 17 White - 5th place
    All Stars from 1st Alliance 17 White
      Jackie Aird

  18 & Under Club Division
    1st Alliance 18 Black - 2nd place
    All Stars from 1st Alliance 18 Black
      Amanda Kijewski
      Tori Clifford
      Jill Briner

  18 & Under Open Division
    1st Alliance 18 Silver - 3rd place
    All Americans from 1st Alliance 18 Silver
      Alexis Viliunas
      Jocelynn Birks

  16 & Under Boys
    3CE 16 Boys - 5th place



Lions 12-1 ends the season with a win at the
2011 Asics Junior National Volleyball Champion-

Strong play from all the way around, the Lions
12-1 team ends season on a high note with a
championship win at the Navy Pier this past
week. Congratulations to Julie and the 12-1 Team.



Lions Jrs Announces the 2011 Summer Sand Volleyball League. Lions Jrs would like to announce
it first annual Summer Sand Volleyball League. Click here to read the flyer for more information.

This program is open to boys and girls who are going into 7th grade and up. It is for club and nonclub
players so please feel free to pass this on to your friends.



Lions 15-1 makes a winning statement at GLC Pre-Nationals
tournament. The team is pictured here with their winning
t-shirts after defeating SPVB 15 Elite in the championship.



Lions 14-1 earned a 2nd place finish at the Youth Classic. The Team went 5-1 not even dropping a
game until the one game final 23-25 loss to NIagara Frontier.


6.3.11's Defensive Dandies - Part II recognizes
more 1st Alliance players. This group, players known as
"Gym Dandies", focuses on 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.

Note: click here to see the article on 1st Alliance players
recognized in Part I.

Here is's commentary on 1st Alliance players named as "Gym Dandies":
First Team:
  Caroline Niedospial, Sr., Marist (Chicago IL) – No libero dominated a match the way "Carks"
  did in 2010 for nationally-ranked Marist. First Team All State and named Player of the Year by
  the Southtown Star, Niedospial passed serve flawlessly and wracked up 728 digs, many rally
  crushing, for the Redhawks. "She has panther-like reflexes on defense and will dig balls that
  most athletes can't even get to and keep them in system," said Marist coach Natalie Holder. "She
  completed a stellar career at Marist that will unlikely be matched by another in her position. Her
  awards are almost too numerous to be able to list individually. What is impressive about Carks is
  that she is not motivated by awards or individual success, but rather the overall success of her
  team. When she competes, she is intense and laser focused." She will play at Northwestern.

Fourth Team:
  Bridget Powell, Jr., Mother McAuley (Chicago IL) – Powell is a tough defensive player who is
  quick and reads well. She puts herself in the right position either while covering the hitter or
  digging an attack and makes her job look easy. Powell piled up a team leading 552 digs in 2010.
  She frustrates hitters and takes them out of their game and has the ability to deflate opposing
  teams by digging balls that most others cannot get to. She is the perfect anchor to the back half
  of the court, and makes her back row teammates better.

Sixth Team:
  Megan Miller, Jr. Lyons Township (LaGrange IL) – The starting libero for the Illinois 4A
  champs, the Wake Forest-bound Miller had 24 digs in the state final, capping a season in which
  she amassed 534 digs in 87 sets. On varsity since she was a freshman, Miller is s extremely
  coachable and has an impressive "team-first" mentality. She is a cat quick defender who
  passes precisely. Her ability to serve zones with laser accuracy is a weapon that can score
  valuable points.

Honorable Mention:
  Emily Milligan, Soph., Nazareth Academy (LaGrange, IL) – A vocal leader, Milligan plays
  unreal defense and is nails on serve receive. She was part of a youth movement for Nazareth
  last fall and has anchored 1st Alliance 16 Silver’s back row this spring. Club coach Beth Keck
  describes her as "steady and calm with extremely quick feet."



The Lions Jrs. | 1st Alliance| Fearless | 3rd Coast Elite 4th Annual Club Year End Party and Senior
Salute takes place Monday 6/13. Click here for a Flyer.

When/What/Where: Monday, June 13th
  6:30-7:30pm Alumni match (Optional) @ Lyons Township
  7:00-7:30pm Cheer Off @ Lyons Township South Campus Gym
  7:30-9:15pm Food, Season wrap up, Senior Salute @ the Corral (adjacent to Lyons Township
    SC High School)

Who: Parents, players, siblings & alumni

Cost: $5 per person or $15 per family. Pay at the Corral

Pizza, Salad, Drinks, Games Club slide show Awards & Senior salute



1st Alliance 16 Silver and Lions 15 Red had strong finishes at NJCs. After overcoming a rough
road in the middle of the season, 16 Silver goes back to back weekends with Championship
appearances. A second place finish at the 18 and Under Central Zone and a second in the
16 Open at NJC’s prepares the team well for their season ending tournament in Orlando in a
few weeks.

Lions 15 Red takes home a bronze in the 15 Club division at NJC’s this past weekend.

Other team fared well at NJC’s despite battling injuries:
  1st Alliance 18 Silver: 7th
  1st Alliance 17 Silver: 5th
  1st Alliance 17 Black: 8th

Congratulations to Shannon and Emily for their player awards!
  16 Open
    Best Libero – Emily Milligan – 1st Alliance 16 Silver  
  15 Club
    Best Libero – Shannon McKevitt – Lions 15 Red


5.23.11 has named two 1st
Alliance players to its Dandy Lions List.

Named to the Third Team is Caroline
(No. 16) and named to the Fifth
Team is Laura Williams (No. 13).

"Dandy Lions" is Part I of PrepVolley-'s Defensive Dandies recognition.
These are players
believes are "all-around high school or
club talents who project as back row animals at the next level."

Here is what had to say about these 1st Alliance players:

Caroline Rose, Jr., York (Elmhurst IL) – A dynamic attacker at 5-7 with a great vertical and a very
strong defender, Rose finished 2010 with 355 kills and 369 digs and earned All-Area honors
from both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. She projects as a libero in college,
where her high volleyball IQ and never ending tenacity will serve her well.

Laura Williams, Jr., Lyons Township (LaGrange IL) – A three-year starter, Williams was an
outside hitter on the Illinois large-class state champions in 2010, and finished second on the team
in both kills and digs. Committed to Duke, Williams is a multi-skilled player who can set or hit but
will likely play defense for the Blue Devils. “She has started on the Lyons Varsity team since her
freshman year and has proven to be a valuable contributor in every phase of the game,” said
coach Joann Pyritz. “The Lyons team simply would not have achieved at the level they did withou
t her effort and skill.”



The 14 Blue team is at it again, winning the Palos tournament
on May 22nd. The girls came in 1st in pool play, and defeat-
ing Celtic Force 14 Green. The girls came back after losing
the 1st game 14 to 25, and being down by 9 points the
second game. So far this season, they have placed 1st in 4
out of the 5 tournaments they have played in.

The girls have showed their strength, dedication and willing-
ness to help each other and go the distance. From the 1st month of practice the girls and their
coach came up with a motto that is said after all cheers and that is proudly displayed on all of our
team shirts DOMINATION!!!!! The team plans on taking that spirit and commitment to the Youth
Classic and AAUs!!



The Coach of the month is Jill Briner who coaches 10
Orange. Jill took her coaching job very seriously this year,
leading the Orange “Tigers” to a strong finish in the Year
end tourney. Her enthusiasm and active coaching style
were a great motivation to her team and helped them improve
throughout the season. Jill balanced playing on the 18 Black
team AND coaching this season. Thanks Jill!



Lions 14-1 pose for a picture to celebrate their 2nd place
overall finish in the 14 and under Great Lakes Power
League. This past weekend the team clinched a 2nd place
finish in the 14's power league out of 69 teams. Being one
of 2 teams that never dropped from pool A the entire season.
It was a great finish to a competitive league.



Lions 16 Blue had another successful tournament. The team
took second in their pool, losing only to the team that was
seeded above them. Lions 16 Blue went 3 games with them
and lost 18-20.

On the positive side, the team overcame another hill: That's
beating Ultimate Black in the playoffs, amazing match (25-22).
Lions 16 Blue has not beaten them all year and they are a
well rounded team. In the Final four we faced our own Lions 16 Red team and 16 Red played their
butts off - the best coach Wes Giacobbe has ever seen them play. His own Blue team lost 25-20,
25-19. He was proud of how his girls played though.



Here is a recap of our 2011 Mother’s Day Scrimmage. Congratulations to all of our winners!
  Champion of Round Robin tournament: 18 Silver
  Best Serve: Mary Kate Whelan (17 White)
  Best Attack: Lauren Zielinski (17 Silver)
  Best Set: Colleen McCollom (18 White)
  Best Dig: Megan Miller (17 Black)
  Highest Approach Jump: Heather Boyan 10" (18 Silver)
  Highest Vertical: Alexis Davito (18 Black) and Mallory Salis (16 Silver) 27 in

All the players, coaches and staff wish all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day!



Congratulations to Lions 12-1 who won gold at the
Sunsetter’s 13 and under tournament this past Saturday.
Lions 12-1 beat Diamond Elite 13-1 team in the championship.



Mary Passananti and her 11 RED team volunteered at the
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE near Hope Children's Hospital.
The girls made cookies and brownies for the 16 families of sick
children staying at Hope Children's Hospital. Ronald McDonald
House provides a "home away from home" to keep families
together while their child is receiving medical treatment. The
House provides all the comforts of home to these families.

In addition, Nora and Kelly (twin sisters) went back to school and started a pop tab collection for
the House. They were recognized by their class at school!



Congratulations to Bridget Powell who plays libero on 17 Silver.
She made's Dream Team of the Week!

In naming Bridget, Prep noted that she "Dug 1st Alliance back
into contention and then to the 17 Open title in Louisville".

Click here to read more about the 17 Silver victory in Louisville.



Participate in Erin’s Memorial Blood Drive 2011.  The Potts
family invites you to join in the celebration of Erin’s 20th
Birthday by donating blood in her memory. Click here for

Erin received many transfusions throughout her three year
treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma.  Consider the positive impact
your generosity will have on the many individuals who are in
need of the gift to life.  Please, light their paths through your participation in our annual blood drive.



Fearless 11's won the Lions Jrs. Year-End tourney for 5th
graders on Saturday, April 30th at the Chalet! Congratulations.



Alumni Ali Deatsch is the recipient of Elon's Lumen Prize. 1st
Aliance Alumni and current Elon volleyball player, Ali Deatsch is
one of 15 rising juniors that were named recipients of the 2011
Lumen Prize, the university’s premier award that comes with a
$15,000 scholarship to support and celebrate academic
achievements. Deatsch is the first Elon athlete to win this
prestigious award. Click here for more.



Alums Caitlyn Ballweber(pictured tossing the ball to a group
of girls at Suntree Elementary), Lexi Mastela and Sami Loar
visited Suntree Elementary School’s (Florida) first grade
classes for the second time this year last Friday (April 15) as
part of a community project that their current collegiate team,
Florida Tech participated in.

On the first visit, the Panthers stopped by different
classrooms to read the students’ favorite stories, answer
questions and interact with the children. The initial experience proved to be fun and very
entertaining for the entire team.

Instead of staying inside the classroom the second time around, the squad taught 90-plus first
graders how to play a little volleyball. Each student-athlete was given a group of 10 children and
four volleyballs. With excited children ready to learn, they proceeded to the playground to teach
them the basics.

The Panthers thoroughly enjoyed working with the children during both trips. They are already
looking forward to planning similar volunteer opportunities next season. “It was a very rewarding
experience to be able to interact with the children,” junior setter Haley Tignor said. “It was nice to
give back to the community by giving the kids an opportunity to learn something new and also have
fun while doing it.”

By: Kaitlin Brennan, freshman middleblocker from Gainesville, Fla.



Lions 14 Blue continues their successful journey this season,
winning the 14 Club Silver Division this past weekend at the
JVA World Challenge in Louisville, Kentucky.

The team went 8 and 1 finishing 7th out of the 45 in the division.

The team was also in another Sunsetter’s Tournament on April
16th which they won as well. To date, the team has won both
Sunsetter’s Tournaments.

14 Blue continues their winning streak at the Sky-high Showdown on April 30th, winning 1st place.



All Lions | 1st Alliance | Fearless teams 11 -18 created Easter
Baskets for children residents from SOS Children’s Village,
which is a children’s orphanage located in Lockport. 32 Easter
Baskets were made and were nothing short of spectacular.

Each team took the time to pick things for the child that they
were assigned. Some made personalized cards, some made
signs from the Easter Bunny, but they all were gorgeous. The
personnel at the village were overwhelmed and completely grateful for the donations.

Additionally, there were enough odds and ends donated that the 1st Alliance Service Project Team
put together another dozen smaller baskets. The team donated those on behalf of 1st Alliance, to
the Crisis Center for South Suburbia in Tinley Park (they service battered and abused women and
children). The center was equally as touched that we would think of them.



1st Alliance 17 Silver won the Junior Volleyball Association
World Challenge 17 Open Volleyball Championship held April
22-24 in Louisville, Kentucky. 18 Black met their goal and 13
Blue brought home a bronze division first.

Going 2-1 in both their Friday and Saturday pools qualified 17
Silver for the Gold round on the final day with Milwaukee Sting
17 Gold standing in their way of getting to the finals. In each
set, 17 Silver had runs that put them in what appeared to be a commanding lead. Both times Sting
came back to threaten, but Silver was up to the task, winning 25-21and 25-20 to play for the

In the finals, 17 Silver faced Alliance 17 Muzuno out of Nashville, Tennessee - a team they had
lost a close three set match to in their Saturday pool. However, 17 Silver was the dominant team
in the Championship. In the first set, Silver broke open a close match to forge a ten point lead and
eventually won 25-16. In the final set, Siliver lept from an 11-11 tie to a 17-11 lead then held off a
late challange to eventually win 25-21.

18 Black went 4-3 for the tournament, and tied for 5th. They were ranked 9th in the
tournament and beating their ranking was a team goal for the weekend. 18 Black finished top
10 on both their Indy and KY trips.

13 blue took 1st place among bronze division teams. They had a great weekend and Jessica did a
nice job too!

Good job girls.



1st Alliance 17 Silver takes home a bronze medal and a national
bid to Junior National Championships this past weekend at the
Northern Lights Qualifier.

17 Silver began the tournament with a decisive 25-16, 25-7 win
over the KJ 17 Baden team from Kent, Washington. They ran
into a tough Texas Pride 17 Elite Team from Houston and
eventually lost in three exciting sets before finishing the first
day with another one sided victory over United Performance 17 Elite from South Carolina, 25-13
and 25-18.

Day two found the girls rolling past Minnesota Select 26-24, 25-15, Instinct 17 Tigers of Carrolton,
Texas 25-21, 22-25, 15-13 and Minnesota One 25-22, 25-14 to make their way into the Gold Round.

In the fight for Gold, 17 Silver opened against Northern Lights and eventually lost a tough three set
match 25-20, 21-25, 10-15. They rebounded however against crosstown rivals Sky High 17 Black
25-19, 25-14 to finish second in their pool. This earned them an opportunity to play for bronze.

In the Bronze match, Silver dominated OVA 17 of Orlando 25-15 and 25-15 to bring home third
overall. Their efforts also qualified them for the USA Volleyball National Championships this summer.
in Altanta. Nice going girls.



Lions 12-1 continue their season domination with an overall
record of 20-0, 40-0 in sets! The team took home another gold
this past weekend at Sunsetters. Lions 12-1 will travel to
Louisville this weekend for the JVA Mid-Year event to see how
they stack up against the nation’s best.

Lions 13 Navy won the Sunsetters Tournament today. They
went 5-0 on the day and beat Celtic Force 13 Black for the
championship! 13 Navy has played the last several weeks with only 6 girls due to injuries. Today,
they had their full team of 8 on board to help them achieve the victory.



Lions Jrs. 16Red Team poses here with their championship
medals from the Windy City Power League from 2 weeks ago.
The team, players and parents were so excited to be part of the
inaugural Windy City Power League. Coming home with the
championship and the bid to Junior Nationals was icing on the



Aaron Porter (shown at left) and Evan Muys (1st Alliance
assistants) are recognized as MAMVIC all-conference players.

After the conference tournament, SXU had sophomore outside
hitter Aaron Porter (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South) earn
a spot on the first team of the All-MAMVIC East team, while
freshman right side hitter Evan Muys (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg)
claimed honorable mention recognition.



Lions 11 RED team sports BE-THE-CURE t-shirts. Even though
the 21 yr. old former Downers Grove South and former Lions
Jrs. volleyball player is undergoing another round of proton
radiation therapy in Boston and after Casey Patton doctors
discovered her tumor is growing again, Casey is confident.

Casey started this t-shirt fund-raiser 3 yrs ago, and to date
has raised $80,000 selling her BE-THE-CURE T-shirts, with all
the proceeds going to Children's Memorial Hospital.

Click here for more information on Casey and her BE-THE-CURE t-shirts.



The Coach of the month is Julie Heatherly. Julie coaches the
Lions 12-1 team this year. They have had a very successful
season so far in part due to her hard work and dedication to
the team. Julie also organizes our private lessons and you’ll
often see her working with players from all teams as she is
dedicated to improving all players. She has coached for Lions
since returning home from college and has coached 12’s
through 17Silver. Congrats and thanks Julie!



Congratulations to our Lions 12-1's. They finished 1st out of 32
teams in the 1st Annual Windy City Power League. Our 12-1's
went 15-0 in matches and 30-0 in games!! The team overcame
some tough matches this season, especially against Energy 12
Rox and Michio 12 National. Lions played each team 3 times in
the league.

Sarah Rose and Tess Reardon lead the team with some great
serving. Maddie Dunterman was the team kill leader and Sarah Nielsen put up some great sets for
all of her hitters. All in all it was a combined team effort and it took hard work and a desire to WIN
that made the team such a success this Power League!!



1st Alliance 16 Silver poses for their championship picture
after winning the 15/16 Open division of the 3rd Annual Spring
Classic Extravaganza.

Click here for a tournament recap, including a list of tourney,
raffle and contest winners.

Thanks to all teams that participated in this third year event and
thanks to the many helpers that made this happen.

Congratulations also goes out to our Lions 13-1 team who also
took home gold in the 13s division.

Pictured here are Madison Babich and Marina Gonzalez.



February was ‘Let’s Say Thanks’ month at 1st Alliance. 1st
Alliance 18 Silver was the first team to reach 100%
participation by sending a ‘Thank You’ card to our troops.

The 1st Alliance volleyball teams have stepped up to the plate
in a big way to show their support of the men and women
serving our country in the military! The month of February
marked the kick off of the ‘Community Service’ committee for
our volleyball club and all the teams got right on board.

Our first task was to create awareness of the committee
within the club and the second was to give everyone an
inspiring common goal to aim for. February was ‘Let’s Say
Thanks’ month at 1st Alliance. Each team was given the task
of going online to and completing the
simple steps to send a beautiful hand designed card to our
service men and women. It was an easy choice for the
committee and has proven to be very rewarding for all who

After completing the card you were able to read some
inspiring notes of gratitude from the troops. Many of the men
and women serving our country do not receive any mail the
entire time that they are away and this may very well be the
only contact that they from home. You should all be proud of
your efforts…Well Done!!

The first three teams to reach and report 100% participation were:
  18 Silver (shown in the top picture),
  16 Black (shown in the middle picture), and
  14 Fearless (bottom picture)
They are 1st Alliance Community Service Leaders!



1st Alliance, Lions have made the March 2011 National Club Rankings in every division (15s to
18s). Unlike our pre-season rankings, which predict where teams will be at the end of the year,
these rankings reflect the now, to wit, how a team has fared since the start of the season.

18s: 1st Alliance 18 Silver Ranked 11th
17s: 1st Alliance 17 Silver Ranked 11th
16s: 1st Alliance 16 Silver Ranked 8th
  (Quote by Prep ‘very confident team flying 1st Alliance banner well’
15s: Lions 15-1 Ranked 11th



Sophia Dodd, Mallory Salis, Sharon Anderson and Melissa Deatsch have been honored
by as top sophs in the country. The 2010 Soph 79 represent the Best
VARSITY PLAYING High School Sophomores in the Country. Here is what
says about these athletes.

Soph 79 list:
  Sophia Dodd, 5-11 S, St. Ignatius College Prep (Chicago, Illinois) – The two-time All Girls Chicago
  Athletic Conference (GCAC) selection ranks in the top four of every statistical category at St.
  Ignatius and is on pace to break six career records. “Sophia is a five-tool player putting up some
  impressive numbers in her young career,” said head coach Erik Eastman. “She is mature beyond
  her years.” Dodd, who had led the Wolfpack to a 61-17 record the past two seasons, had 440
  assists, 195 kills, 28 aces, 197 digs and 45 blocks in 2010. Dodd has also been named to the
  GCAC All Academic team two straight years and earned Champaign News-Gazette All State
  Second Team honors last fall.

  Mallory Salis, 5-9 OH, Marist (Chicago, Illinois) – Easily one of the top sophomores in the Chicago
  area, Salis led Marist to a best-ever 39-3 record and a supersectional berth opposite eventual
  Class 4A state champion Lyons. She finished the year with 232 kills, 60 aces, 49 blocks and
  299 digs. “She starts on a team that plays a statewide and national schedule,” said head coach
  Natalie Holder. “That makes a difference when comparing her to other athletes, regardless of
  age. She earned her statistics against the very best players in the state and the nation. She is
  the total package. She makes a consistent impact for six rotations. We had a loaded team with
  a plethora of skilled athletes, and she was probably the most underrated because she was
  always surrounded by them on the court.”

Elite Honorable Mention:
  Sharon Anderson, 5-8 S, Hinsdale South (Darien, Illinois) – The Hornets had some great and
  shocking wins in 2010. They came with Anderson, in her first varsity season, dishing the rock.
  Anderson finished the year with 989 assists and added 105 digs and 32 aces. She was an
  all-West Suburban Conference Gold Division selection, was a key part of a Hinsdale South
  team that advanced all the way to a Class 4A supersectional.

High Honorable Mention:

  Melissa Deatsch, 5-11 OH, York (Elmhurst, Illinois) – Deatsch played a key role in the Dukes’
  advancing to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2010. A defensive wiz, Deatsch finished the
  season with 252 kills, 239 digs, 44 blocks and 39 aces.



Alumni Carli Weiler will represent USA Volleyball on this year’s
National A2 team. USA Volleyball recently announce the 2011 U.S.
Women’s National A2 Program roster, which includes one of our
alums, Carli Weiler. currently playing volleyball for Michigan State
University where she is a 5-4 Libero. Weiler, from Oak Lawn, Il.,
averaged 2.57 digs per set last fall in her junior season at Michigan
State. She also totaled 574 reception attempts with only 23 errors for
a .960 percentage. Weiler played in 27 matches as a junior with two
starts at libero.



The Spring Classic will be using CaptainU for recruiting. Players please update your online profile
sheet so visiting colleges will have your information. Click here for more details and links.



Lions 14 Blue participated in the 14U Sunsetter’s tournament this past weekend and won it! The
team defeated Attack 14 Blue in semis (lost to them in pool play); Sunsetters 14 Purple; APM 13's;
Belusa 14 Ice and beat Sunsetters 14 Black in the final. The girls played well and never gave up.
It is a great way to head to St. Louis



1st Alliance Teams fared well in ‘Showcase Tourney’ in the Dells.

Final Finishes:
  16 & Under-
    1st Alliance 16 Silver 3rd place

  17 & Under-
    1st Alliance 17 Black 3rd place
    1st Alliance 17 White 9th place

  18 & Under-
    1st Alliance 18 Silver 3rd place

  All-Tournament Team Awards:
    Mallory Salis – 16 Silver
    Jocelynn Birks- 18 Silver
    Brittany Brown - 17 Black



Our Lions 16-1 Team won the Palos tourney on Sunday, March
6th, defeating a very good Uno 16-1 team in the championship.



1st Alliance 18 Silver won the GL Power League on Sunday and the great President’s Day play
continued for other teams this past weekend too. Congratulations to all the teams!

1st Alliance 18 Silver beat SPVB 18 Elite to win the Great Lakes 18 and under Power League on
Sunday 2/27.

Lions 12-1 won the 12 and under Windy City Power League Sunday 2/27 by defeating Michio
Nationals in the championship.

Lions 16 Red won the 16 and under Windy City Power League Sunday 2/27 for the third
consecutive weekend by defeating Club W in the championships. Lions 16 Red is now 14-1 in the
league and qualifies for USA Nationals in Atlanta if they maintain their ranking!



Thanks for participating in the candlelite fundraising project. We want to send a special thank you to
Ericka Taylor who took the lead and organized everything for this fundraiser. The candles will be
shipped the second or third week of March and will be sent directly to the seller.

Congratulations to the three winners (top sellers):
  Shantiera Taylor Lions 14 Blue
  Hanna Markewycz Lions 14 Red
  Shalyn Brady Lions 13-1

Winners, please see your coach for your gift card. Prizes will be available starting Monday,
March 7, 2011.



Additional props go out to all our other teams that had successful President's Day weekends.
SPVB President’s Day finishes:
  1st Alliance 17 Silver - 2nd place
    Note: a full story on the finals is written on
  Lions 15-1 - 3rd place
  1st Alliance 18 Black - 7th place
    The team went 7-1 for the weekend beating SPVB 18 Elite and Michigan Elite!
  1st Alliance 16 Black - 7th place
    The team defeated several nationally ranked opponents including Rolling Thunder 16 Blue,
    A5 161 gabe, Madfrogs of Dallas, and Uno Elite 16. Black finished the tournament in 7th place,
    far outperforming their original seed of 21
  1st Alliance 17 Black- 8th place
    The team made a great run in the tourney beating many good teams along the way!

Wisconsin Juniors President’s Day tourney:
  Lions 13 Blue - 2nd place
  Lions 13-1 - 3rd place in the 14 and under division



Back to back tourney wins propel 1st Alliance 16 Silver into
being one of the nation’s top contenders in the 16 and under
age group. 16 Silver won the prestigious SPVB President’s
Day tournament this past weekend.

The team had a great weekend, running the table 8-0, losing
only 1 set (to 1st Alliance 16 Black) all tournament. Last four
match wins were especially convincing: beating super athletic
Madfrogs of Dallas 25-17,25-10; beating Highly ranked A5 161 Gabe 26-24, 25-16; then handling
a great DFFO 16 team (the whisper favorite to win it all) 26-24, 25-18 in the semifinal and taking
down a tall, athletic Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold crew 25-23, 25-11 for the Championship!



18 White poses for a championship picture after winning the
Dells President’s Day tournament this past weekend.

Lions 17-1 also placed 3rd, losing a tight semi-final contest to
18 White.



Brittany Mankowski passes the ball up to the setter for Lions
Jrs. 13 Red in Wisconsin Juniors 13 and under President’s Day
Tourney this past weekend. 13 Red won the 13 and under
division without dropping a match along the way!



Lions 14 Blue had a strong finish in the Sky High Classic at Crystal lake over the weekend,
competing in the championship game. The team took 2nd in their pool, defeating two 1st place
teams, then played against Sky High 14 Black in the championship, coming in 2nd overall.

The team is also doing well in the Windy City Power League where they are currently in pool A.



Lions 15-1 players Samantha Brown, Joyce Balash and Katherine Mahlke have made the Frosh 59 list. The Frosh 59 are the Best Varsity-Playing Freshmen in America.
To be considered, a player needed to be a varsity starter as a freshman and one of the top talents
in their area. There are many very fine players that won’t be found on this list because they played
exclusively on the junior varsity or were bench players for national powers.


Listed under Special Mention:
  Samantha Brown, 6-0 OH, Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park, Illinois) – A starter
  all year and the Roadrunners’ most consistent hitter, Brown averaged six kills per match in 2010 for
  a .500 team that started a lot of young players. Brown’s passing and defense steadily improved
  over the season, said coach Wayne Saunders. Brown ended up averaging 2.5 digs per match.
  “She did not play like a freshman,” Saunders said.

Listed under Honorable Mention:
  Joyce Balash, 6-0 MB, Montini (Lombard, Illinois) – A quick middle, Balash
  started all year for the Broncos, contributing kills and timely blocks.

  Katherine Mahlke, 6-1 RS, Downers Grove North (Downers Grove, Illinois) -- Mahlke started
  throughout the entire season for the Trojans and finished third on the team in total blocks with 32
  and had 100 kills.



The 3rd Coast Elite 17J team won the 17Club division of the
Great Lakes Volleyball Festival this past weekend to end
their winter season on a high note!



Jackie Simpson is our January Coach of the Month. Jackie is
a first year coach at 1st Alliance and has been a model coach
so far. She puts in countless extra hours working to make her
players better. She has brought in new techniques and ideas to
the program and has shared them with the coaches and the
players. Jackie works position practices, setter practices and
coaches the 1st Alliance 18 Silver team. She goes above and
beyond to cater to different coaching techniques and different ways that the kids learn.
Congratulations Jackie!



Three 1st Alliance players are chosen forthe 2010 High School All-America’s list:
Jocelynn Birks, Caroline Niedospial and Alexis Vilunas.

"To be a High School All-American," says, "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.”

Jocelynn Birks, 6-2 Sr. OH, Lyons Township (LaGrange, Illinois)

Caroline Niedospial, 5-7 Sr. Libero, Marist (Chicago, Illinois)

High Honorable Mention Alexis Viliunas, 6-1 Jr. S, Lyons Township (LaGrange, Illinois)



Congratulations to 16 Silver who took home gold over the



Congratulations to Lions 15-1 who won the Palos 16 and under
tournament by defeating Ultimate 15 Gold in the finals.



1st Alliance welcomes Ohio University coach Kyle Weindel to present blocking techniques on
Monday, February 14 at the Chalet Fitness Center. A clinic for players will be from 5:30 to 6:30
while a clinic for coaches will run from 6:30 to 7:30. Click here for a flyer.

The Clinic will be run by Ohio University Coach Kyle Weindel, who did a presentation at the NCAA
Final Four convention this year in Kansas City on blocking. A former NCAA All-American Kyle
Weindel entered his third season on the Ohio University volleyball staff in 2010. He serves as the
Bobcats' defensive coordinator and primary on-court trainer of the Bobcats' middle blockers, as
well as the team's video analyst and camp coordinator.

Weindel's efforts made an immediate impact on the Ohio program in 2008, as the Green & White
chalked up an average of 2.45 blocks per set (top-50 nationally, best in the MAC). In 2009, the
team led the league in blocks with 2.72 per set (15th nationally). Under his tutelage, both of Ohio's
starting middle blockers - Meghan Simons and Jane Sytsma - earned all-conference recognition
and were among the top-five in the conference in blocking and hitting percentage. Both players
played their way onto the program's single-season rally-scoring charts in every blocking category
and graduated among the top-five all-time in blocking. This past season, the Ohio Bobcats finished
the season as the #1 Blocking Team in the Nation, totaling 3.19 blocks per set.



Two 18 Silver Players made the 2010 National Player of the Year Finalist list: Jocelynn Birks and
Caroline Niedospial. To be considered for this honor, a senior had to make a “massive” impact on
her high school team and the state. "Massive" is a subjective term, but at a minimum required that
she have statistics that were the best on her team at her position and that she be one of the top
1-2 players in her state regardless of class. Here is what they said about these two 1st Alliance

Jocelynn Birks 6-3 OH, Lyons Township (LaGrange, Illinois) –
An Under Armour All-America pick and consensus First Team
All State selection, Birks led the Lions to a 41-1 record in 2010
and the Illinois 4A state title. Birks, who signed with Illinois, had
18 kills and nine digs in the title tilt and finished the year with
467 kills, 302 digs and 35 aces, mighty impressive numbers in
a state where they play best 2-of-3.

Caroline Niedospial, 5-7 Libero, Marist (Chicago, Illinois) –
The most amazing libero I have ever seen, no libero dominated
a match the way “Carks” did in 2010 for nationally-ranked
Marist. First Team All State and named Player of the Year by
the Southtown Star, Niedospial passed serve flawlessly and
wracked up 728 digs, many rally crushing, for the Redhawks.
“She is quick as lightning and is able to get balls on defense
that most would never have the ability to get close to,” said
Marist coach Natalie Holder. “She not only gets the ball up, but
it still is in system. She is the best libero that I have seen.” She will play at Northwestern.



Lions 13-1 Team listens intently to coach Rachel Entler during
a time-out this weekend against Ultimate’s 14-1 team. The
13-1 team competed in the Great Lakes 14 and Under Power



Another successful weekend at Windy City Power League. Lions 12-1, 14 Navy, 13 Blue and
16 Blue all went 3-0 in their respective pools. Congratulations for the nice showing.



Congratulations to our Trivia and Raffle Prize winners!!! Click here to see trivia answers and



The 2011 Pre-Season rankings are out and once again 1st Alliance teams are
ranked among the top 26 in their age groups. Here is what had to say about
18 Silver, 17 Silver and 16 Silver:

18’s Ranking: (1st Alliance 18 Silver ranked 18th)
18. 1st Alliance “and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” (Illinois)
The Facts: T-5 in Reno last summer in 17 Open, Alliance will make a run at the upper echelon again
this year with seven returning players, including setter Alexis Viliunas and Under Armour All
America Jocelynn Birks from Illinois state champion Lyons Township and amazing libero Carks
Niedospial. Big blocking middle Heather Boyan and OH Sofija Cucuz, who possesses phenomenal
arm speed, are two newcomers for head coach Jackie Simpson, a former Wisconsin star setter
who I can’t believe is 25 years old.

The Pun: The team took a survey of favorite cereals. Vicky Wrobel liked Apple Jacks. Katie
Krasowski preferred Special K. For Cucuz, it was Cocoa Puffs.

17’s Ranking: (1st Alliance 17 Silver ranked 26th)
26. “I Held Her” 1st Alliance (Illinois) The Facts: Eight return off of the team that finished 25th in 16
Open at Junior Nationals a year ago. The returnees include strong setter Katie Gallagher, two
physical middles in Gabby Pethoukis and Lauren Zielinski and great defense from Jill Hickey and
Bridget Powell. Setter Jenna Jacobson and RS Melissa Nava are both impact newcomers for coach
Nic Paquiz.

The Pun: Caroline Rose can be a thorn in the side of opponents.

16s Ranking: (1st Alliance 16 Silver ranked 20th)
20. “Quench Your” 1st Alliance (Illinois)
The Facts: Coach Beth Keck says this super athletic group will look a lot different from the Lions
team that took the floor a year ago. Standout setter Sophia Dodd returns to lead the troops, but she
will probably have two new attackers on the left in Mallory Salis, who led nationally-ranked Marist
in kills during the fall, and raw but athletic Danielle Schroeder. Another newcomer to watch is 6-1
leaper Hanna Lee, who will team with 6-3 Anna Vrhel to create a formidable tandem in the middle.

The Pun: Brittany Zeeb rah!

15s Ranking: Lions 15-1 ranked 30th



Congrats on a great weekend to the 3rd Coast Elite Boys who had competed in their 1st qualifier
this past weekend in st. Louis...especially to 16N who finished tied for 5th! Good luck in Wisconsin!

A round of applause also goes out to Lions 16-1 and Lions 15-1 who won their pools both days
in the Great Lakes 16 and under Power League. Lions 16-1 went 12-0!



18 and under Power League, CZone shootout and Windy City Power League results show
successes in the first weekend of play in 2011!

Congratulations to the teams who won their respective pools both Saturday and Sunday:
  1st Alliance 18 Silver
  1st Alliance 17 Silver
  Lions 15 Blue

Congratulations to the teams that won their pool on Saturday:
  st Alliance 16 Silver
  1st Alliance 17 Black
  1st Alliance 18 Black

Congratulations also go out to Lions 16-1 for a second place finish at the CZone shootout in
Crystal Lake and to all our teams that had strong showings in the new Windy City Power League.