Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wheaton Classic, Round 1

Wheaton Classic

St. Charles North d. Plainfield Central 25-20, 25-19

SCN stats: Anderson 7 kills, T. Krage 6 kills, DuVall 2 kills, Carroll 2 kills, Taylor 4 kills, D. Krage 6 kills, Wohlert 11 assists T. DalDegan 12 assists, Seavey 8 digs , Lappin 4 digs

St. Charles North d. Hinsdale Central 25-13, 25-15

SCN stats: T. Krage 8 kills, Anderson 5 kills, Taylor 5 kills, D. Krage 3 kills, Wohlert 10 assists, DalDegan 10 assists, Lappin 4 digs, Seavey 3 digs, Carroll 4 aces.


Match Results
at Wheaton North

Pool A
Benet d. Hinsdale South 23-25, 25-12, 25-14
Benet d. Wheaton Nrth 25-16, 25-19
Wheaton North d. Hinsdale South 28-30, 25-11, 25-22

Pool E
Naperville North d. Downers North 25-14, 25-19
Naperville North d. Rosary 25-10, 25-20
Downers North d. Rosary 25-022, 26-24

Pool D
St. Charles North d. Plainfield Central 25-20, 25-19
St. Charles North d. Hinsdale Central 25-13, 25-15
Hinsdale Central d. Plainfield Central 25-14, 25-12

Pool H
Libertyville d OPRF 25-21, 25-18
OPRF d. Evanston 25-18, 25-10
Evanston d. Libertyville 15-25, 26-24, 25-22
at Wheaton Warrenville South

Pool C
Marist d. Prairie Ridge 25-17, 25-16
Marist d. WW South 25-18, 25-23
WW South d. Prairie Ridge 25-17, 25-20

Pool B
Plainfield North d. Naperville Central 25-19, 25-22
Plainfield North d. Downers South 25-17, 25-18
Naperville Central d. Downers South 25-18, 25-22

Pool F
Sandburg d. Neuqua Valley 25-22, 25-22
Sandburg d. Wheaton Academy 25-13, 25-11
Wheaton Academy d. Neuqua Valley 23-25, 25-18, 25-20

Pool G
Waubonsie Valley d. Lemont 25-22, 25-17
Waubonsie Valley d. Glenbrook South 25-21, 25-15
Lemont d. Glenbrook South 25-18, 21-25, 25-21


To be continued Saturday.....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

North Defeats East!

St. Charles North players celebrate a point against St. Charles East during a varsity volleyball game at St. Charles North on Tuesday evening.
St. Charles North players celebrate a point against St. Charles East during a varsity volleyball game at St. Charles North on Tuesday evening.

St. Charles North snaps St. Charles East’s streak

With all the noise, emotion and general craziness going on in the St. Charles North gym on the 5th annual Volley for a Cure night Tuesday, the North Stars did an amazing job of tuning it out against a St. Charles East program that has owned this series lately.
The result was a third game with just a single North Star hitting error and no service mistakes. The Saints, meanwhile, missed three serves and committed seven hitting errors in the deciding game, and the steady, calm play by the North Stars proved to be the difference in a thrilling 25-17, 23-25, 25-22 victory that snapped an 8-match losing streak to St. Charles East.
The North Stars didn't lead in the third game until 15-14 when Taryn DalDegan set Emily Carroll for her first kill of the night. They never let go once they got it, improving their perfect record to 11-0 overall and 2-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division.
"We don't have people on our team that will freak out even when we were behind in the third game," said the North Stars' Northern Illinois-bound senior Taylor Krage who led all players with 18 kills. "We knew if we controlled our side there was a good chance to come out with a win."
That the North Stars did, with Krage putting away the final point on a cross-court kill.
"Senior leadership," North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins said of the difference. "Sydney Wohlert, Alex Seavey and Taylor Krage, they were all on the court, they wanted to win, they have been dreaming of this since they started here. They have been with me a long time and they are some of the best senior leaders I've ever had. They just really dug deep and stayed calm. They did not let the atmosphere rattle them, and they relied on each other."
It also marked the first win in seven tries for the St. Charles East alum Hawkins against her mentor Jennie Kull, and fittingly the North Stars did it with fundamentally sound volleyball.
The North Stars finished with 35 kills and just six hitting errors. The Saints put away more balls with 41 kills but also hit out or into the net 17 times, and they also missed seven serves in the match while the North Stars didn't miss a single serve.
"The big thing is cleaning up our side of the court," Hawkins said. "We have been focusing so much this year on what is going on on our side of the court and not worrying too much about their side of the court."
St. Charles North got off to a great start in front of a large and lively crowd for both sides. The North Stars led by as many as five points early before falling behind briefly at 15-14 on a block by middle Mikaela Mosquera, who was a force all night for the Saints.
The North Stars closed the game on a 13-2 surge. On one rally during the run Wohlert dug what looked like a sure Saints point, getting the ball to Seavey who set Krage for the kill. Strong serving late from Sam Lappin and Seavey and a couple more Krage kills got the North Stars to game point, which Carroll won with a block.
The Saints bounced back in Game 2 behind 5 kills each from Dana Voltolina and Meagan Smith and 4 from Mosquera. They overcame a 9-3 North Stars run in the middle of the game that put them in a 17-13 hole with an 8-2 burst of their own to go up 21-19. An Anne Hughes ace gave them game point, and Carly Jimenez set Mosquera in the middle for a kill that forced the third game.
"In a gym like this I was very pleased with the way they battled back and won that game," Kull said. "We mixed it up, did some different things."
St. Charles East (12-4, 1-1) had its chance early in Game 3 to take control but missed three straight serves at one point and made several other mistakes.
"The first eight points of the third game were our errors," Kull said. "That's what you live and die with in volleyball."
Leading 15-14 Carroll served four straight points to open a 19-14 lead. The Saints did respond and closed within 21-20 on Mosquera's kill and 22-21 on a North Stars lift, but Krage's tip kill made it 23-21, and Claire Anderson slammed down a Saints overpass for a 24-21 lead setting up Krage's kill on match point.
"We were trying to treat this game like any other game and we just need to take care of business," Hawkins said. "I have so much respect for Jennie Kull and so much respect for that program and that school. We want to emulate their tradition."
Jaclyn Taylor and Daley Krage both had 6 kills for the North Stars and Anderson 4. Wohlert (5 digs), Seavey (10 digs), Sophia DuVall (3 blocks) and Carroll (3 blocks) all made key contributions.
Hughes (21 digs, 2 aces), Jimenez (36 assists, 13 digs), Smith (9 kills, 4 digs), Megan Schildmeyer (9 kills, 2 blocks, 6 digs), Mosquera (11 kills, 3 blocks) and Voltolina (9 kills) led the Saints.
"I was really proud of our kids," Kull said. "Everybody said this team was down or whatever and they proved we are not. If we eliminate those errors, those young mistakes we made, if we get that done by the end of the season, it's going to get better."

Girls Volleyball: Taylor Krage takes St. Charles North past rival East

St. Charles East’s young girls volleyball team had found ways Tuesday to counter a rival St. Charles North’s outside power game led by Taylor and Daley Krage.
What East couldn’t match was when Taylor Krage came up with her own counter move. Krage’s off-speed hit provided a 23-21 advantage and the Northern Illinois University recruit put down three of her team’s final four points for a 25-17, 23-25, 25-22 victory in North’s own raucous gym.
“That’s the thing with Taylor is she’s a smart hitter,” North Stars coach Lyndsey Hawkins said. “She’ll come up and she’ll bang a couple balls and then she’ll throw you off with a tip. She’s just real smart. She finds the open court really well and she puts the ball down.”
North broke East’s eight-match winning streak behind 18 kills from Taylor Krage and six by Daley to keep a perfect (1-0 record on the year with its second Upstate Eight River win.
“We knew the atmosphere was going to be crazy,” Taylor Krage said. “Both the teams started off really well this year. It’s always a crazy match.”
North seemed in command of the third set after a five-point run with Emily Carroll serving for a 19-14 lead. But East, as Saints did all night, rallied within 21-20 by relying on the middle hitting of Mikaela Mosquera (11 kills) and the outside attacks of Meagan Smith (9 kills).
“We haven’t played a team that’s been that strong with middles like that,” Krage said. “It was a challenge. We just knew we were going to pull it out in the end.”
Krage then went up and put down a tip kill from what essentially was the back row.
After a setting error put the Saints within a point, Krage went to work again by getting high against the East block, and then putting down an off-speed hit — not quite a tip, but not a full blast.
Claire Anderson’s kill off a free ball made it 24-22 North, and after a long hit by the Stars, Krage’s kill finished the match.
“Our senior leadership -- (setter) Sydney Wohlert, (libero) Alex Seavey and Taylor — they all wanted to win,” Hawkins said. “They wanted this win and have been dreaming about this since they started here. They have been with me a long time and are some of the best senior leaders I’ve had.”
East had 21 digs from libero Anne Hughes and 36 assists by setter Carly Jimenez, but its strength in the middle wasn’t quite enough. And three serving errors in the beginning of the third set returned to haunt the Saints. (12-4, 1-1).
“They have lots of different weapons, they deserved to win,” East coach Jennifer Kull said. “But you can’t miss three serves. The first eight points of the third game were our errors.”
Kull came away feeling positive about her team despite the loss.
“Everybody had said, ‘Oh, this team is down,’ or whatever,” she said. “We proved that we’re not. If we eliminate those errors, we eliminate the young mistakes that we made and we get that done all by the end of the season, it’s going to get better.”

St. Charles North won’t let big win go to its heads 
Daily Herald by John Lemon Article updated: 9/18/2013 5:05 PM 

Super scene: It's always interesting to see what unfolds when St. Charles East and St. Charles North's volleyball teams square off, and Tuesday certainly was no exception.
For the first time in nine tries, St. Charles North was able to come out on top, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22.

North Stars senior Taylor Krage led all players with 18 kills but downplayed the significance of the win afterward. Maybe it's a sign that the North Stars, who improved to 11-0 heading into Wednesday's games, have bigger goals on their mind.

"East game always means a little more but it's not the state championship," Krage said. "Just another game. It's a great game to win but it's just another game."

North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins had a similar take. She didn't seem as interested in talking about getting her first win over the Saints as seeing the continued consistent play by her team taking care of what happens on their side of the net.

"Our team has been working on their resiliency and I think that helps in matches like this because we are not going to give up," said the fifth-year coach.

Gracious in defeat: Saints coach Jennie Kull had kind words for Hawkins afterward.
Hawkins played on Kull's 2001 state championship team at St. Charles.

"I'm proud of what she's doing. You love to win but when they aren't playing us I'm rooting for them," Kull said of the North Stars. "I'm glad she has put the program together like she has. She's a wonderful person. If they are going to beat us I'm glad it is a former Saint who did it."

Chicago Sun-Times    From the Back Row by Pat Brozynski

Another grudge match in the Upstate Eight Conference Tuesday saw St. Charles North nudge their rivals from St. Charles East 25-17, 23-25, 25-22.
"The atmosphere was intense and the match was a dogfight for both teams," St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins said.
Taylor Krage led the way for St. Charles North with 18 kills. Jaclyn Taylor and Daley Krage each had six kills and Claire Anderson added four. Alex Seavey anchored the defense with 10 digs, Taylor Krage had six and Sydney Wohlert added five. Sophia DuVall and Emily Carroll both had three blocks.
The North Stars are now 11-0 and play Plainfield Central and Hinsdale Central in pool play at the Wheaton Classic on Wednesday. St. Charles East slipped to 12-4.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Batavia Win Recap and East Prediction

Prep Girls Volleyball Insider: "Pack the Place" partnership

Batavia girls volleyball players kept their eyes on Maddie Jaudon during Tuesday's home match against St. Charles East, but the Bulldogs also are cognizant of what graduates are up to in college. (Sandy Bressner -
Batavia touted Tuesday's Upstate Eight Conference River Division opener as its "Pack the Place" night.
Visiting St. Charles North got the memo, too, as well as some promotional T-shirts. It was all part of Bulldogs coach Lori Trippi-Payne's plan.
"I think that speaks a lot about their program and just the person that she is," said North coach Lindsey Hawkins, who sported a "Pack the Place" T-shirt during the match. "She really wants to build an Upstate Eight tradition of spirit, and we love that because we're all about that at North. We were happy to join in and get as many fans out here as possible."
Ultimately, the royal blue and black-clad partisans in the overflow crowd found more to cheer about during North's 25-23, 25-21 victory – the North Stars' 10th in as many matches to open the season.
"We knew that it wasn't going to be easy. It was going to be a battle, but we all had to play for each other and we couldn't give up," North middle blocker Emily Carroll said. "We just had to keep fighting. Go all out for every play and never take a play off."

Allie aboard
Burlington Central's three-game win against Rock Falls last week included double-digit kills from hitters Jenna Schudel and Makenna Jensen.
That junior defensive specialist Allie DeTamble (nine kills) wasn't far behind them was especially encouraging to Rockets coach Marv Leavitt, who is looking for extra offense as the team awaits Lauren Wiltsie's recovery from a knee injury.
"That was strong. Allie played tough," Leavitt said. "She's one of our starting DSes, so the passing has been there, but getting that hitting contribution really helps us out."

Old 'Dogs, new fans
Trippi-Payne keeps a firm pulse on the status of former players in college. In October, she and her current batch plan to see two of them face off in Chicago.
Recently minted Missouri Valley Conference member Loyola hosts Evansville at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26, marking a reunion between ex-Bulldogs Stephanie Kinane (Loyola libero) and Kristen Koncelik (Evansville middle hitter).

"That's going to be crazy," Trippi-Payne said. "The girls are looking forward to it."
Depending on Batavia's earlier itinerary – the team is idle from competition on the weekend before regionals – the day could start in Arlington Heights, site of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. Batavia grad Briahna Havis, a defensive specialist for NAIA Roosevelt, is now a CCAC athlete.

In the groove:

Molly Haggerty, St. Francis, So., OH
What she did:
 Haggerty helped the Spartans defend their Conant Early Bird Invitational title over the weekend before shining again Wednesday night, smacking 13 kills during a road sweep of IC Catholic Prep in St. Francis' Suburban Christian Conference opener.

Carly Jimenez, St. Charles East, Sr., S
What she did:
 Jimenez distributed in style throughout this weekend's Conant invite, including a combined 42 assists in a semifinal win against Pius (Wis.) and the championship match loss to St. Francis.

Geneva's upperclassmen keep rolling. Although the Vikings welcomed an influx of younger talent to the rotation this season, it was Hannah Lanasa (28 kills) Kelsey Wicinski (51 digs) and Courtney Caruso (55 assists) who keyed Geneva's runner-up run in its own invitational Saturday. Lanasa, Wicinski and Caruso – a junior, junior and senior, respectively – led the team in the same statistical categories during Tuesday's sweep at Elgin.

Whether St. Charles North can register its first victory against St. Charles East in the Lindsey Hawkins era. Hawkins, the former Lindsey Linkimer, is winless against her former school and coach, Jennie Kull, since taking the job in 2009. She'll get the chance to turn the tables when the North Stars host the Saints Tuesday night in the programs' annual "Volley For the Cure" breast cancer event.

This probably isn't apropos of anything, but Sly still thought he'd point something out.
Since the UEC River debuted in 2010, the winner of the St. Charles East-St. Charles North football game has mirrored the victor when the schools meet in girls volleyball.
This year's football game is tonight, of course, with volleyball squaring off Tuesday night. Will East Side Pride prevail twice for the fourth year running? Stay tuned.

Footnote: Saints edge crosstown rival North, 28-21 in overtime on Friday the 13th. Time to break the trend.

No change in the state rankings for North this week:

Girls volleyball / Top 20

Effinghgam tournament champ St. Francis remains the No. 1 team in this week's Daily Herald Top 20 girls volleyball rankings. Benet is No. 2 and undefeated St. Charles North No. 3.
LAST UPDATED SEP 16, 2013 12:56 PM

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

North Stars defeat Bulldogs

St. Charles North girls volleyball defeats batavia

St. Charles North players, including Taylor Krage (center) celebrate their 25-23, 25-21 win Tuesday over Batavia. (Sandy Bressner –
BATAVIA – St. Charles North tussled with Batavia throughout Tuesday’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls volleyball opener.

Double-digit leads? Forget about them. Peace of mind? Not until the final point dropped.

North may have maintained its hot start with a 25-23, 25-21 sweep, but not before exhaling first. And then quickly moving on.

“We’re always training to be ready for that next match,” North Stars middle blocker Emily Carroll said. “Even though we’re 10-0, we never settle. It’s not good enough for us. We always try to be better, and better ourselves for the next match.”
Batavia (5-5, 0-1 UEC River) served aggressively and kept North out of sync for much of the night, a rarity for the North Stars (10-0, 1-0) to date.

“That was our goal,” Bulldogs coach Lori Trippi-Payne said, “but sometimes out of system is not a good thing, because Taylor Krage can hit in the back row.”

Krage, the North Stars’ Northern Illinois-bound senior outside hitter, smacked a match-high nine kills, including one to seal Game 1. Sophia DuVall (five kills) and Daley Krage (four) were next.
Audrey Faulhaber (nine digs), Maddie Jaudon (eight) and Heather Meyer (eight) challenged North’s hitters, helping Batavia lead as late as 23-22 in the first game and 18-16 in the second.
Ultimately, North persevered with a focus that has wowed coach Lindsey Hawkins since summer workouts, when players pledged their accountability to each other and to making the most of an experienced, talented core.

“We have a lot of girls that stay calm,” Taylor Krage said. “We don’t really freak out on the court, and we kind of just keep playing volleyball no matter what.” Of course, part of playing volleyball entails what some bystanders would consider “freaking out.” At least after big points.

A pregame announcement warned a boisterous “Pack The Place” crowd against the use of artificial noisemakers. Naturally, it didn’t apply to the North Stars or Bulldogs.
Eventually, North used that encouragement to its advantage at the net, as Claire Anderson, Jaclyn Taylor, Carroll and DuVall stood up to a Batavia attack led by Meyer (eight kills) and Shea Stanley (six).

“Honestly, just being loud and cheering each other on just motivates everyone to get that block,” Carroll said.

Sydney Wohlert had 15 assists for North, while Audrey Faulhaber had 22 for Batavia.
The Bulldogs host defending 4A state champion Benet on Thursday. Batavia counts losses to 3A champ St. Francis and perennial power Providence, as well, and hopes the North result will continue its bid to be a force down the stretch.

“Our schedule, we play that tough schedule to get ready for games like this, and we stayed in there with them, but I thought that we could have done even a little better tonight,” Trippi-Payne said. “What can you do, right? They’re a good team.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Moving Up in the Rankings!

Girls volleyball / Top 20  Article updated: 9/9/2013 2:19 PM

1. St. Francis (6-1) Spartans three-peat at Early Bird
2. Benet (6-1) How long will Pavich (shoulder) be sidelined?
3. St. Charles North (9-0) Stars pack plenty of power
4. Waubonsie Valley (7-1) Minarick is valuable as a setter, and hitter
5. St. Charles East (7-1) Falls to St. Francis for Early Bird title
6. Glenbard West (6-1) Tough week ahead with Marist, Effingham Invite
7. Crystal Lake S. (7-1) Rival Cary-Grove visits Thursday
8. Lake Zurich (6-2) Bears settle for 4th at Early Bird
9. Naperville North (5-1) Mankowski is much improved
10. Geneva (7-2) Falls to Joliet Catholic for own invite title
11. Stevenson (6-2) Pats lose to CL Central, Boylan at Jacobs
12. Larkin (6-2) Stewart 12 kills in 14 tries vs. Bartlett
13. Barrington (1-2) Roney tough on attack
14. Montini (6-0) Balash, Broncos make statement with win over No. 6
15. Huntley (5-2) Bested defending sectional champ PR in 3
16. Cary-Grove (6-1) Young Trojans placed 5th at Jacobs Invite
17. IC Catholic Prep (7-0) Knights host No. 1 St. Francis Wednesday
18. Glenbard South (11-1) Raiders win West Aurora Invite
19. Rolling Meadows (5-3) Solid fifth at Early Bird
20. St. Edward (9-4) Third place at Timothy Christian tournament

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Friday, September 6, 2013

St. Charles North Stars off to a 9-0 Start for the Season

Two easy wins in our first home games this week, and more positive press.

Girls volleyball: STC North def. Addison Trail, 25-15, 25-9. Taylor Krage (7 kills) and Claire Anderson (7) help North improve to 8-0.

Girls volleyball: St. Charles North 2, South Elgin 0 (25-13, 25-9). Final. Taylor Krage (7 kills) & Alex Seavey (7 digs) help 9-0 STCN.

St. Charles North handles South Elgin

St. Charles North girls volleyball coach Lindsey Hawkins stresses the importance of taking care of their own business to her team members.
“I tell them every day, ‘do not worry about what’s going on over there (at the other end of the court) -worry about our side,’” said Hawkins.
“These are the things that we can control.”
The North Stars certainly controlled their side of the court — and for that matter — the entire match during Thursday night’s 25-13, 25-7 Upstate Eight Conference crossover victory over South Elgin (0-3) in St. Charles.
St. Charles North, which raised its record to 9-0, jumped out to fast starts in both games.
In Game 1, the North Stars exploded to leads of 12-2 and 18-3 behind a balanced offensive attack fueled by Taylor Krage, Daley Krage, Emily Carroll, Jaclyn Taylor, Alex Seavey, Taryn DalDegan, Frankie Neari, Sydney Wohlert, and Claire Anderson.
In Game 2, Taylor Krage (6 kills, 1 block) recorded 4 of her kills during the North Stars’ 13-4 surge while Anderson (4 kills, 2 blocks) helped her team finish off the Storm with a late flurry that included 2 kills and a pair of blocks.
“I kind of got in a zone,” said Anderson, a sophomore right side who started at the varsity level as a freshman last season. “My setter and the rest of my teammates — they were playing awesome and I was just helping them out.”
While the Krage sisters can dominate play as powerful outside hitters, Anderson also figures prominently into the North Stars’ plans this season.
“It’s really nice to have another option,” said Hawkins. “That’s what is nice about this team — we really do have a lot of offensive weapons right now. Taylor and Daley are obviously getting set the most but Claire is right in there.
“She has been one of those players ever since she was in eighth grade that we knew was going to be an impact player for us,” added the coach. “She’s really coming along.”
Daley Krage added 5 kills and a block, while Wohlert delivered a pair of aces as part of the North Stars’ perfect serving performance.
“Serving is a variable that we can control,” said Hawkins.
Ashley Oandasan and Renee Rush paced South Elgin with 3 kills apiece, while Sarah Hallas had a pair of kills and Adrianna Loiacono added a kill and an ace.
“I feel like the score doesn’t really reflect how the girls on my side did,” said Storm coach Joni Plach. “We got some decent hits, we got some decent blocks, and we were able to have some rallies.”

Plach admitted her squad’s unforced errors were too much to overcome against a team like St. Charles North.
“It’s their consistency,” Plach said of the North Stars. “They don’t make a lot of errors. It’s us controlling the errors we make and they don’t mess up so we’re the ones that have to earn the point.”
St. Charles North can now turn its attention to Tuesday’s UEC River opener against Batavia.
“They’re going to be really solid defensively and it’s Pack the Place night for them Tuesday so it’s going to be a lively crowd,” said Hawkins.

Daily Herald
Scouting Tri-Cities Girls Volleyball Article updated: 9/5/2013 4:54 PM

Maybe it's not the Cubs unseating the Cardinals to become the NL Central power, but there was a changing of the guard of sorts in the area last fall.

While St. Charles East has been the measuring stick for years in the postseason, last October it was Geneva knocking out the Saints on their way to a sectional championship appearance against Glenbard West.

The Vikings also dethroned the Saints in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division continuing a trend of great parity at the top in the conference's short history with Batavia also owning a recent crown.

On the heels of their 29-10 season, and beating the Saints head-to-head in both conference and the sectional, can Geneva stay on top this fall?

If so, the Vikings will have to replace 10 seniors from that team including all-conference and all-area outside hitter and kill leader Hannah Buck, all-conference, all-area and dig record breaking libero Kelley Dalhiem, and all-conference right side Jess Wicinski.
Starting setters Nicole Schnieder and Sammy Gola, right side Renner Burns, and serving specialist Megan Bell also graduated.
Luckily for longtime coach KC Johnsen the Vikings bring back strength in the middle with Taylor Marmitt and Maddie Courter, outside hitter Hannah Lanasa, libero Kelsey Wicinski, and setter Courtney Caruso.
Add to that newcomers like outside hitter Kylie Thompson, defensive specialist Camille Kolquist, setter Megan Cameron, and freshmen right-sides Grace Loberg and Ally Barrett, and it's easy to see why Johnsen lists size, defense and depth at all positions as team strengths.
"We expect to be able to compete with just about anyone on our schedule and improve with experience as the season progresses," Johnsen said.
St. Charles East is largely inexperienced with just setter Carly Jimenez, libero Anne Hughes and middle Mikaela Mosquera returning.
Jimenez takes over for Erin Barry who set the Saints the past four years. While the Saints will feature a balanced attack, you can bet Jimenez will look for junior Megan Schildmeyer on the outside — she had a team-high 9 kills in the Saints' opening win over Wheaton North — in addition to Mosquera in the middle.
"I usually have that one big outside," Saints coach Jennie Kull said. "This will be different type of team for me. I'm kind of excited about the challenge."
Senior Carly Matthews, junior Meagan Smith and sophomore Sydney Urban joined the returnees in the Saints' starting lineup while Dana Voltolina, Ashley Bullock, Emily Vitel and Ally Watson all contributed off the bench. Outside Alex Mazanke was out with an injury.
"What we are starting with is very young," Kull said. "It's inexperience. It's a fresh start. Every day we need to see improvement of some sort. We have goals we need to reach. We just want to see improvement every day and by the time we are done we'll be the best we can be. That's our goal. Our conference is amazing this year."

The Saints and Vikings weren't the only Tri-Cities teams at last fall's Class 4A Larkin sectional. St. Charles North joined its River rivals before losing in the sectional semifinals to Glenbard West. Coach Lindsey Hawkins returns several of her top players from that team.
The North Stars welcome back 6-foot-1 Northern Illinois bound senior outside hitter Taylor Krage, 5-6 senior defensive specialist Alex Seavey, 5-5 senior setter Sydney Wohlert, 6-1 sophomore right side Claire Anderson, and 6-3 sophomore outside hitter Daley Krage.
"We are really excited about the season," Hawkins said.
Hawkins has good reason for excitement, and not just those impressive returnees. The North Stars add 5-6 junior setter Taryn DalDegan, 5-5 sophomore defensive specialist Sam Lappin, 6-0 senior middle hitter Sophia DuVall, and 6-1 junior middle hitter Emily Carroll.
"I believe one of our strengths this year is going to be our defense," Hawkins said. "We have four amazing defensive specialists who are going to frustrate many opponents. We also have very versatile players this year. Many of our athletes can play multiple positions, which I believe will help us keep our opponents guessing."

Several of the North Stars enter the season after piling up impressive summer accomplishments. Taylor Krage and Wohlert both won national championships for their club teams, the second for Krage.
Carroll began playing beach volleyball, and she and her partner earned a top-five ranking in the nation. She and Daley Krage also both started playing with players from around the country for a program called High Performance.

Kane County Chronicle

Prep girls volleyball insider: Confident North Finds Early Stride
Created: Friday, September 6, 2013 5:32 a.m. CDT

Exceeding expectations this early in the season isn’t a bad thing, but St. Charles North still remains careful not to put too much weight on last weekend’s Plainfield North tournament title.
It’s only September – well, August when the tournament concluded – but North finds itself in a good place just the same.

“We really like starting out with that tournament because it’s so competitive and because it’s so early in the season, you get to see what kinks you’ve got to work out still,” North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins said. “To be totally honest, I wasn’t expecting to do as well as we did. I thought we still had some things to work on, and I know we still have some things to work on, but I was really proud of them because they did do so well.”

Taylor Krage (44 kills, 14 blocks) and sister Daley (23 kills, 10 blocks) sparked a solid effort at the net, benefiting from the precise play of setter Sydney Wohlert, who earned all-tournament team honors.
Sophia DuVall and Emily Carroll added to what Hawkins called “a wall at the net,” never wavering in their intensity.

Hawkins noticed a great sense of purpose during summer workouts, as North returned a talented core that includes the Northern Illinois-bound Taylor Krage. North’s mental toughness – a key component to the deep postseason run the team aspires to – was heightened from the start.

“The girls are really, really competitive and they have a drive about them that keeps them going every single day, that keeps them in the gym to get better,” Hawkins said. “They have this competitive edge. You could tell during summer camp. They walked into the gym and they wanted to start then.”

Phil Brozynski's girls volleyball rankings

09/03/2013, 6:45pm CDT     
By Phil Brozynski
With preseason rankings and records through Monday
1. Mother McAuley (1) 2-0
2. St. Francis (2) 0-1
3. Benet (4) 5-0
4. New Trier (5) 1-0
5. Nazareth (6) 0-0
6. Plainfield North (3) 4-1
7. St. Charles North (NR) 7-0
8. Joliet Catholic (8) 1-1
9. Crystal Lake South (10) 4-1
10. Waubonsie Valley (7) 4-1
Others: Naperville North, Lincoln-Way Central, Stevenson, Lake Zurich, Lyons, Libertyville, Montini, Glenbard West, York, Sandburg.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

North Stars Win Plainfield Invitational

Volleyball: St. Charles North wins invite

Updated: September 1, 2013 3:44AM

The first one is the hardest.
“And the sweetest,” said fifth-year St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins. “We’ve got close. We got a second and a couple of thirds. But I’ve never won a tournament.”
That changed Saturday at Plainfield North.
The North Stars improved to 7-0 on the young season, winning the Plainfield North Invite by defeating Naperville North 25-19, 25-21 behind Northern Illinois-bound outside hitter Taylor Krage’s 11 kills, two aces and a block and Sydney Wohler’s 13 assists.
“Typically, we’re the underdog,” Hawkins said. “People typically look over us. But this group of girls…I don’t know. It just felt different when we walked in the gym this summer. I think about the drive in them and the competitiveness that has been unrivaled so far.
“Taylor and Sydney have been up with me for three years,” Hawkins added. “The senior leadership from them and [libero] Alex Seavey, it’s been amazing. They get these girls in the gym every day and play at 110 percent. They’re the reason these girls are so competitive.”
St. Charles North defeated Huntley and Sandburg to reach the finals, then used a 7-0 run in Game One to build a 16-10 lead against the Huskies. A kill by Krage extended the lead to 18-11 before sophomore Daley Krage put the game away with her first kill of the match.
“This team definitely has a lot of heart,” Taylor Krage said. “We’re really young. We have a lot of young girls. We’re interested to see what the season has in store for us. We’re really hoping that these young girls step up in their roles and help us do some things we’ve never done before.”
A kill by Angela Jurek off a Sydney Cheatham set gave Naperville North (4-1) a short-lived 15-13 lead in Game Two. However, consecutive hitting errors by the Huskies allowed the North Stars to build a 20-16 lead and the tournament champions never looked back.
“Our focus was on controlling the net,” Taylor Krage said. “We knew we had to shut down their offense. We pressed our blocks, and our ball control helped.”
St. Charles North sophomore rightside Claire Anderson provided the finishing touch with her fourth kill of the match.
“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to win this tournament,” Anderson said. “My setter got me a great ball and I was happy to help my team win. “
Sophia DuVall added four kills for the North Stars, Emily Carroll had three blocks and Taryn Dal Degan added eight assists and an ace.
Emily Mankowski had 10 kills, a block and an ace for Naperville North, which rallied from a 19-14 deficit in Game Three to defeat Plainfield North 25-22, 21-25, 25-23 in its semifinal. Cheatham added 12 assists and two blocks, all in Game Two, and Angela Jurek, Lexi Turek and Megan Wernette each had three kills.
“The whole time we were looking for that fire that could just put us over the hump,” Naperville North libero Ellie Ivancich said. “We just couldn’t find it. We changed our lineup in Game Two in hopes of getting a new outcome, but we still got a little bit of work to do.

“It took a lot out of us playing two long game matches earlier in the day,” she added. “We played some really good teams. We know we have a lot to improve, but we’re just excited to see where we will reach later in the season.”