Seattle-bound St. Francis standout Sipes sets sights on successful senior season

Katlyn Sipes and her St. Francis teammates reached a Class 3A supersectional in 2019 before falling to eventual third=-place finisher Nazareth. (Photo courtesy of Daily Herald). Olivia Sipes is making quite a name for herself following in her older sister's footsteps. Katlyn Sipes cannot explain it.Unlike her sister Olivia, age 10, who followed Katlyn into volleyball after watching her older sister compete at the local and national level, youngest sister Beatrice, age 8, rejected volleyball for a sport dominated by men.“She plays ice hoc...

Back-to-back seasons present challenge for several high school coaches

Marist coach Jordan Vidovic, who won girls' and boys' state titles during the 2018-19 academic year, is hoping for some degree of normalcy in 2021. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Lockport boys' and girls' volleyball coach Nick Mraz. By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comThis high school sports year will be like no other, especially in volleyball.Because of the coronavirus, the girl's season was moved to the IHSA’s reconfigured “spring” season and the boys will play during the “summer.” This will create a non-stop bevy of high school volle...

Kurpeikis creating her own legacy with blessing of her Mighty Mac alumna mom

Jeanine Szczesniak (2) was the 1994 Sun-Times Player of the Year while at Mother McAuley before continuing her career at the University of Michigan. Ellie Kurpeikis (10) is expected to be a huge force at the net for Marist in 2021. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comEllie Kurpeikis was born to play volleyball.The daughter of Mother McAuley graduate and 1994 Sun-Times Player of the Year Jeanine Szczesniak, Kurpeikis always knew where her athletic future lie.“I’ve always pretty much played volleyball,” Kurp...

Mother, coach, business owner, confidant – Isaacson's life is busy, but balanced

Naperville Central won a Class 4A regional title in 2019 behind Southeast Missouri recruit Kayla Closset, who said that coach Brie Isaacson always had faith in her even when she didn't. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Naperville Central girls' volleyball coach Brie Isaacson By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comBrie Isaacson’s life is both full and fulfilling.The Naperville Central girls’ volleyball coach has guided the Redhawks to two state championships and has owned her own club, Club 1 in Plainfield, for the past 12 years.She’s done it whi...

High school volleyball coaches preparing for a season of uncertainty

Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier does not expect to watch his teams participate in an IHSA-sponsored state tournament in 2021. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Marist boys' and girls' coach Jordan Vidovic. By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comNo one has won more IHSA boys volleyball championships than Wheaton Warrenville South coach Bill Schreier. He has also led the Tigers to a pair of top four finishes in girls’ volleyball.But Schreier is not optimistic he will be adding any hardware to the trophy case in 2021. “I would have...

Peterson, Clark take very different paths, yet arrive at same destination

Former Glenbard East and Ohio State star Amanda Peterson played in Austria for four years before the COVID-19 pandemic put her professional career in jeopardy. (Peterson photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky, Clark cover photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin) By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comAmanda Peterson is coming home. Tiffany Clark is staying home.The former Illinois high school stars are among 40 players who have signed with Athletes Unlimited, which is launching a new women’s professional volleyball league. When ...

2020 AVCA Phenom List features 100 student-athletes from Illinois

The 2020 AVCA Phenom List features 100 student-athletes from Illinois, including St. Teresa's Valerie Nutakor (cover photo) and Newark's Megan Williams (pictured above). (Photos by Dave Ruggles) One-hundred student-athletes from Illinois have been named to the 2020 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Phenom List. The student-athlete named to the list must be an underclassmen who has been recognized in some form for her outstanding volleyball abilities.Student-athletes on the list are invited to attend the AVCA Phenom College Prep...

Rodriguez leaving Sterling early to join highly-touted recruiting class at Nebraska

Sterling libero Lexi Rodriguez announced that she will graduate early and start her college career at Nebraska in January, bypassing her senior season for the two-time defending IHSA Class 3A champions. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Sterling's Lexi Rodriguez The next time Sterling’s Lexi Rodriguez digs a ball in anger will not happen in the Land of Lincoln.It will happen in Lincoln, Nebraska.Rodriguez, ranked No. 10 in the 2021 recruiting class according to Prepvolleyball.com, announced last week that she will graduate from high school early ...

Facing a COVID-clouded future, Illinois girls’ 2020-21 volleyball season begins

Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy outside hitter Logan Grevengoed and her younger sister, Delaney, will have to wait a few months before taking the court for Chicago Christian. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) If this, then what?If that, then this.“We've got a whiteboard with all these different scenarios,” said Club 1 owner/girls director and Naperville Central head coach Brie Isaacson. “What we will do if this happens. What we will do if that happens.“This is a year we’re just going to have to roll with it,” she said.What promises to be anything ...

IHSA says 'No' to students competing for high schools, clubs at same time

After putting off a decision for a month, the IHSA Board of Directors decided Monday not to allow student-athletes to compete for their high schools and club teams during the same sport season. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) (updates previous)The IHSA Board of Directors said "No." At its meeting on Monday, the IHSA board decided not to allow student-athletes to compete for their high school volleyball teams while simultaneously participating in club volleyball during the spring and summer sports seasons.IHSA By-law 3.100, which governs independ...