From here to there and back again: a recruiting nightmare with a happy ending

Amy Schwem (far right) and Lemont won the Silver division championship at the Wheaton Classic during her senior season. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Amy Schwem led Lemont to a 30-8 record and a regional championship as a senior. By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comSometimes something seemingly very insignificant turns out to be a bit of foreshadowing.Such was the case for Amy Schwem, a four-year varsity setter at Lemont and a second-team Illprepvb.com all-state selection, during Senior Night festivities on Oct. 17, 2019. Her larger-than...

Where are they now? A look at where 600+ Illinois girls are playing college volleyball

Emily Holbrook (8) of Joliet Catholic and Sports Performance is now playing collegiately at Arizona State. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Illinois not only ranks third among all states in the number of girls who play high school volleyball (behind California and Texas), it is also at the top of the list for the number of its student-athletes who go on to play volleyball in college.So we asked club directors to send us their lists of alumni who are currently playing volleyball at a college or university anywhere in the country. There are nearly 50...

Former U.S. national team star’s turbulent journey takes unexpected turn

Ex-professional football player Nick Tow-Arnett accompanied his wife when she played volleyball overseas. Jessica Tow-Arnett is now the head volleyball coach at Southwest Christian High School in Minnesota. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comJessica Tow-Arnett swam in the Caspian Sea, walked the beaches of the Persian Gulf and shared the gospel with people in several Muslim countries during a decade-long career as a professional volleyball player. The former Neuqua Valley star, who was known as Jessica Jones before she married forme...

While we're waiting … here's a sneak peek at some of the top 15s girls' club teams

Springfield Shock 15 Under Armour head coach Bruce Wible said this group has a chance to be “really special.” This is the final installment of Illprepvb.com’s look at some of the top clubs in Illinois in their respective age groups. The 15s are always the most difficult to predict for a variety of reasons. This season, that uncertainty is magnified partly because most 14s experienced a shortened competitive season in 2020, and in some cases, no season at all.However, there are some things we can say for certain.Year in and year out,...

While we're waiting … here's a sneak peek at some of the top 16s girls' club teams

The talents of Fusion 16 Red's Grace Egan (Sterling) and Illini Elite 16 Cardinal's Lily Barry (Normal U-High) were on display during the 2019 IHSA volleyball championships at Redbird Arena. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Many volleyball clubs throughout Illinois are proceeding with plans to resume after the first of the year. The Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora recently released its schedule for the new year, which includes its Challenge Cup series and Presidents’ Day tournament (see the "Wanted" section).The dates to begin the Wind...

While we're waiting … here's a sneak peek at some of the top 17s girls' club teams

Fremd's Rylen Reid (13), who toils for Adversity Volleyball Club, and Marist's Mary Clare Brusek (5), who plays for Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy, saw a lot of each other in the 2019 IHSA Class 4A third-place match and could see each other again during club play in 2021. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Yes, they are playing club volleyball in some parts of the country. Wisconsin and Nevada held events last week. But the immediate future does not look in Illinois as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the state.The Windy City Power L...

First Point Foundation making a point of growing boys’ volleyball in Illinois

Lincoln-Way East coach Kris Fiore is spearheading a move to expand boys' volleyball in Illinois. Wanted: A few good volunteers to help grow boys’ volleyball in Illinois.Lincoln-Way East coach Kris Fiore is serving as the lead Illinois representative for the First Point Volleyball Foundation, which was established in 2016 by the USA Men’s National Team head coach John Speraw and non-profit executive Wade Garard.The mission of the First Point Volleyball Foundation is to connect donors to the men’s volleyball programs that need them the ...