Top Notch notches top finish at AAU St. Louis Crossfire Super Regional

Top Notch 16 Elite Top Notch 16 Elite out of Springfield, Illinois, won the AAU St. Louis Crossfire Super Regionals 16U-17U division January 16-17 at the BudDome in St. Louis, Missouri.Top Notch defeated SI Wave 16s Gray, 25-13, 25-11; R1C Invasion 16-White, 20-25, 25-18, 15-10; and R1C STL Crossfire 16 R1, 25-15, 25-9, on Saturday, then defeated STL Crossfire 16 T1, 25-23, 25-14; 314 VBC 16-1, 25-20, 25-15; and Elite VBC 16 GOLD, 25-20, 25-12, on Sunday.Team members include Megan Becker (Springfield), Ruth Becker (Springfield), Peyton Berg...

Top Notch 'invites' athletes by offering balance between toughness, 'funship'

Top Notch club director Jen Holliday, a former All-American at Florida and standout at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, knows when it's time to be serious and when it's time to have fun. Top Notch 16-1 setter Megan Becker from Springfield High School. By Randy SharerSpecial to Illprepvb.comSPRINGFIELD – As a measure of coaching excellence, few statistics reveal more than the number of invitations to weddings.Great coaches win, of course, but the best also win when wedding invitations arrive from former players, clear evidence a coach ...

Champions Cup series continues under cloud of uncertainty over what comes next

Neuqua Valley's 5-10 outside hitter Bryanna Jones (76) is one of five newcomers on Sports Performance's 16 Elite team. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) CI Elite 17 Elite's Molly Warner (23) of tiny downstate Williamsfield tries to push the ball between a pair of defenders. Naperville North would have been crazy good this fall. The Huskies still might be this winter or spring. But that’s out of Paige Lauterwasser’s control.“It’s so crazy,” said Lauterwasser, a 5-10 sophomore who played on Naperville North’s 24-13 varsity team in 2019 as a fresh...

Mission not impossible: Fresh faces, coaching staff attract players to new club

Mission Volleyball Club enjoyed a successful competitive debut at the Wisconsin Juniors Pre-Season Kick-Off at the Lake View RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.com Mission Volleyball Club was initially conceived as a rebranding of Club Fusion's branch operation in Marengo before becoming its own entity. If you open it, will they come?That’s the question for anyone thinking of starting a new volleyball club.For Mission Volleyball Club, the answer has been a resounding, “yes.”Over 200 athletes ...

Where are they now? A look at where 150+ Illinois boys are playing college volleyball

Neuqua Valley's Kevin Kauling is now plying his talents at Lewis University in Romeoville, where he was a second team All-MIVA selection as a freshman. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illinois not only ranks second among all states in the number of boys who play high school volleyball (trailing only California in the most recent survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations), it is also near 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 ...

It's back to business (finally) as Champions Cup series gets underway at Great Lakes

Mission 16 Green was among the teams participating in the Champions Cup event last weekend at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center. https://youtu.be/7xLNt1UG5-M They got back to business last weekend for the first of several Champions Cup events at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora.However, it was anything but business as usual.Mandatory masks. A limit of one parent per player allowed inside the facility. No lineup cards. No changing of sides at the conclusion of each game. No handshake lines at the conclusion of each match. No...

Hurlburt finds a way to balance both of his loves – family and volleyball

Former Glenbard East standout Alex Hurlburt helped to establish 630 Volleyball in the western suburbs. He now coaches individuals one-on-one so he can spend more time with his growing family. He sees individual coaching as complementing, not competing with, club volleyball, and works with boys and girls. https://youtu.be/Mk-32b5wX1A By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comAlex Hurlburt has coached at nearly every level of volleyball during the past six years, from high school to club to college.He has even worked with USA Volleyb...

Tuscola's Kate Dean gets all the motivation she needs from sister, Karli

Kate Dean (left) calls older sister Karli "her best friend." (Cover photo by Douglas Cottle) Karli Dean is now a freshman at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. (Photo by Douglas Cottle) By Randy SharerSpecial to Illprepvb.com TUSCOLA – As they seek to maintain a level-playing field, sports rule enforcers keep an eye on performance enhancers. Kate Dean, however, has surely found a performance enhancing loophole that will never be outlawed in volleyball: her big sister, Karli, a 6-foot-1 freshman middle hitter at the University of...

Where are 200+ girls from Illinois high schools and clubs playing D-I volleyball?

Former Nazareth star Ella Sandt took her considerable talents to St. Mary's College of California, a private Catholic college in Moraga, California. The Gaels compete in the West Coast Conference. (Sandt photo by Dave Ruggles. Ally VanEekeren cover photo by Mark Kuhlmann) There are 334 schools that play Division I Women's Volleyball in the United States, including 13 in Illinois. Based on information provided by club directors, Illprepvb.com has identified approximately 235 girls who either played high school or club volleyball in ...