Where are Illinois' top girls' volleyball recruits in the Classes of '22, '23 headed?

(Updated 5/18) Six-foot-3 junior middle hitter Annie Eschenbach (17) of Benet Academy and 1st Alliance VBC has committed to Xavier University. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top players in Illinois in the Classes of 2022 and 2023 who have committed to a college or university to continue their volleyball careers. All coaches and club directors have been invited to provide the names of their players who should be on the list. The attached list features the names of players that have been submitted so far.If...

Where are Illinois' top boys volleyball recruits in the Class of '22 headed?

(Updated 5/13) Naperville North's Britten Beallis (17) has committed to William Penn University. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top boys players in Illinois from the Class of 2022 and beyond who have committed to a college or university to continue their volleyball careers. If you are a coach, club director or parent and know of a player who should be on this list, please contact us at Illprepvb@gmail.com. Class of 2022Julian Abulescu, 6-6, OH, Deerfield/Chicago Bounce VBC, University of California-Irvi...

It's the same old story … IHSA tournament an anti-climactic exercise in frustration

Occasionally, you get lucky and the two best teams in the state meet in the championship match. But neither top-ranked St. Francis nor No. 2 Marist even advanced to the 2021 quarterfinals after having to run a gauntlet in their respective sectionals. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) By Phil BrozynskiIllprepvb.com Editor Hey, boys volleyball fans, let’s play “Pick the Winner.”Can you pick the winner of the De La Salle sectional? Morton, Acero/Garcia, Acero/Soto, Catalyst/Maria, Cristo Rey Jesuit, De La Salle, Dunbar, Hancock, Horizon/Southwest,...

Grayson steps away (but not too far) after nearly three decades as a player, coach

Former Newark star and Horizon League freshman of the year Madi Malone said if her former coach decides to return to the sidelines, she would support her in "any way." (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Tonya Grayson won more than 500 games and 18 conference titles as head coach at Newark By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWhen Tonya Grayson took over the girls’ volleyball program at Newark in 2001, the Class 1A school in Kendall County was known as a basketball school.Two decades later, that is no longer the case.The Norsemen became a volleyba...

Gwen Adler proves that you don't have to specialize to be a special student-athlete

Gwen Adler (far left) and her Barrington teammates finished third this fall in the IHSA Class 4A volleyball tournament at Redbird Arena. (Photos courtesy of the Daily Herald) Gwen Adler (15, lower left corner) watches as teammate Campbell Paris puts a kill away in an IHSA Class 4A semifinal. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comBoredom will never be a problem for Barrington sophomore Gwen Adler. Exhaustion may eventually trip her up, but not boredom.Adler is an outlier even by the energetic standards of teenager...

Isn't it about time the IHSA created a 'true' girls state volleyball tournament?

You don't always have to go to Normal to see what could be the game to determine the state champion. Class 4A powers Mother McAuley and Marist will likely meet in a sectional final November 3 at McAuley, while St. Thomas More and Norris City-Omaha-Enfield are perhaps destined for a supersectional clash November 5 at Casey (Westfield). (Photos by Dave Ruggles) (Editor’s note: Several coaches asked to remain anonymous, so Illprepvb.com decided to protect all the identities of all contributors). It’s time for the IHSA to take another look...

Emerging from mom's shadow, Kenny sisters hope to make a little history of their own

Sisters Hannah, a 5-7 freshman, and Calli, a 5-9 sophomore, are the daughters of former Willowbrook three-sport standout and Austin Peay Hall of Fame member Andrea Miller, who never won a regional title at the Villa Park school. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWhen your mother is known as the best female athlete in school history, it is natural to feel some pressure when trying to follow in her footsteps.But that doesn’t seem to be an issue for Willowbrook’s Calli and Hannah Kenny. They are the daughters of Andrea Miller, a 1992 Wil...

Powered by the Stovall ladies, tiny Aquin is the little school that could

Thought the IHSA lists its enrollment as 88.5 students, (Freeport) Aquin has an actual enrollment of 75 students this fall. Fourteen of them participate in the volleyball program. Bentleah Stovall By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWhen (Freeport) Aquin coach Robyn Stovall went to dinner with her family one recent Friday night, she had one request.“I said no volleyball talk,” Stovall said.That’s easier said than done considering she coaches her daughters, Bentleah and Ainsley, and the Bulldogs soon could be the talk of the town afte...

Marching to her own beat, Minooka's Jada Hampton kills it on bass drum, too

Middle blocker Jada Hampton (10, on right, with Desiree Anderson) was a big part of the 2019 Minooka team that went 32-8 and reached the supersectional before falling to eventual Class 4A state champion Benet. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comJada Hampton marches to the beat of a different drummer.Her own.Hampton is a standout middle hitter for the Minooka volleyball team. But the 6-foot-1 inch senior also does something else. She plays the bass drum in the Indian's marching band. "I've got many big respo...

Middle, outside or back row, DGN's Wolkow excels everywhere she goes

As a freshman, Downers Grove North's Gwen Wolkow (back row, fourth from right) was a starting middle hitter on the team that finished second in the state in Class 4A. Downers Grove North's Gwen Wolkow Gwen Wolkow loves to fish. She doesn’t like fish. But she loves fishing.Wolkow also loves volleyball. Since her freshman year, when she was a starting middle hitter on the Downers Grove North team that finished second in the state in Class 4A, she has developed into one of the top outside hitters and all-around players in Illinois.“She's th...