After 40 years as head coach, former Lockport boss Hudson hangs up clipboard

Former Lockport head coach Julia Hudson retired from coaching after wrapping up an eight-year career at Evansville North High School. Julie Hudson led Lockport to the 1993 IHSA Class AA title with a team that was unbeaten against opponents from Illinois. By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comJulia Hudson was interviewed nine years ago as she prepared to enter her last season as girls’ volleyball coach at Lockport. “Please don’t use the word, ‘last,’” Hudson said at that time. “Please find another word, because that sounds so final....

Edwardsville's Sellers uses unscheduled break to create volleyball strategy game

Max Sellers, whose love of volleyball and interest in computers led to the creation of a unique volleyball strategy game, will continue his volleyball career at Augustana College in Rock Island. Edwardsville's Max Sellers played club ball for High Performance St. Louis. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWhen the COVID-19 pandemic derailed his senior season, Max Sellers put his unexpected free time to good use.The libero from Edwardsville, who will continue his volleyball career at Augustana College in Rock Island, combined his love...

Illprepvb.com presents the Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame

St. Francis' Peg Kopec won 12 state titles during her 42-year career, including titles in four classes -- A, AA, 3A and 4A. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune) Two years ago, Illprepvb.com was approached to collaborate on the creation of an Illinois High School Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of that phone call. But we feel now, as we did then, that the creation of a coaches’ Hall of Fame was long overdue. So here it is – the initial class of the Illprepvb.com Illinois High School Volleyball Coach...

Where are Illinois' top girls' volleyball recruits headed? (updated 8/10)

Five-foot-11 junior setter Rian Baker (17), who led Fremd to a fourth-place finish in the 2019 IHSA Class 4A volleyball tournament, has verbally committed to Wake Forest. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top players in Illinois in the Classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 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 th...

Where are Illinois' top boys volleyball recruits headed? (updated 8/4)

Justin Ross (1) of Stevenson and Adversity VBC has committed to Loyola and Peter Brown (19) of Chicago Bounce VBC and New Trier has committed to the University of Southern California. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top boys players in Illinois 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 2020Mike Anderson, 6-6, MB, Plainfie...

1st Alliance VBC presents some of the top teams for the girls' 2021 "spring" season

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (foreground) has enough pieces returning to make another run at Redbird Arena and a Class 1A championship in 2021. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) The IHSA has made its decision and pushed girls' volleyball back to "spring." If we assume (not always a good thing when it comes to the IHSA) that girls will not have to decide between high school and club teams, here is what the 2021 field could look like: Class 4A1. Benet (41-1) – Brad Baker has some holes to fill with the departure of five seniors, but there’s more th...

1st Alliance VBC presents 10 more girls' teams that could have some fun in 2021

Lockport coach Nick Mraz will be a busy man come February 2021. He coaches both girls and boys teams at Lockport. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Now that we know that the girls' high school volleyball season has been pushed back to "spring" beginning February 15, here are 10 more teams that could thrive in 2021. Class 4ADowners Grove North (22-17) – Setter Grace Malone and middle hitter Morgan Wendt are significant losses for coach Mark Wasik, but as long as Gwen Wolkow is around, the Trojans will always be in the hunt. The 5-10 outside hit...

Delaying girls’ high school volleyball until spring would be an “absolute disaster”

These 2019 graduates of Mother McAuley were able to complete their senior season. But what does the future hold for the teammates they leave behind? Stevenson High School officials announced last week that the Lincolnshire campus would essentially remain off limits to the school's nearly 4,400 students when the 2020-21 term begins August 17, likely for the entire first semester. Elgin-based School District U-46 announced that its 38,000-plus students will learn remotely during the first seven weeks of the upcoming school year, while Glen...

Top Flight VBC ready to take flight at AAU nationals in Orlando

Top Flight Volleyball Club, which is based in Elgin, is sending five teams to the 47th Annual AAU Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships this week in Orlando, Florida. Top Flight 18 Theta coach Jake Mattern. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comTop Flight Volleyball Club didn’t take long to live up to its name.In the 12 years since Cindy Gritzman founded the club with her husband, Sean, the Elgin-based organization has won 15 national titles and grown from an initial 90 players to nearly 2,500. More than 100 Top Flight alums ...

Illprepvb.com recognizes contributions of 15 IHSA officials to girls, boys volleyball

Terri Narantic has officiated seven boys' state finals and was named the IHSA Boys Volleyball Official of the Year in 2007. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) “Without officials, it’s just recess.” High school officials protect the integrity of the games student-athletes play by demonstrating qualities like honesty, objectivity, consistency, courage and common sense. They help student-athletes learn life lessons that will benefit them for a lifetime.Illinois has been fortunate to have volleyball officials who are among the best in the business....