Here they are … the 1st Alliance Volleyball Club/Illprepvb.com top 5 teams in 2018

State title record-holder Mother McAuley opens the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason by Illprepvb.com. Here it is ... the final installment of the 1st Alliance Volleyball Club/Illprepvb.com 2018 Illinois girls high school volleyball rankings, which features teams ranked Nos. 1-5. These are the teams that Illprepvb.com determines to be the best of the best this fall. Last spring, we named Lincoln-Way East to be the No. 1 boys team in the preseason, and the Griffins came through.  How accurate will these predictions prove?  1. Marist (41-1...

Sterling could be golden; Iroquois West, Salem look for improvement

LaSalle-Peru, pictured here at the Great Lakes Summer League where it went 6-6, handed Sterling one of its three losses in 2017. School: Iroquois WestConference: Sangamon ValleyHead coach: Dakota BohlmannLast season’s highlights: 1-26 overall, 0-6 in conference, lost 25-15, 25-10 to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal.Top returnees: senior outside hitter Ashley Thomas, senior outside hitter Maddy Trammell, senior setter Jenny Medina, senior outside hitter Vanessa Andrade, senior middle hitter Ashley Aguilera, ...

Neuqua Valley hopes to build on successful summer league

Neuqua Valley won the Great Lakes Summer League title, shaking off two previous losses to Waubonsie Valley to defeat  the Warriors in the final.School: Neuqua ValleyConference: DuPage ValleyHead coach: Kelly Simon (18th season)Last season’s highlights: 22-15 overall, 5-3 in conference (tied for third), finished third at Benet invite, finished fourth at Waubonsie Valley Warrior Blast, finished eighth at St. Charles East Scholastic Cup, lost 25-20, 27-25 to Benet in a Class 4A regional final.Top returnees: 5-9 senior outside hitter Bella Agui...

Marist looks to defend title; Lemont young, but restless

Marist will begin its Class 4A title defense next weekend at the Illprepvb.com Crosstown Showdown hosted by Plainfield North and Plainfield Central. School: Arthur-Lovington-Atwood HammondConference: Little Okaw ValleyHead coach: Emily CrossmanLast season’s highlights: 26-4 overall, 7-0 in conference, lost 25-19, 22-25, 25-17 to Bismarck Henning Rossville Alvin in a Class 2A regional semifinal.Top returnees: Outside hitter Taylor Powell, setter Marissa Herschberger.School: LemontConference: South Suburban BlueHead coach: Chris Zogata (18th...

Analyzing the field at the Illprepvb.com Crosstown Showdown at Plainfield North

Host Plainfield North hopes to make some noise at the Illprepvb.com Crosstown Showdown. Bigger, better and tougher top to bottom. The Illprepvb.com Crosstown Classic at Plainfield North has expanded to 32 teams this year from 24 teams in 2017 and has added more of the top teams in the state, providing back-to-back nights of some of best high school volleyball anywhere. “The Crosstown Showdown will be bigger and better,” Plainfield North coach Matt Slechta said. “With the addition of eight more teams, we now have a 32-team field tha...

Watch out for Waubonsie Valley; WW South, Orangeville improved

Waubonsie Valley, led by AAU All-American setter Melissa Walden, figures to be one of the top teams in the state this fall. School: Downers Grove NorthConference: West Suburban SilverHead coach: Mark Wasik      Last season’s highlights: 27-13 overall, 6-0 in conference (conference champions), won Warrior Blast invite, won regional and sectional titles, lost 17-25, 25-16, 25-15 in Class 4A supersectional.Top returnees: 6-0 senior four-year outside hitter and St. Louis recruit Margaret Mahlke, 5-11 senior outsi...

McAuley expected to contend again; Oregon gets reinforcement

Okaw Valley won the school's first regional championship in 2017 and is looking for even bigger things in 2018. School: (Kankakee) Bishop McNamaraConference: Metro SuburbanHead coach: George HagemasterLast season’s highlights: 4-29 overall, lost 25-14, 25-18 to Aurora Christian in a Class 2A regional semifinal.Top returnees: 5-8 junior setter Kara Kleinert, 5-5 senior defensive specialist Kenna Kleinert,5-8 junior outside hitter Molly Kurtz, 5-6 junior outside hitter Ellie Nugent.Top newcomers: 5-7 sophomore rightside hitter Emma Valant.C...

Newton features mix of young and old; West Aurora youngsters rising

Newton would like to get back to Redbird Arena in 2018, but the Lady Eagles will have to get there without last year's leading attacker Abby Frohning. School: Champaign CentennialConference: Big TwelveHead coach: Taylor Swords       Last season’s highlights: 10-25 overall, 4-5 in conference, lost 25-17, 25-14 to Pekin in a Class 4A regional semifinal. Top returnees: Senior defensive specialist Hannah Luchinski, sophomore setter Leah Luchinski, senior setter Jenna Woods.Coach’s quote: “We are very excited to have a...

Glenbard West best in the West? Valmeyer set to make big leap

Glenbrook South graduated eight seniors from last year's regional semifinalist that took New Trier to three sets.School: Glenbard West Conference: West Suburban SilverHead coach:  Pete Mastandrea      Last season’s highlights: 29-10 overall, 5-1 in conference (second place), finished second at the Effingham Crossroads Classic, won sixth consecutive regional title, reached the Sweet 16 for the third straight year, lost 18-25, 25-18, 25-23 to Downers Grove North in a Class 4A sectional championship.Top returnees: 5-11 senior all-conference mi...