Benet stops two-time defending champ Marist; WW South reaches 4A final

Benet's Sophie Gregus hits over the block of Marist's Ellie Kurpeikis and freshman Kamryn Chaney (Photo by Dave Ruggles). NORMAL – The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Benet coach Brad Baker had his own spin on preparation Friday in the catacombs of Redbird Arena. “It’s one thing to know what to do, it’s another thing to do it,” he said. Benet did it. Behind a smothering Game 1 defense and an 11-4 run in Game 2 that wiped out a 17-11 deficit, Benet defeated two-time defending Cl...

Sterling makes itself at home against Nazareth; Joliet Catholic downs U-High

Sterling's Brooklyn Borum smashes one of her 12 kills past the block of Nazareth's Izzy Decker (3) and Danielle Wojtycki (8). (Photos by Dave Ruggles) By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.com NORMAL – The Borum twins felt right at home Friday at Redbird Arena.That showed as they led Sterling back to the IHSA Class 3A championship match.The Borums combined to bang home 19 kills as the defending state champion Golden Warriors defeated Nazareth, 25-18, 25-19, in the first 3A semifinal at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University...

Mater Dei win is a rocky horror; St. Teresa, Newark, Illini Bluffs gain title games

Rockford Lutheran's Lauren Spangler hits against the block of St. Teresa's Addison Newbon (35) and Valerie Nutakor (25). (Photo by Dave Ruggles) NORMAL – Breese Mater Dei coach Chad Rakers didn’t have time to think about what went right. “I’m still thinking about all the things we have to fix (before tomorrow),” he said. The first thing, he said, is nerves. “This can be a big, scary place at times,” he said. It was almost a chamber of horrors for his Knights. Breese Mater Dei watched St. Joseph-Ogden erase an 18-11 deficit in Game 2, the...

IHSA finals preview: who will raise a championship trophy this weekend?

Camryn Hannah (6) and her Marist teammates will go for their third consecutive Class 4A championship this weekend at Redbird Arena. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Wheaton Warrenville South’s Bill Schreier has won more state titles than any other Illinois volleyball coach … on the boys’ side.But the veteran coach has not taken a girls’ team to the IHSA semifinals since 2002, when the Tigers finished fourth. That changed last Friday when Wheaton Warrenville South (32-8) overcame deficits of 8-2 in Game 1 and 18-10 and 21-13 in Game 2 to defeat Huntl...

Decker, Hurta punch Nazareth’s first-ever ticket to IHSA semifinals

Izzy Decker (3) had 14 kills to help lead Nazareth over St. Francis in a Class 3A supersectional Friday in Wheaton. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.com Nazareth is going to state. It’s going to take a little while for that to sink in. The Roadrunners advanced to the IHSA semifinals for the first time in school history by knocking off St. Francis, 25-19, 25-21, Friday to win the Class 3A supersectional in Wheaton. Nazareth (27-7) will play Sterling at 4:00 p.m. next Friday at Redbird Arena in Normal. “It feels unr...

Wheaton Warrenville South follows the script, mounts big rallies to defeat Huntley

Wheaton Warrenville South setter Sarah Burau clutches the supersectional plaque after the Tigers rallied to defeat Huntley Friday at Streamwood. Wheaton Warrenville South has practically elevated that whole rising from the grave thing to an art form.  “It’s crazy,” said Wheaton Warrenville South setter Sarah Burau. “One of the things were really good at is getting down in the beginning, which we should not be good at. So we’ve learned to come back, which again, we shouldn't have to be good at.” But if practice, even at something bad, ...

From eighth grade to center stage, Egan helps Sterling escape Belvidere North

Brooklyn Borum (10) and her Sterling teammates needed a lot of help Friday from Grace Egan, who was in eighth grade in 2018, to earn a shot at defending their IHSA Class 3A title. By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWith its season on the line  defending IHSA Class 3A champion Sterling turned to a player who wasn’t on the team last year. Because she wasn’t even in high school.Grace Egan put down the match-winning kill on a tip as Sterling survived upstart Belvidere North, 23-25, 25-15, 28-26, in the championship match of a Cla...

Normal U-High dazzles Centralia, sets sights on erasing memory of 2018

After losing in the sectional finals to Joliet Catholic in 2018, Normal U-High will get another crack at the Angels in an IHSA Class 3A semifinal Friday at Redbird Arena. By Randy SharerSpecial to Illprepvb.com The Normal University High School volleyball team was so efficient on Friday in the Class 3A supersectional at Taylorville, it really didn't need the two kills dumped in by their setters during a 25-12, 25-15 win over Centralia. “They know what kind of weapons we have on offense and how aggressively we attack the ball,” said U-High c...

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield refuses to quit, outlasts Altamont

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield will make its second visit to Redbird Arena in four years after outlasting Altamont in a Class 1A supersectional at (Bridgeport) Red Hill. By Zachary RaineySpecial to Illprepvb.com There was no quit in Norris City-Omaha-Enfield.The Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Fighting Cardinals lived up to their name Friday, defeating the Altamont Lady Indians, 25-21, 25-27, 25-21, at the IHSA Class 1A supersectional at Bridgeport (Red Hill).“They didn’t quit,” said Norris City-Omaha-Enfield coach Jaclyn Melton. “They stepped up. We...

Going out on a limb (without a net) and picking the 16 supersectional winners

Orion has dropped only four sets all season, but the Chargers will have their hands full when they face Decatur St. Teresa Friday at Farmington. Some surprising names are among the teams that will be watching from the stands Friday when supersectional play begins, including Quincy Notre Dame, Montini, Belleville Althoff and Crystal Lake Central.A few more could join them after Friday.Our former mentor at the Daily Herald – the venerable Bob Frisk – picked each quarterfinal, semifinal and championship game of the boys’ state basketball tourn...