Where are they now? A look at where 600+ Illinois girls are playing college volleyball

Emily Holbrook (8) of Joliet Catholic and Sports Performance is now playing collegiately at Arizona State. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) Illinois not only ranks third among all states in the number of girls who play high school volleyball (behind California and Texas), it is also at 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 their lists of alumni who are currently playing volleyball at a college or university anywhere in the country. There are nearly 50...

Former U.S. national team star’s turbulent journey takes unexpected turn

Ex-professional football player Nick Tow-Arnett accompanied his wife when she played volleyball overseas. Jessica Tow-Arnett is now the head volleyball coach at Southwest Christian High School in Minnesota. By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comJessica Tow-Arnett swam in the Caspian Sea, walked the beaches of the Persian Gulf and shared the gospel with people in several Muslim countries during a decade-long career as a professional volleyball player. The former Neuqua Valley star, who was known as Jessica Jones before she married forme...

First Point Foundation making a point of growing boys’ volleyball in Illinois

Lincoln-Way East coach Kris Fiore is spearheading a move to expand boys' volleyball in Illinois. Wanted: A few good volunteers to help grow boys’ volleyball in Illinois.Lincoln-Way East coach Kris Fiore is serving as the lead Illinois representative for the First Point Volleyball Foundation, which was established in 2016 by the USA Men’s National Team head coach John Speraw and non-profit executive Wade Garard.The mission of the First Point Volleyball Foundation is to connect donors to the men’s volleyball programs that need them the ...

UNO, JCA teammates express optimism about club and high school seasons

Volleyball clubs around the state were among the victims of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's latest executive order related to the pandemic, but many girls remain optimistic that they will be able to play sometime in the new year, if not sooner. (Photos by Dave Ruggles) By Randy WhalenSpecial to Illprepvb.comWith the COVID-19 pandemic setting record numbers in recent days, all of them in the wrong direction, there remains uncertainty over the upcoming club and high school seasons.That uncertainty was further amplified when Illinois Gov. J.B....

Simpson-Kirr achieves a young girl's dream: coaching college volleyball

Former Downers Grove South star and IHSA champion Jackie Simpson-Kirr is in her fourth year as associate head coach at Clemson. Jackie Simpson-Kirr By Matt Le CrenSpecial to Illprepvb.comJackie Simpson-Kirr was only 13 years old when she figured out what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to coach college volleyball.It was a lofty aspiration for someone who had just been cut from her seventh-grade volleyball team.But the Downers Grove native made it a reality. Simpson-Kirr blossomed into a 6-foot-1 setter at Downers Grove Sout...

Benet's Muisenga among those to be honored on ESPN as First-Team AVCA All-Americans

Benet setter Rachel Muisenga, who plays club for Adversity, will be among the 24 AVCA First-Team All-Americans who will be honored Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) A year ago on New Year’s Eve, 24 of the best high school seniors nationwide competed on the same court against one another in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Under Armour All-America match.In November, the AVCA announced that it would cancel the All-America match in Orlando, Florida, with plans to honor the athletes at a later date...

A look at some of Illinois' top uncommitted girls in the classes of 2021-23

Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top girls volleyball players in Illinois in the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023 who have yet to commit to a college or university to continue their volleyball careers. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of the top players in Illinois in the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023 who have yet to commit to a college or university to continue their volleyball careers. The following list includes players who compete at a very high level either for their high school or club teams. All par...

A look at some of Illinois' uncommitted boys in the classes of 2021 and 2022

Illprepvb.com is creating a list of Illinois boys in the classes of 2021 and 2022 who have yet to commit to a college or university and have indicated a desire to continue their volleyball careers. (Photo by Dave Ruggles) Illprepvb.com is creating a list of Illinois boys in the classes of 2021 and 2022 who have yet to commit to a college or university and have indicated a desire to continue their volleyball careers. The following list includes players who compete at a high level either for their high school or club teams. All high school...

Palos Courts announces postponement of the Point Series until January

The Palos Point Series has been put on hold until at least January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Palos Court Point Series, the traditional start of the boys’ club season in Illinois for age groups 14 through 18, has been postponed until at least January, Palos Courts Sports Complex director Adam Beck said in an email to participating clubs Monday.“Since we are, unfortunately, in no different phase here in Illinois, we are going to have to cancel the November portion of the Palos Point Series and hope we can get restarted in January 202...

630 Volleyball ready to rock … whenever the boys' club season rolls around

630 Volleyball's 16-1 team features: (front row, from left) Sam Levinson, Payton Saldana, Nick Kujalowicz, Wilson Kramnic, Nitin Addanki and Manny Matel-Sanchez, and (back row, from left) Parker Moorhead, Ethan Du, coach Nick Maruyama, Kobi Lange and Peter Zurawski. 630 Volleyball had a heckuva rookie season.The Darien-based boys’ club earned eight bids to the (later cancelled) USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championship in Reno, Nevada, including two Open division bids for its 15-1 and 15-2 teams.Its 16-1 and 16-2 teams both earned bi...