Fusion 17 Red moves to the top of the rankings after strong showing over the weekend

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Fusion 17 Red’s Gigi Crescenzo and Katie Lanz of St. Charles North

The Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division provided a few surprises over the weekend, including Fusion 17 Red’s impressive showing against some of the top 18s teams around.  IL STLHP 18 Elite dropped out of the rankings after finishing 11th at the Northern Lights Qualifier in Omaha., Nebraska. Rolling Thunder 18 Blue is in the spotlight this week.

(Week 3 ranking in parenthesis)

18s

1. SPVB (Sports Performance) 18 Elite (1)
Note: The serving of libero Grace Kloss from Waubonsie Valley and the hitting of 6-4 sophomore Taylor Landfair of Plainfield Central, 6-2 Hanna Lesiak of Lincoln-Way East and 6-3 middle hitter Emmi Barnhorst of Wheaton North led SPVB 18 Elite past Uno Girls 18 Elite 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 in a clash between the top two teams in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division Sunday.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Sky High Adidas 18 Black at 7:45 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 3.

2. Uno Girls 18 Elite (3)
Note: Uno Girls 18 Elite took early leads in Games 1 and 2 of its showdown with SPVB 18 Elite in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division, including a 9-2 lead in the second set. But Uno was unable to hold off the hosts. A bright spot was junior outside hitter Lauren Hatch of Marian Catholic, who was all over the court for Uno.   
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Illini Elite 18 Cardinal at 9:15 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 3.

3. Michio Chicago 18 National (2)
Note: Michio Chicago 18 National struggled last weekend in Power League play without 2016 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year Charley Niego of Mother McAuley, who was away at a school retreat, and dropped down to the Silver bracket. But Michio still owns a win over Uno at the Winter Volleyball Championship and outlasted 1st Alliance 18 Silver 19-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-16, 15-7 without its ace.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold at 7:45 a.m. on Court 3 on Saturday, February 3.

4. Sky High Adidas 18 Black (5)
Note: Like Michio Chicago 18 National, Sky High Adidas 18 Black struggled without one of its top players – setter/opposite hitter Megan Kelly from Crystal Lake Central – Saturday in Power League play. But with Kelly back in the lineup Sunday, Sky High took down Fusion 17 Red 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 17-15 and Michio Chicago 18 National 25-16, 25-19, 25-18 to remain in the Gold bracket.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. SPVB 18 Elite at 7:45 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 3.

5. (tie) SPVB (Sports Performance) 18 Kahl (NR)
Note: At 6-2 with its only losses to SPVB 18 Elite and Fusion 17 Red in five grueling sets 23-25, 25-11, 26-24, 16-25, 15-9 in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division, Sports Performance’s No. 2 18s team continues to impress behind 5-11 outside hitter Sarah Kushner of Naperville North and 5-11 outside Gisela Bode from Waubonsie Valley.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. FC Elite 17 Navy at 7:45 a.m. on Court 2 on Saturday, February 3.

5. (tie) Illini Elite 18 Cardinal
Note: Illini Elite 18 Cardinal avenged earlier losses to Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold 16-25, 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 15-12 and FaR Out 18 Black (Grand Rapids, Michigan) 25-22, 23-25, 26-24, 25-19 to win the Silver bracket last weekend and punch its ticket to the Gold when the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open resumes Saturday.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Uno Girls 18 Elite at 9:15 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 3.

Dropped out: IL STLHP (Illinois St. Louis High Performance) 18 Elite (4)

Other teams to watch: ESVBC (Eastside) Ninjas 18U, 1st Alliance 18 Silver, Wildcat Jrs. 18 Black, Ultimate G18 Gold, Adversity G18 Purple, SPVB 18 Navy.

17s


1. Fusion 17 Red (2)
Note: Fusion 17 Red bounced back from a 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 17-15 loss to Sky High Adidas 18 Black on Sunday with a dramatic 23-25, 25-11, 26-24, 16-25, 15-9 win over SPVB 18 Kahl and is ranked No. 3 in the 18 Super Open division Gold bracket after two rounds of play. Gigi Crescenzo and Katie Lanz of St. Charles North and Josilyn Borum of Sterling drive Fusion 17 Red.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. FaR Out 18 Black at 9:15 a.m. on Court 2 on Saturday, February 3.

2. Michio Chicago 17 National (1)
Note: Michio Chicago 17 National dropped to the Silver bracket after going 1-2 on Sunday in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division, but at 5-3 after two rounds of play and Temitayo Thomas-Ailara in the fold Michio still rates a nod over the rest of the 17s.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Wildcat Jrs. 18 Black at 7:45 a.m. on Court 4 on Saturday, February 3.

3. Illini Elite 17 Cardinal (4)
Note: Dropping down to the Bronze bracket from Silver but still moving up in the rankings is the team from Bloomington, which is 4-4 in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open league with three losses to 18s teams including a pair to FaR Out 18 Black (Grand Rapids, Michigan), which won the Silver division Sunday to move up to Gold.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. 1st Alliance 16 Silver at 9:15 a.m. on Court 5 on Saturday, February 3.

4. Uno Girls 17 Elite (NR)
Note: The Uno girls, now 4-4 in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division with two of those losses to SPVB 18 Elite and Wildcat Jrs. 18 Black, maintained their spot in the Copper bracket by winning twice on Sunday against Cyclones 18 Black Adidas 25-21, 25-21, 25-22 and Wisconsin Premier 18 Teal 25-20, 25-13, 25-18.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. 1st Alliance 17 Silver at 7:45 a.m. on Court 7 on Saturday. February 3.

5. IL STLHP 17 Elite (NR)
Note: IL STLHP 17 Elite sits at 8-4 in the 18 Gateway League, which features the best volleyball clubs in the St. Louis area. One of those losses was to unbeaten STLHP 18 Royal and the other three losses were to teams from Rockwood Thunder volleyball club.
Next: 18 Gateway League vs. HPSTL 118 Orange at 4:00 p.m. on Court 3 on Saturday, February 10 at Lafayette (Missouri) High School.

Dropped out: 1at Alliance 17 Silver (3), 1st Alliance 17 Black (5).

Other teams to watch: Illini Elite 17 Black, Sky High Adidas 17 Black, Rolling Thunder 17 Blue, Ascend 17 Purple, Northside Out Chicago 17U.

16s

1. Sports Performance 16 Elite (1)
Next: The Central Zone Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 3-4.

2. Michio Chicago 16 National (2)
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. Cyclones 16 Black Adidas at 8:00 a.m. on Court 3 on Saturday, February 10.

3. Sky High Adidas 16 Black (4)
Note: Setter Taylor Jakubowski from Huntley has Sky High Adida
s 16 Black soaring in the Bronze bracket of the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division. Sky High went 3-1 last weekend and won its crossover match with 1st Alliance 17 Silver 25-17,  22-25,  25-23,  25-23.

Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Michio Chicago 18 Premier at 7:45 a.m. on Court 5 on Saturday, February 3.

4. 1st Alliance 16 Silver (3)
Note: Michael Owens’ crew is moving on up to the Bronze bracket after completing the first two weeks of Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open play at 6-2 and beating Milwaukee Sting 17 Black 22-25, 25-19, 25-10, 24-26, 15-11 and SPVB 18 White 17-25, 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-11 on Sunday.
Next: Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open vs. Illini Elite 17 Cardinal at 9:15 a.m. on Court 5 on Saturday, February 3.

5. Uno Girls 16 Elite (5)
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. WVA (Wisconsin Volleyball Academy) 16 Black at 9:00 a.m. on Court 8 on Saturday, February 10.

Other teams to watch: 1st Alliance 16 Red, SPVB 16 Red, Fusion 16 Red, New WAVE 16 Tsunami, Rolling Thunder 16 Blue.

15s


1. Lions 15-1 (1)
Next: The Central Zone Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 3-4.

2. Sports Performance 15 Elite (2)
Next: The Central Zone Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 3-4.

3. Michio Chicago 15 National (3)
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. SPVB 15 C-Fed at 8:00 a.m. on Court 4 on Saturday, February 10.

4. Fusion 15 Red (4)
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. FC Elite 16 Navy at 8:00 a.m. on Court 8 on Saturday, February 10.

5. Uno Girls 15 Elite (5)
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. WVA (Wisconsin Volleyball Academy) 15 Black at 9:00 a.m. on Court 7 on Saturday, February 10.

Other teams to watch: MIchio Chicago 15 National, SPVB 15 C-Fed, Chicago Elite 15 Elite, Lions 15 Red, SPVB 15 Red, Ultimate G15 Gold, Wildcat Jrs. 15 Black.

In the spotlight:

Rolling Thunder 18 Blue

Rolling Thunder Volleyball Club out of Lake Zurich was founded nearly two decades ago, growing from a small club of three teams to one of the top volleyball clubs in the Great Lakes Region and the country. Rolling Thunder 18 Blue competes in the Great Lakes Power League 18s division. Thunder had won six in a row in league play heading into last week’s second-round Bracket A match with SWVBC G18, then dropped three tough three-set matches in the best-of-three league. But head coach Jimmy Neill likes what how his team plays. “We always try to run the same tempo, the same speed, no matter whether we’re up or down,” he said. “We always try to do little things right one point at a time.” Team members include 5-foot-11 outside hitter Catherine Hickey, who had more than 500 kills during the regular season to lead St. Viator to the IHSA Class 3A semifinals last fall. Hickey will play collegiately at Limestone College, a Division II school in Gaffney, South Carolina. Other teams members are: Emily Bringer, a 5-6 outside hitter from Grant; Riley Cross, a 5-6 libero from Buffalo Grove; Kylie Dykgraaf, a 5-9 setter from Lake Zurich; Shaelyn Foy, a 5-10 outside hitter from Cary-Grove; Jessica Janowski, a 5-6 setter from Wheeling; Jessica Riedl, a 6-foot middle hitter from Maine West; Beverly Ryan-Darrah, a 6-foot middle blocker from Palatine; 5-3 defensive specialist Jane Sakowicz from Wauconda; and 5-10 setter Margaret Streckert from Buffalo Grove.

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