Fusion takes a bruisin’ but still leads 17s, Illini Elite 18 Cardinal moving up

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Uno Girls 18 Elite sported new bright yellow T-shirts during Great Lakes Power League play last weekend.


Top-ranked Fusion 17 Red went 0-4 last weekend in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division but still maintained its spot in the rankings. SPVB 18 Navy is in the spotlight this week.

(Week 4 ranking in parenthesis)

18s

1. SPVB 18 Elite (1)
 Note: Sports Performance rallied from a 17-9 deficit to win Game 2 of its Gold crossover rematch with Uno Girls 18 Elite in Power League play on Sunday, but could not finish any of three match points in Game 3 and found itself in a fourth set. SPVB 18 Elite also went five sets with Sky High Adidas 18 Black on Saturday. Chalk it up to a young team still learning how to play together?
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center February 17-19. 

2. Uno Girls 18 Elite (2)
Note: Closer. Closer. Closer. If Uno Girls 18 Elite and SPVB 18 Elite meet again at the Presidents Day Challenge, will Uno demonstrate the mental toughness coach Vivian Pritz wants to see from her team?     
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center February 17-19. 

3. Michio Chicago 18 National (3)
Note: Charley Niego was back last weekend, and so was Michio Chicago 18 National. Niego and friends went 4-0 and defeated 1st Alliance 18 Silver 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-27, 15-4 on Sunday to win the Silver at the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open and regain their place among the Gold division contenders.
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center February 17-19. 

4. Illini Elite 18 Cardinal (5)
Note: Illini Elite 18 Cardinal defeated SPVB 18 Kahl 29-27, 25-19, 19-25, 25-22 on Sunday to maintain its position in the Gold division of the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open. Illini Elite 18 Cardinal is 6-2 since the return of outside hitter Makenna Barnhart of Normal Community. Its only losses? A five-setter against FaR Out 18 Black and a straight-set loss to Uno Girls 18 Elite.
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center February 17-19. 

5. (tie) Sky High Adidas 18 Black (4)
Note: Sky High Adidas 18 Black went 1-3 last weekend at the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open, but one of those losses was an encouraging  14-25, 25-19, 11-25, 25-20, 15-11 setback against unbeaten SPVB 18 Elite. With Fusion 17 Red and SPVB 18 Kahl in the opposite Silver pool when league play resumes March 17, Sky High has a good chance to return to the Gold.
Next: Triple Crown Volleyball NIT in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 17-19.

5. (tie) SPVB 18 Kahl (5)
Note: Tough weekend for Sports Performance’s No. 2 team. SPVB 18 Kahl went 1-3 last weekend and tumbled out of the Gold and into the Silver division, where it will share a pool with Fusion 17 Red, a team with which it has split two matches so far in league play, when league play resumes March 17.
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center February 17-19. 

Other teams to watch: IL STLHP (Illinois St. Louis High Performance) 18 Elite, 1st Alliance 18 Silver, ESVBC (Eastside) Ninjas 18U, Fusion 18 Black, Ultimate G18 Gold, Adversity G18 Purple, SPVB 18 Navy, VC United 181 Elite.

17s


1. Fusion 17 Red (1)
Note: An 0-4 weekend during which the Batavia crew won just one set bounced Fusion 17 Red from the Gold to the Silver in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division. Can Joe Davidson’s team rebound at the Presidents Day Challenge?
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Schaumburg Convention Center February 17-19.  

2. Illini Elite 17 Cardinal (3)
Note: Illini Elite 17 Cardinal went 3-1 last weekend in the Bronze pool in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division, including a 25-17, 25-22, 25-20 win over 1st Alliance 17 Black in the second-place crossover, to earn a bump up to the Silver when league play resumes March 17.  
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Schaumburg Convention Center February 17-19.  

3. Michio Chicago 17 National (2)
Note: Losses to Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold, Michio Chicago 18 National and Ultimate G18 Gold last weekend in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division exiled Michio Chicago 17 National to the Bronze pool when league play resumes March 17.
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Schaumburg Convention Center February 17-19.  

4. Uno Girls 17 Elite (4)
Note: It wasn’t easy, but the Uno girls earned a spot in the Bronze in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division by going 4-0 last weekend including wins over Energy 18U Elite (25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 16-14) and 1st Alliance 17 Silver (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 15-9).
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Schaumburg Convention Center February 17-19. 

5. IL STLHP 17 Elite (5)
Notes: A tough weekend for the team from the east bank of the Mississippi River as IL STLHP 17 Elite went 4-3 in the 17 Open division of the Central Zone Invitational and finished 21st in a field of 27 teams.  
Next: 18 Gateway League vs. HPSTL 18 Orange at 4:00 p.m. on Court 3 on Saturday, February 10 at Lafayette (Missouri) High School.

Other teams to watch: 1st Alliance 17 Silver, 1st Alliance 17 Black, Illini Elite 17 Black, Sky High Adidas 17 Black, Rolling Thunder 17 Blue, Ascend 17 Purple, Northside Out Chicago 17U.

16s

1. SPVB 16 Elite (1)
Note: SPVB 16 Elite’s “Big Four” of Aurora Christian’s Cate Long, Benet’s Hattie Monson, Waubonsie Valley’s Melissa Walden and Glenbard North’s Maddie Meyers could not get the local crew past powerhouses from Legacy and Mintonette at the Central Zone Invitational. The eventual return of L2 Gabriella Croll from Waubonsie Valley should provide a huge lift and another hitting option.  
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. SPVB 15 Elite at 8:00 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 10.

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 (3)
Note: Sky High Adidas 16 Black is now 9-3 in the Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open division after going 4-0 last weekend and will move up to the Silver from the Bronze when league play resumes March 17. The Silver won’t be easy, however. Pool B features Sky High Adidas 18 Black, Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold and Illinois Elite 17 Cardinal.
Next: Triple Crown Volleyball NIT in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 17-19.

4. 1st Alliance 16 Silver (4)
Note: 1st Alliance 16 Silver went 2-1 in Bronze Pool B and won a tiebreaker with Illini Elite 17 Cardinal, which it had beaten early Saturday morning, and will move up to Silver when Great Lakes Power League 18 Super Open resumes play March 17 despite losing to Sky High-Adidas 16  Black 18-25, 25-14, 25-22, 18-25, 15-8  in the Bronze crossover.
Next: Presidents Day Challenge at the Rosemont Sports Dome February 17-19. 

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)
Note: Lions 15-1 won the 15 Open division of the Central Zone Invitational and looked good doing it, dropping just two set
s all weekend and holding off SPVB 15 Elite 26-24, 23-25, 15-10 in the championship match.

Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. WI Juniors 16-1 at 9:00 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 10.

2. Sports Performance 15 Elite (2)
Note: Luke Stapleton hopes to get Joliet Catholic’s 6-1 outside hitter Emily Wilson back on the court full time this weekend or next after she had been limited to little activity for six weeks due to a foot injury.  
Next: Great Lakes Power League 16 Super Open vs. SPVB 16 Elite at 8:00 a.m. on Court 1 on Saturday, February 10.

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: SPVB 15 C-Fed, Sky High Adidas 15 Black, Ultimate G15 Gold, Chicago Elite 15 Elite, Lions 15 Red, SPVB 15 Red, Wildcat Jrs. 15 Black.

In the spotlight:  

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SPVB 18 Navy

We might have been a week late on this one. Or we may be just a little early and the best is yet to come. SPVB 18 Navy was 15-0 after two-and-a-half weeks of Great Lakes Power League play, but ran into some difficulties last weekend losing to Wisconsin Ice 18 National and 1st Alliance 18 White – the latter a team it had beaten earlier in the league – while missing two starters. Nevertheless, at 16-2, SPVB 18 Navy is one of the top teams in the league. “We pass really well, we have a good offense and we serve tough,” SPVB 18 Navy coach Stephen Justice said. “We seem to be really clicking early in the season, which is unusual. It usually takes a little bit longer to get a rhythm going. Blocking is probably our weakness, but we keep working on everything.” Team members are: Abby Nickell, a 5-foot-11 outside/opposite hitter from Oak Park-River Forest; 5-4 libero Anna Skryd from St. Charles East; 5-10 setter Brooke Dills from Munster, Indiana; 5-7 libero/defensive specialist Elizabeth Ford from Geneva; 5-8 outside hitter Emily Holbrook from Joliet Catholic; 5-10 outside/opposite hitter Gabija Sinickaite from Naperville North; 5-8 setter Jenna Garrett from Batavia; 6-0 middle hitter Lauren Young from Neuqua Valley; 5-11 outside hitter Rheannon O’Neil from Oswego; 5-11 middle hitter Samantha Rendon from Plainfield East; and 5-9 outside hitter Sarah Kuchcik from Naperville North. Ford, Holbrook, O’Neil, Rendon and Kuchcik are juniors. “They work really hard in practice,” Justice said. “They just want to get better.” SPVB 18 Navy will take the court again February 17-19 for the Presidents Day Challenge.


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