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Sports - page 46

Volleyball passes 1st playoff test

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Keri Groen pushes the ball past Geneva defenders uring Kaneland’s Spikefest held at Kaneland Harter Middle School on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Top-seed Lady Knights sweep Green Wave at Hampshire
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Tuesday’s playoff opener got rid of the bad taste of last year’s crushing opening defeat pretty well.

Almost a year to the day of a three-game downer at the hands of Glenbard South to end the 2011 season, mistakes were curbed and the aggressive tone worked in a 25-18, 25-18 win over St. Edward of Elgin on Tuesday at the Class 3A Hampshire Regional.

The win over the No. 5 seed Green Wave paves the way for a regional winner-take-all against the third-seed Sycamore Lady Spartans, which beat No. 2 Burlington Central after Kaneland’s victory by a 25-23, 25-21 clip.

“Postseason has not been nice to us, and we’ve faced some tough opponents,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said. “We were determined and we were focused, and we wanted to come out and play the best we could.”

KHS is now 22-12 for the year.

St. Edward fell victim to its share of errors in the first game on Tuesday, and Kaneland took advantage with a 15-5 lead. The Green Wave closed it to 19-12 before an Ellie Dunn kill. After seeing the margin close to 20-15, a block by Keri Groen, a pass over the net by Jenny Lubic and a Lyndi Scholl kill helped extend the margin to 24-16. An attempted block hit the net for game point at 24-18.

“The most important thing that we did was ball control,” libero Shayna Tucek said. “Every player focused on what they had to do, and they did it.”

St. Edward regained some footing and was ahead as late as 14-13 in the second game.

A Lauren Banbury kill gave the Lady Knights a lead for good at 16-15. After Kaneland put the pressure on, St. Edward was forced to regroup in a time out at 22-16.

Up 22-17, Groen stuck a kill down the St. Edward lineup, and several exchanges later, had another kill followed by a Scholl game point for the match win.

“It’s honestly the biggest weight lifted off,” Scholl said. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we can play Thursday and the season isn’t over. We still have a chance.”

Thursday’s loss to the visiting Lady Foxes was despite the best efforts of Lubic and Ashley Prost, who had a combined 24 assists. The lower level games all went Kaneland’s way.

At SpikeFest, no team performed better except the champion Geneva Lady Vikings. Riverside-Brookfield took third, followed by Metea Valley, Yorkville and Hampshire.

Kaneland’s 4-1 mark featured wins over Hampshire (25-16, 25-19), R-B (27-25, 27-25), Metea Valley (25-17, 20-25, 15-9) and Yorkville (25-14, 25-14).

The loss against Geneva was a 25-19, 25-22 result.

By virtue of their exceptional play, Dunn and Banbury of Kaneland earned all-tournament nods.

Dunn had 18 aces, three kills and eight blocks, while teammate Banbury had 13 kills and four blocks.

Kaneland is set to play in the Hampshire Regional final on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.

Cheering for the Chiefs

in Community Sports/Waubonsee Sports by


Members of the U11 and U14 girls travel teams from the Kaneland United Soccer Club (KUSC) spent the Columbus Day holiday with the Waubonsee Community College women’s soccer team and watched as the Chiefs defeated Morton CC 2-0. From the KUSC teams are, bottom row, Elaina Eckert, Amber Painer, Rachel Richtman, Becky Richtman, Gina Cortino, Kylie Kurz, Chloe Laws, Kaylee Bilotta, Sophie Laws, Willow Dunne, Mary Collum, Abby Shaw, Marley Schultz, Erica Eckert; and middle row, after the WCC team members, Bailey Prichard, Brooke Simmons, Ashley Painer. Photo Courtesy of KUSC

Comcast Sportsnet Chicago to air ‘IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show’ Oct. 20

in Football by

Bloomington, Ill.—In conjunction with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the IHSA’s production partner, PlayOn! Sports, Comcast SportNet Chicago, announced it will once again be the home for postseason high school football in Illinois in 2012. This joint partnership will include the airing and live stream of the “IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show” on Saturday, Oct. 20, and the IHSA Football State Championship games on Nov. 23-24.

Comcast SportsNet will be the first media outlet to reveal the first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes during the “IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Release Show,” which will air LIVE from CSN’s downtown Chicago studios on Oct. 20 from 8 to 10 p.m. Fans can also watch the brackets unveiled via live interactive stream online at IHSA.tv and CSNChicago.com.

“High school football in Illinois is a special tradition,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “From the unique playoff pairing show, to the state championships, it is a very special time for so many communities. Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s commitment to the IHSA and our member schools means that we will be able deliver a superior product to a larger audience in Illinois and beyond.”

The pairings show and title games will be distributed to Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s entire viewing territory. Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com to find the exact channel locations in their area.

Higher ground

in Featured/Football by

Photo: The Knights go up to try and block a Sycamore extra point during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 30-7 Homecoming win. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland gets best of Sycamore in a rush in Homecoming game
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s beauty in simplicity.

Kaneland kept it simple on Friday night at Peterson Field, brought on by necessity after quarterback Drew David was spelled before the game by sophomore backup Tyler Carlson due to injury.

The Knights utilized a clock-munching, punishing ground game with different formations, and saw the defense also get in on the act en route to a 30-7 win in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Kaneland’s mark improved to 8-0, marking that particular stat for the third straight year, and 4-0 in the NIB-12 East.

Sycamore fell to 5-3 (2-2 NIB-12), and hasn’t beaten Kaneland in regular season play since a 37-7 win on Sept. 14, 2007, along Spartan Trail.

Kaneland lost to the Spartans in first-round playoff action on Halloween night, 2009, in Maple Park.

Not needing to go complicated with a first-time starter behind center, and having the ground tools at its expense, the Knights got 177 yards rushing from Jesse Balluff, and 104 from Carlson in the win.

“We came into this game thinking normal playbook, same plays, everything like that,” Balluff said. “The running was working so we went to that more.”

The scoring started from the Spartan end, thanks to a touchdown run from senior ballcarrier Austin Culton on the lengthy opening drive to make it 7-0 halfway through the first frame.

Beginning from their own 19, Kaneland used two runs by Carlson, including a 27-yard carry, and three by Balluff to get into position for a 1-yard scoring run by Carlson with 3:22 remaining in the first for a 7-7 tie.

The defense took the stage on Sycamore’s next drive, thanks to a stuff of Dion Hooker by Gary Koehring in the endzone to take the lead for good, 9-7, with 2:13 to go in the first.

“Our line got such a good push. They had him stuffed in the backfield. All I had to do was wrap him up and take him down,” Koehring said.

The second quarter featured another score from the Knights, with a drive beginning at the 38 of Sycamore. Three runs by Carlson and another by Balluff set up a third-and-8 from the 26, when Brandon Bishop hauled in a 16-yard pass.

Balluff took the next carry and powered his way through the middle for a touchdown to make it 16-7 with 1:33 before halftime.

Kaneland’s second-half opening drive came up empty after a missed 40-yard field goal try by Matt Rodriguez was returned to the Kaneland 33.

Justin Diddell stonewalled a Culton carry on 4th-and-1 at the Knight 24 to reverse possession.

A 10-play drive that featured a Zach Martinelli 20-yard catch sandwiched around runs from Carlson, Balluff and Dylan Nauert, led to a Balluff 14-yard score with :34 left in the third.

Carlson found a hole for a nine-yard scoring run to make the final margin of 23 with 6:35 remaining.

Morris comes into town to finish the regular season in a battle of undefeated squads on Friday, Oct. 19.

Morris hosted Kaneland a year ago with the NIB-12 East on the line and lost 31-28.

KHS tennis trio heads to State

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Sammie Schrepferman

Schrepferman, Emmanouil, Jurcenko set school record
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—St. Charles East High School was the site of Saturday’s IHSA Tennis Sectional, and also the site of some happy Lady Knight athletes.

No. 1 singles competitor Sammie Schrepferman became the first-ever singles qualifier in KHS history with a fourth-place finish at the sectional. No. 1 doubles unit Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko finished third to qualify for the big dance.

This marks the third consecutive year Kaneland tennis sends athletes to state.

In 2010, Lindsay Jurcenko and Amelia Napiorkowski qualified as a doubles team, and Napiorkowski did the same with Madi Jurcenko in 2011.

As a team, Kaneland finished fifth with 13 points in the 10-team sectional.

KHS coach Tim Larsen knew his crew had the intangibles to cause a racket.

“They reacted well to whatever was going on on the court,” Larsen said. “All three of them are smart tennis players. They have a lot of talent, and they have a lot of really good shots.”

Bartlett (20), Geneva (17), St. Charles East (14) and Wheaton Academy (14) were the only schools that outpaced KHS.

Schrepferman earned a first-round bye, and earned straight set wins in her first two matches before losing the third to Jennifer Gates of Bartlett. In the battle for third place, the sophomore dropped a 6-2, 6-1 match to Geneva’s Kirby Einck.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it,” Schrepferman said. “I started off the year a little bumpy. It was the middle of the year where I told myself to keep going and if I wanted to go I had to push myself harder.”

Emmanouil/Jurcenko swept their first two matches before getting taken to three sets in a loss to Bartlett’s Jitsupa Sirinit and Gabby Gregorio.

The Lady Knight duo recovered to take third place from Saints duo Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton.

“We had a pretty good seed in the beginning,” Emmanouil said. “We were pretty comfortable the first two matches and then up against Bartlett, it was pretty tough.”

Jurcenko feels that the gameplan shouldn’t change that much headed into the elite gathering.

“The main goal is to make it to State. It would be awesome to win. You kind of just go and see how you do,” Jurcenko said.”

The finals take place from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Saturday, Oct. 20. Tournament central is located at Buffalo Grove High School.

Knights emerge victor in rivalry contest

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland goal keeper Marshall Farthing puts the ball in play during the first half of the varsity boy’s 1-0 win at Sycamore on Oct. 11. It was the team’s regular season finale. The Knights (13-3-2, 7-2-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) finished second to DeKalb in the conference. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Nothing like a tight and close match to show what you’re made of.

It looks as if Kaneland High School soccer is made of pretty strong material.

The lone match this week occurred in Sycamore, with the Knights facing off against their conference rivals, the Spartans, on Thursday.

With one goal in the second half, the Knights were lifted to a 1-0 win over the host Sycamore squad, raising their record to an exemplary 13-3-2 mark at the end of the regular season.

The Knights also boast a 7-2-1 record in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play, good for second.

All that was needed was a goal from Arsim Azemi on an assist from Kushstrim Ismaili with 17:24 remaining in the contest to secure a shutout win.

Meanwhile, the Kaneland sophomores came away with a 5-0 win over the Spartans, and the freshmen won 4-0.

Up ahead for the No. 1 Knights is the first test of the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional, a meeting with No. 4 IMSA on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m.

“We have had a good season,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “I hope the team can go a little farther. We will see what happens. We always thought we would have a nice record because of the talent we had, but there are so many things that can change that, injuries, grades, etc. You never really know. We have been fortunate that we have been able to do as well as we have this year.”

The winner of the KHS-Titans match faces either No. 2 BC or No. 3 Hampshire on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m.

A year ago, Kaneland used an Alex Gil goal to beat DeKalb in the regional semis before losing to Marmion Academy in the final.

Weekend in Normal caps extraordinary golf campaign

in Golf by

Rain clips State tourney, but KHS fights hard in first trip since ’95
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’ll be a trip to remember for Kaneland High School golf.

The Knight group, making its first trip to the big gathering in 17 years, pushed its way to 10th place overall after one day of Class 2A competition at Weibring Golf Club in Bloomington, Ill.

After three holes on Saturday, lightning paused play and after two hours of stoppage, the course was ruled unplayable, cementing the totals.

Kaneland’s 341 score was good for 10th overall, just two strokes behind local rival Wheaton Academy.

Belleville’s Althoff Catholic was first in a tiebreaker over Normal U-High with 321. Washington was third with 323.

Glenbard South took sixth with 327, while fellow Northern Illinois Big XII Conference school Ottawa finished eight with a 332 tally.

Normal U-High’s Adam Baracani was the top individual with a score of 72.

Leading the way for KHS was junior Matt Yonkovich with 83, good for a 42nd place tie.

Teammates Connor Williams and Luke Kreiter shot 85 for 55th place overall.

Brody Kuhar shot an 88th for 74th place, while Sean Glennon shot a 92 for 90th place.

Dan Miller shot 95 for 105th place.

Kreiter would have liked to get out there for more action, but is richer for the experience.

“Our first three holes on the second day were pretty good and we were getting better,” Kreiter said. “The first day, we were off to some bad shots. The front nine and back nine were about the same for me.”

For Kaneland, the 2012 season will stick out for those who are returning, and those that have swung their last driver for the Knights, like Kreiter.

“We put in a lot of work this year, guys like Glennon and Yonkovich and Kuhar. It was great to see and we’ve come a long way. We believed in ourselves this year,” Kreiter said.

The golf program and eighth-year coach Mark Meyer say goodbye to Glennon, Kreiter, Stephen McCracken, Miller and Williams.

Kaneland girls excel in wet conditions

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: The Kaneland girls pack it up at the beginning of the NIB XII meet in Peru, Ill. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

L-P site of admirable totals for NIB-12 meet
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Running conditions at Baker Lake Park in Peru, Ill., were interesting, to say the least.

Saturday saw non-stop rain of various impacts, but that didn’t seem to slow down the Lady Knight attack against the best the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference had to offer.

Yorkville outpaced the other teams with a 26-point total, followed by KHS at 65.

DeKalb (98), Geneseo (129), Sycamore (129) and Dixon (145) rounded out the top half of the conference.

Seven-through-12 was made up of LaSalle-Peru, Rochelle, Sterling, Ottawa, Morris and Streator.

Kaneland varsity runners had an average time of 18 minutes, 58.5 seconds, with a pack separation of 1:09.6

DeKalb junior Kelsey Schrader took the race mantle with a time of 17:30.2, followed by Yorkville freshman Skyler Bollinger at 17:57.6, but Kaneland sophomore Victoria Clinton continued her torrid stretch with a time of 18:13.2.

Clinton felt the conditions didn’t hinder her day as much as they could have.

“It was really rainy, and it made your body cold,” Clinton said. “It made it hard to move first, but it made it fun. Now I have to try to stay focused and stay consistent through each mile.”

Freshman Brianna Bower was next for KHS in eighth place by finishing the course in 18:40.9 fashion.

Senior Abby Dodis crossed the line next for the Lady Knights, thanks to an effort that took 19:15.4.

Junior Sydney Strang was 18th overall with a time of 19:20.5, and continues to her work her way back from a bout with pneumonia weeks ago.

“The rain made it a lot more intense and a lot more fun, too,” Strang said. “You never really want to miss a meet and sit out.”

Senior Amanda Lesak supported the KHS total with a time of 19:22.7 for 21st place, rounding out the Lady Knight top five.

The next challenge for girls cross country is the most important of the 2012 campaign, with the Class 2A Regional hosted by Kaneland at Elburn Forest Preserve on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The other teams participating in the regional are Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock.

Advancing teams head to the Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, Oct. 27.

4-place output for KHS boys at NIB-12

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Photo: Conor Johnson competes at the NIB XII meet in Peru, Ill. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Carter leads Knights in crowded field
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—”Rain, rain, go away” is the usual saying.

The Knights just had to go forward in unusual weather.

Despite the outdoors releasing everything from a strong drizzle to a steady downpour, the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Baker Lake in Peru, Ill., still went on and Kaneland ended with a fourth-place honor.

Yorkville finished its sweep of the NIB-12 with 27 points, followed by Dixon’s 59 and DeKalb’s 80.

Kaneland’s 118 bested Sycamore (128) and Geneseo (134).

Sterling, Morris, Ottawa, L-P, Streator and Rochelle filled the bottom-half slots.

Yorkville sophomore Jake Hoffert was tops with a 15 minute, 14.8 second race, 2.1 seconds over DeKalb’s Mark Dubrick.

Kaneland’s Kyle Carter was tops for his team with a time of 15:54.2.

Senior Conor Johnson was 23rd at 16:18.2.

“It’s always a weird meet,” Johnson said. “It seems we’re a little flat when we come here, but we’ll get back in the groove this week.”

Senior John Meisinger was 27th overall at 16:28.3, followed by junior Nathaniel Kucera in 28th at 16:35.8, and junior Brandon Huber in 29th at 16:38.9 to round out the Knight top five.

Kaneland’s Brad Kigyos didn’t mind the torrential rainfall.

“It kind of makes it fun,” Kigyos said. “It makes the time pass a lot easier. When you’re out there, it goes pretty quick.”

Kaneland prepares for the Class 2A Kaneland Regional in Elburn on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Also scheduled for the regional are Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock.

Advancing teams head to the Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Volleyball navigates homestretch

in Volleyball by

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—What was automatic for Sycamore in the past is anything but in the present.

But on Thursday, the Lady Knight contingent took the attack to the host Lady Spartans only to come away with a three-game loss: 23-25, 25-21, 25-18.

In Maple Park against the visiting Rochelle Lady Hubs, the Lady Knights won 25-16, 25-14.

With just one weekend left before the grueling Class 3A Regional setting, the Lady Knights are now 16-10, with a 4-4 tally in the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things.

The Lady Knights saw a lift against Sycamore from assets Emily Laudont’s eight kills and eight digs, Lyndi Scholl’s seven kills and 22 digs, and Shayna Tucek’s 30 digs.

In other levels of KHS-SHS volleyball, the sophomores lost 25-23, 25-21, the freshman “A” team lost 25-16, 25-23, and the freshman “B” side lost 25-21, 25-14.

Against the Lady Hubs, coach Todd Weimer saw a group rallying.

“It was a slow start but we pulled away, lots of good defense, blocking and digging. Serve-receive was key tonight as well, we sided-out very well,” Weimer said.

On Thursday, Oct. 18, the Lady Knights swing by Game Farm Road to battle the host Yorkville Lady Foxes.

Saturday, Oct. 20, brings the usual end-of-season Spikefest to the East Gym at Kaneland, and the Class 3A Hampshire Regional on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. brings a challenge in the form of either No. 4 Genoa-Kingston or No. 5 St. Edward of Elgin.

If the No. 1 seed Lady Knights conquer the initial challenge, either Burlington Central, Sycamore or Hampshire awaits in the regional championship on Thursday, Oct. 25, en route to the Marian Central Catholic Sectional.

A year ago, Kaneland fell short in the St. Francis Regional in a three-game loss to famed rival Glenbard South in the opening match.

The road to the State Championships begins

in Boys Cross Country/Girls Cross Country by

by Skip Stolley,
Chairman, Chicago Area Track & Field Organizing Committee, Inc.

ELBURN—This Saturday, Kaneland High School will host the Class AA IHSA Regional Championship at Elburn Woods.

The girls’ three-mile race will start at 10 a.m., and the boys’ race will step off at 11 a.m. It will be one of 45 qualifying meets for the 2012 Illinois State Cross Country Championships being held statewide this weekend at the A, AA, and AAA divisions.

In each division, the top seven teams, and top five individual finishers from non-qualifying teams, will advance from the regional to the sectional championships next weekend, Oct. 27. The top five teams and top 10 individual finishers from non-qualifying teams from the state’s five AA sectional meets will advance to the State Championships at Peoria’s Detweiler Park on Nov. 3.

The Kaneland boys are led by junior Kyle Carter, who has been a top 10 finisher individually in every meet this fall, including those dominated by ranked 3A teams. Behind him, their chase pack has been led by senior Conor Johnson, who has had a breakthrough season in leading the Knights’ pack to running closer to Carter meet by meet, week by week.

On the girls side, another underclassman, sophomore Victoria Clinton, has led the Lady Knights this season. She has won five races this fall and placed no worse than third in invitational meets featuring as many as 23 teams, earning her designation as a “National Elite” runner by ESPN.com. Behind Clinton, freshman Briana Bower has emerged as the Lady Knights’ No. 2 runner and seniors Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis and Maggie Brundige have been running within an arm’s length of one another as their No. 3, 4 and 5 finishers.

Competing with Kaneland in the Elburn Woods Regional this Saturday will be Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock high schools. Advancing from the eight-team regional on their home course should be no problem for either Kaneland team. However, at the Belvidere North Sectional Meet, to which they will advance the following weekend, both the boys’ and girls’ 21-team fields will showcase five of the state’s top 11 ranked 2A teams, and seven of the top 23, all vying for one of just five state-qualifying births.

Elburn Woods has only enough parking to accommodate participating teams and the meet staff, so spectators are to park at Kaneland High School, where three free shuttle buses will ferry them every 10 minutes to the Forest Preserve, which is only about five minutes away.

No lows at 7-0

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Kaneland’s Ryan Lawrence (29) gets in on the ball carrier with help coming from Bradley Johnson (79) and Gary Koehring (5) during the second quarter of the varsity boy’s 55-0 win at Yorkville on Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights take hunt to Foxes in 55-0 win
by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—Foxes football must have felt like it was in a valley of the same name after the final buzzer sounded on Friday.

Jesse Balluff and his fellow Knights peaked again, and not for the first time.

With four touchdowns, Balluff and crew triggered a running clock for the fourth time in seven tries in 2012, en route to a 55-0 win over the host Yorkville squad at Campbell Field.

Kaneland improved to 7-0 (3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII East), while Yorkville fell to 3-4 (0-3). The Knights still have yet to lose a NIB-12 conference matchup since the group’s inception in 2010, and begin 7-0 for the third consecutive season.

Kaneland has now won 26 regular season contests in a row, dating back to the final week of the 2009 regular season, and 28 of its last 30 contests overall.

Like last week, KHS had no trouble getting off to a good start, as it found the end zone on its first five possessions. They did the same on their first six drives in a win over DeKalb on Sept. 28.

Quarterback Drew David and Balluff each had a game-high 75 yards on the ground and helped KHS to 238 rushing yards overall.

David finished the night 8-of-13 for 175 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Dylan Nauert’s 69 yards receiving led the team.

After the first YHS drive came up empty, Kaneland used six plays to go 62 yards, which ended on an 18-yard TD pass to Balluff in the flat on a crucial third-down play.

Kaneland was up 7-0 with 8:19 left in the first and never looked back.

“I saw the opening and took it,” Balluff said. “Our lineman are just amazing this year, it’s ridiculous.”

Another Yorkville dead-end drive had KHS set up shop at the Fox 41, where runs by Balluff and Nate Dyer set up a 12-yard TD pass to Nauert with 3:50 left in the first for a 13-0 lead.

A drive that spanned two quarters ended after nine plays with a six-yard score from Balluff, making it 20-0 with 8:40 left in the second quarter.

Yorkville found itself punting again, setting up a one-play drive that ended on a 60-yard catch and run TD for Nauert and a 27-0 edge with 3:45 to go in the first half.

Balluff intercepted a pass on defense allowing Kaneland to set up shop at the hosts’ 36. A run by David and pass to Balluff paved the way for Balluff to catch another touchdown in the open field for a 34-0 lead with 2:10 to go in the first half.

“We can score from the 20; we have a very powerful offense. Even at the 50, we can score quicker and score more often,” Balluff said.

KHS was up to old and beneficial tricks to begin the second half, as the opening six-play drive ended with a 31-yard TD run by Balluff with 9:33 to go, which made it 41-0.

The fourth quarter saw additional touchdowns on runs by Tyler Carlson and Isaac Swithers for the final margin.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly keeps seeing the troops improve week after winning week.

“The further we go in the season, the more meaning the games have,” Fedderly said. “We know we need to improve if we want to be a conference champ or be in a big game.”

Kaneland will try to handle Sycamore in Maple Park on Friday, Oct. 12.

A year ago saw the Knights take out Sycamore along Spartan Trail in a 35-21 game. Sycamore comes off a 26-14 win against the Rochelle Hubs and enters Friday with a 5-2 mark.

It’s in the hole

in Golf by

Strong Sectional effort punches Knight golf’s State ticket
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland golf will be taking swings at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13.

It’s not for a campus visit.

Kaneland is one of the exclusive teams that showed exceptional talent and scores at its sectional, qualifing as a team for the Class 2A State Tournament.

It marks the first time KHS has gone to State since 1995, and its first State go-around under coach Mark Meyer, now in his eighth year.

“All season long, we’ve stressed leaving numbers out of their heads and just focus on the next shot,” Meyer said. “It worked, and we are really excited to go.”

After advancing out of the Sycamore Regional on Oct. 3 as meet champion, Kaneland put together a team score of 352 to make the cut as the third best team by seven strokes over Sterling at the Belvidere North Sectional.

Ottawa was Sectional champ at 340, followed by Kaneland’s regional mate Wheaton Academy at 348.

Sterling (359) and Vernon Hills (363) rounded out the top five of the 12-team meet.

Ottawa’s Lane Barbier’s 77 was enough for medalist honors, and Andrew Blackburn of Sterling was the top individual to advance with a 79 score.

But the Knights’ team effort did the trick to extend the noteworthy 2012 season another week.

Junior Matt Yonkovich, the only KHS golfer to qualify for Sectionals in 2011, paced the lineup with an 84 score, followed by Luke Kreiter’s 86. Brody Kuhar shot an 89, while Connor Williams and Dan Miller shot 93 and 95, respectively.

“In golf, you just have to focus on one thing at a time, and the most important thing is that next shot. It can be difficult, but these guys managed to do it,” Meyer said.

Kaneland begins on the 10th tee beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, with Sean Glennon matching clubs with Washington’s Matt Johnson, Glenbard South’s Eli Qahhaar and Mt. Carmel’s Daniel Dydo.

The Knights have a practice round tomorrow at 10 a.m. before making the trek south for the State meet.

KHS tennis solidifies upper-tier status in NIB-12

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Senior Jessica Woodward serves against Morris during the NIB XII Tennis Tournament in DeKalb on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

No. 1 doubles outplays field; Lady Knights finish 2nd to Sycamore
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—If Lady Knights tennis keeps this current level of play up, they’ll be seeing good things come their way in the homestretch of 2012.

While the group wasn’t able to duplicate the 2011 conference title showing, it still managed to show off enough for a second-place showing at the Northern Illinois Big XII gathering held at DeKalb High School Friday and Saturday.

Sycamore’s lineup had a conference-winning 53 points, after finishing second behind Kaneland a year ago, while KHS scored 51 points. Sterling had 42 points to take the West.

KHS had one NIB-12 champ to boast of in the form of No. 1 doubles juggernaut Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil, while Sammie Schrepferman took second in the No. 1 singles scrum.

A year ago, it was Jurcenko and graduate Amelia Napiorkowski that seized the No. 1 doubles category while Emmanouil won the No. 2 singles crown.

“(Saturday) was a lot harder in the cold,” Emmanouil said. “But it was just about getting warmed up and then we played a little better.”

Emmanouil and Jurcenko are among the girls getting used to only a high level of play the last couple of years.

“I would say we are as good as the last couple years. Lindsay’s (Madi’s sister) and Amelia’s senior years were good. We definitely are as good as those teams right now I think,” Jurcenko said.

Kaneland battles the competition in St. Charles out at St. Charles East High School on Saturday, Oct. 13. Jurcenko and Napiorkowski were State qualifiers a year ago as a freshman/senior duo.

The nine-team sectional also features Sycamore.

Girls get Sterling meet under belts

in Girls Cross Country by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a truncated lineup that took to the course at Sterling.

It was a way to improve and get even more battle tested en route to conference and beyond for those that participated.

Missing a number of top runners, the Lady Knights outfit tallied 415 points for a 15th-place finish of 22 participating teams at the Sterling Invite on Saturday morning.

Under partly cloudy, autumn-like conditions, it was Pleasant Valley of Iowa that boasted five of the top 11 runners for 33 points.

Southwest Prairie Conference entry Minooka was second with 90 points, and Bettendorf High School of Iowa finished third with 104 points.

Pleasant Valley speedster McKenzie Yanek took the Sterling course with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds.

Senior Maggie Brundige led the Lady Knight pack with a time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds, good for 35th place. Junior Sydney Strang continued her way back from illness with a 48th- place finish thanks to a time of 19:33.

“We are all healthy at this point,” KHS head coach Doug Ecker said. “Sydney is still not 100 percent, but is getting close.”

Junior teammate Erika Carlson finished 84th with an effort of 20:36, while senior Anna Piazza finished 116th with a time of 21:57.

Rounding out the top five runners for KHS was junior Megan Franklin in 132nd place with a time of 23:13.

Kaneland gears up for the talented field at the Northern Illinois Big XII race hosted by LaSalle-Peru High School on Saturday, Oct. 13.

A year ago, Kaneland finished second only to Yorkville. Victoria Clinton finished fifth to lead the Lady Knights as a freshman.

Back in the hunt

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Kaneland’s Ellie Dunn (3) gets a spike past Morris defenders during Kaneland’s home match on Oct. 4. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights stifle Morris, take down DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—KHS volleyball earned another conference win against a rival, then faced neighbors even further west before accomplishing a first-ever task against DeKalb in a busy week.

Thursday saw a three-game win over visiting Morris, while Saturday saw the usual early-October trip to the Bettendorf Tournament in Iowa. They then earned their first win at the new DeKalb High School. In fact, all levels won at DeKalb on Tuesday, a feat that has head coach Todd Weimer excited.

“All levels won, so (it was a) big program sweep,” Weimer said.

Tuesday’s back-and-forth win over DeKalb saw Kaneland run out to a 25-20 win in game one. Game two turned into a marathon as both teams battled back and forth before DeKalb took the 31-29 victory. Kaneland held firm in game three, earning the match victory with a 25-20 win.

Weimer said the win was especially sweet since his team’s roster had to be juggled. One player was not available, while several others were just returning after long illnesses and injuries.

“(The) varsity did a phenomenal job … just all about teamwork,” Weimer said. “What more do you want?”

The Lady Knights now stand at 16-9 overall, 4-3 in the conference.

“We’re back in the hunt for the conference race,” Weimer said.

The matchup opposite the Lady Redskins of Morris went 23-25, 25-18, 25-22 in favor of KHS despite early difficulties.

Ellie Dunn had 12 kills, two aces and five blocks. Emily Laudont added seven kills and nine digs, while teammate Lauren Banbury contributed seven kills and two blocks.

Weapon Lyndi Scholl put in four kills and five digs of her own.

Additional Kaneland-Morris action saw the sophomores take a 25-23, 25-16 win, the freshman “A” team win a 25-12, 25-19 affair, while the freshman “B” team emerged with a 22-25, 25-11, 25-23 win of its own.

With their hands full against three teams from the host state, Kaneland went to work against No. 2 ranked Ankeny, but fell 21-10, 21-19.

Against host Bettendorf, KHS lost again by a final of 21-13, 21-17, before righting the ship against Waukee 15-21, 21-17, 19-17 in the modified tourney scoring.

Ellie Dunn set the tone with 16 kills and 10 digs in the three matches. Ashley Prost had 36 assists in her name, while Tucek put together 21 digs.

“It was great to see our girls be the most competitive ever at this very difficult and competitive invite,” Weimer said. “We’re very fortunate that we’re able to go out there and compete fairly well. Even Waukee was very good. There is no weak team out there.”

The Lady Knights take on host Sycamore on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Modified lineup takes Byron Handicap meet

in Boys Cross Country by

Cutsinger, Kuipers emerge from pack for boys XC
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it’s early October, you’ll know where to find Kaneland boys cross country.

They’ll be in Byron, Ill., ahead of everyone else.

Such was the case on Oct. 3, when the Knight boys cross country outfit made its usual stop for the Byron Handicap Invite.

Kaneland’s mastery of the staggered starts and the other seven schools led to 26 points and a victory.

The host Tigers finished with 43 team points, followed by Bureau Valley and 94 points.

Eliminating a 20-second disadvantage, Kaneland’s Phil Cutsinger finished in 17 minutes, 5 seconds, followed by teammate Joe Kuipers in second at 17:10.

“(Phil’s) worked very hard this season, and we’re happy to see him achieve this,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Joe is just an amazingly humble and hard-working young man.”

Two Byron runners took the third and fourth spots before Kaneland struck again with Matt Rodway’s fifth-place nod at 17:38.

Nick Albano and Gus Stott helped wrap up the team title, as well, along with Brad Kigyos and Ryan Paulson.

Clarey, even with the top seven runners held out of the lineup, was pleased to see the competition bend toward KHS.

“We held out our top seven runners, and went with the great depth of our lineup versus some talented western fringe schools. Byron was second to us, and put up a great fight. Byron is the seventh-ranked team in Class 1A,” Clarey said.

Ahead for the Kaneland lineup is the LaSalle-Peru-hosted Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet on Saturday, Oct. 13.

“Our bottom line is that we are coming to give the best of ourselves, and to let the chips fall where they may,” Clarey said. “We’ve had a rough string of less than stellar performances at the conference meet for more years than we care to admit. By no means is it because our kids are not prepared or don’t give the best they’ve got. Our training has been built over the years, to help point us toward our best performances coming when we need them.”

Redemption

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Team Captain Anthony Parillo (5) fights for the ball against Yorkville on Tuesday. Kaneland came away with a 2-1 victory. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights win rematch over Yorkville; add wins over Plainfield East, Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Just shoot the ball, because who knows what it’ll bring.

That, in essence, is what KHS coach Scott Parillo was preaching to his troops during halftime and in the second half of a match on Tuesday against visiting Yorkville.

Parillo’s son and scoring option Anthony took it to heart after a booming kick ricocheted off players into the net with 12:54 to go.

The score was the difference in the 2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII win.

Kaneland is now 12-3-2 (6-2-1 NIB-12) after the win over Yorkville, plus wins over visiting Plainfield East, 3-2, and at Rochelle, 4-2.

Down 1-0 at the half to a feisty, much-improved Yorkville team, the Knights came back on a goal from Kushstrim Ismaili with 34:44 remaining. The score remained deadlocked until Parillo’s goal 22 minutes later.

“I actually was surprised it went in,” Parillo said. “The deflection didn’t look like it was going to go in; it was a little slow. Luckily, it made it around him.”

The elder Parillo saw positive and stark contrasts from the losing effort against Yorkville from two weeks ago.

“I don’t know what it is about football fields, but they’re not very kind to us,” Parillo said. “Yorkville is an excellent team. We feel very fortunate to have won this game. I thought we played much better here than at Yorkville.”

Against the Bengals of Plainfield East, goals were scored by Arsim Azemi and Alec Koczka in the first half, with a goal from Parillo with 6:33 remaining to put the action on ice.

In the NIB-12 tussle against the Hubs, Koczka’s goal 22 minutes in helped secure a 1-1 tie, before a goal deluge from Sam Rymarz on a penalty kick, Ben Longson and Parillo on a penalty kick tilted the scales.

Ahead for the Knight soccer outfit is a Thursday, Oct. 11, showdown with potential Burlington Central Regional opponent Sycamore along Spartan Trail.

Crafters needed for Susan G. Komen Fundraiser Weekend

in Community Sports by

St Charles—Crafters are welcome to apply for a spot at the Susan G. Komen “Pretty in Pink” Softball Tournaments to be held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21, at Verhaeghe Fields, Silver Glen and Burlington Roads in St Charles.

Wasco Girls Fastpitch is seeking exhibitors of handmade items, including jewelry, autumn and holiday decorations, fashion, youth apparel and more. For more information, call (630) 513-1200 or email secretary@wascofastpitch.com.

Fundraiser set to help send Dyer to Australian track-and-field meet

in Boys Track by

Maple Park—Kaneland High School student-athlete Nathan Dyer was selected by “Down Under Sports” to represent the state of Illinois and compete in a track-and-field competition next June in Australia.

To help raise funds for his trip, there will be an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 312, 203 Main St., Maple Park. Tickets cost $7 at the door.

For information, call Penny Dyer at (630) 742-6388.

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