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Sept. 26 sports recap

in Fall Sports/Volleyball by

Freshmen Football
vs. Sterling—The Knights defeated the visiting Golden Warriors 34-6 on Sept. 16.
at Streator—The Knights travelled to Streator Monday and defeated the Bulldogs 41-24. No stats were available for either game.

Sophomore Football
vs. Streator—The sophomore football squad easily dispatched the visiting Bulldogs 44-0 at Peterson Field Friday.

Fr/So Golf
vs. Jacobs—On Sept. 19, the Knight golfers defeated visiting Jacobs High School 170-175. Brett Glennon was the medalist for the Knights with his 38. Jeff VanGemert shot a 41, Drew Diffendal shot a 44, Luke Calabrese shot a 47, Joey Brandonisio and Michael Petrick each shot a 50, and Dan Frank shot a 57.
at Morris—Tuesday saw the Knights travel to Morris and win 171-181. Glennon was again the medalist with a 41, while VanGemert shot a 42. Brandon Cruz shot a 43, Jake Pearson shot a 45, Calabrese shot a 46, Diffendal and Jake Hummel each shot a 49 and Dan Frank shot a 50.

Freshmen Soccer
vs. Geneva—Monday saw the freshmen soccer team tie visiting Geneva 1-1. Javier Correa scored Kaneland’s lone goal on a Nick Turnya assist. The freshmen sit at 1-5-1, 0-1 in NIB-12 play.

Sophomore Soccer
vs. Morris—On Sept. 19, the Knights defeated Morris 4-0. Goals were supplied by Felipe Speraggi (2), Same Wolf and Andy Tovar. Assists were supplied by Brian Kemp, Omar Aguilar and Wolf.
at Somonauk—Saturday saw the Knights earn another shutout, this time over Somonauk. Speraggi scored two goals, while Trevor Jahns, Kemp, Wolf and Cameron Pieczyski each supplied a goal. Assists came from Jahns (2) and Aguilar.
at. Geneva—On Monday, the Knights deadlocked the visiting Vikings 0-0.
at Rochelle—Kaneland held their fourth-straight opponent scoreless Tuesday. Sparaggi had two goals and an assist. Pieczyski had a goal and an assist, while Tovar and Aguilar each had goals. Wolf and Edson Del Real each contributed assists. The Knights are not 5-0-2, 3-0 in NIB-12 play.

JV Tennis
at Morris—On Tuesday, the Lady Knights defeated Morris 3-2. Emily Lutter (10-0) and Brittany Zablocki (10-1) each won at singles, while the No. 3 doubles tandem of Lauren Karolewicz and Marley Schultz won 10-3 to seal the victory. The JV tennis team is 7-3-1, 4-0 in NIB-12 play.

Varsity Volleyball
at Sycamore—Tuesday’s results from a matchup with Sycamore were not available by press time.

Closing it out

in Volleyball by

Volleyball wades through conference challenges
KANELAND—Hovering around .500, the Lady Knights volleyball contingent keeps trying create a little breathing room between itself and that line.

They’ll have to spend a little more time trying to create after the past week.

Monday had a trip to DeKalb and a 28-26, 16-25, 22-25 three-game loss, and Tuesday had a home matchup against Morris that ended in a 25-13, 25-18 conference win.

Kaneland sits at 8-7 now (1-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Saturday saw a trip to the home of the new Upstate Eight Conference entry West Chicago for a tournament where the Lady Knights split four matches.

West Chicago beat Dundee-Crown in the championship final by a 25-23, 25-16 score, the two teams to beat Kaneland in the grouping.

Against DeKalb, Ellie Dunn had nine kills and 14 service points. Bridget Ransford had five kills and four service points, and fellow Lady Knight Jenny Lubic had eight assists and two digs.

Facing another conference foe in Morris, Lubic had seven service points, two kills and nine assists, while Hannah Nauert had five service points and eight assists. Dunn had 10 kills, 10 digs, three aces, three blocks and four service points.

Kaneland is still finding a court roadblock with winning a first game, but dropping a second and third.

“We figured that out though last night, and I saw my team play the way I’ve always seen them against a very tall and veteran Morris team,” first-year coach Kerri McCastland said. “We will work this week and continue learning, and give it a go next Tuesday.

The lone contest for Kaneland during the next week features a trip to Sycamore on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Tweaking the formula

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Photo: The Kaneland girls volleyball team celebrates a point in recent action. The Lady Knights sit at 5-4 to start the season after winning Tuesday against LaSalle-Peru. File Photo

Lady Knights volleyball handles ACC, drops close sweep to Montini
KANELAND—Through eight matches in 2013, Kaneland’s new volleyball setup is still in the process of setting up.

This past week showed both highs and lows, with the new-look Lady Knights still looking to put it all together.

Kaneland was able to handle a nearby threat from the Aurora Central Catholic unit last Thursday by a final of 25-13, 25-18, and lost a competitive and tight sweep to the invading Montini Catholic unit by a 25-23, 25-21 count.

The Lady Knights also finished their three-match home swing against Northern Illinois Big XII crossover rival LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday, winning 25-15, 25-14.

Kaneland is now 5-4 through the first stretch of the season after going 5-3 a year ago.

Against the Lady Chargers, lone senior anchor Jenny Lubic paced the lineup with six kills, four digs and 17 assists. Teammate Ellie Dunn added six kills and six digs, and fellow Lady Knight Bridget Ransford supplied four kills and five service points. KHS rep Hannah Nauert also hammered home four kills in the sweep.

Facing off against Lombard, Ill., contender Montini, the Lady Knights saw stat sheet impact from Lubic (18 assists), Anna Senese (six kills) and Dunn (eight kills).

Neither team was able to get out to a comfortable lead, with the first margin of two points occurring when Montini took a 14-12 lead in game one. Montini was up 21-17 when Kaneland saw a kill from Senese to close the margin to three. A sideout and error closed the margin to 22-20, but the Lady Broncos cinched the first-game deal with aggressive front-line play and two blocks.

Able to stifle Montini’s aggressiveness, Kaneland went out to a 14-10 edge, which forced MC to call a time-out. The strategy worked with the visitors able to rattle off a 6-1 run to take a lead before a kill from McKenzie McMullan tied the score at 16. Montini’s next kill attempt gave KHS a 17-16 edge before the lead briefly switched again. Down by one, Vanessa Gould’s kill tied the game at 19. An errant dig by the Lady Broncos would eventually tie the score at 20 apiece. Down by three, a Dunn kill would eventually close the margin to 23-21 before finished off the threat.

KHS coach Kerri McCastland sees a roster still working out the kinks and solidifying execution in close games.

“We are yet to do that,” McCastland said. “We’re yet to believe that we’re that team. You’d see it for three points, then all of the sudden we’d lay down for three points and let them back in the game. I wish they’d come to believe that they are the team that they are. I really believe they are in my heart.”

Stats from Tuesday’s NIB-12 game against LaSalle-Peru were not available at press time.

Kaneland heads to the West Chicago Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Sept. 13 sports recap

in Boys Soccer/Football/Golf/Volleyball by

Freshman Football
At Aurora Christian—In a tight game, the freshman football Knights lost to the Aurora Christian Eagles 34-32. No stats were provided.

Sophomore Football
vs. IC Catholic Prep—The Knight sophomore football team shut out visiting IC Catholic Prep 40-0 Friday night. No stats were provided.

Sophomore Soccer
vs. Streamwood—Andy Tovar had the only Kaneland goal as the Knights deadlocked with Streamwood 1-1 Monday. The Sophomore team now sits at 0-0-1.

Freshman Volleyball
vs. Aurora Central Catholic—The freshmen volleyball teams defeated Aurora Central Catholic Thursday. The A squad won 26-24, 25-14, while the B group won 27-25, 25-14.
vs. Montini—Both freshman squads handled visiting Montini Monday. The A squad defeated the Broncos 25-13, 25-14, while the B squad won 25-16, 25-17. No stats were provided.

Sophomore Volleyball
vs. Aurora Central Catholic—Thursday saw the sophomore volleyball team lose 25-23, 21-25, 23-25 in a close match against ACC.
vs. Montini—The Lady Knights lost a close match to visiting Montini 25-23, 21-25, 14-25 on Monday. No stats were provided.
vs. LaSalle-Peru—Tuesday saw KHS fall 13-25, 28-26, 25-15 to visiting LaSalle-Peru.

Fr/So Golf
vs. Yorkville—Tuesday’s tilt against visiting Yorkville was fruitful for the Knights Fr/So golf team. Brett Glennon led all golfers with a 39, while Luke Calabrese shot a 45. Dan Franck and Jake Pearson each shot a 47 to finish the scoring. The Knights defeated the Foxes 178-192.

Volleyball goes for Blue & Gold

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Photo: Junior Ellie Dunn (left) had eight points and 12 kills, but the Lady Knights fell short at Burlington Central Tuesday, falling to 3-3. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wheaton North tourney provides first test of season
KANELAND—A usual stop for Kaneland volleyball to begin the 2013 season would be anything but this time around.

With a roster infused with new personnel and a new coach in Kerri McCastland, the Lady Knights could approach the Wheaton North High School stop as an early barometer. Kaneland ended up with a 3-2 mark and beat Arlington Heights, Ill., outfit St. Viator for the fifth-place honor in the Aug. 28 and Saturday tournament.

“It allows you come you to take an assessment of your team and then come home and work on things before Saturday. Wheaton North’s tournament was well run well and we saw a lot big 4A schools for volleyball. It’s always good to play up and beat some very good programs by the end,” McCastland said.

Jenny Lubic, the Lady Knights senior representative, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Kaneland was placed in Pool C, along with former Suburban Prairie Conference North Division and Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South and Buffalo Grove on Aug. 28. Kaneland was trumped by GS by a 25-18, 25-21 margin, but came back to solve the Lady Bison 16-25, 25-18, 25-23.

On Saturday, Kaneland began Gold Division play with a loss to Glenbard West in 19-25, 25-14, 25-15 fashion, but came back for a 25-21, 25-19 win over Stagg. KHS fifth-place win over the Lady Lions of St. Viator was by count of 25-18, 25-20.

Montini Catholic beat Glenbard West in the title match, 25-17, 25-18.

On Tuesday at Burlington Central, Kaneland lost to the hosts 25-22, 25-13, 26-24 to fall to .500 on the season. Lubic contributed five points, 18 assists and two kills, while Ellie Dunn had eight points and 12 kills, and Anna Senese contributed 10 points and six kills. Bridget Ransford contributed five points and three kills.

Despite the loss to the Rockets, McCastland seemed pleased with the progress the team is making.

“The score shows a loss for Kanleand,” she said, “This is day 15 here at Kaneland with a new coach, new offense, new defense and a lot of learning. My team saw victory in so many areas tonight. We are better than Saturday when we last played.”

Kaneland’s next challenge takes the form of visitors Aurora Central Catholic on Thursday, Sept. 5.

Photo Gallery: 2013 Knights Under the Lights

in Boys Cross Country/Boys Soccer/Football/Girls Cross Country/Golf/Kaneland/Tennis/Volleyball by

Photos from Thursday, Aug. 22.

2013 Volleyball Preview: New faces, new era

in Volleyball by

Photos: Senior captain Jenny Lubic will provide leadership for first-year coach Kerri McCastland’s Lady Knights. Photo by Patti Wilk

McCastland era begins with mission to duplicate success
KANELAND—It’s a different look to the ladies of the court for Kaneland.

There’s a change at the top, with experienced head coach Kerri McCastland taking over the reins left to her by Todd Weimer. KHS also has to offset the vacancy of six seniors from a year ago that helped pave the way to a 23-13 record and sectional appearance.

With a newly structured roster in place and action underway, McCastland is pleased with how the rigorous prep has left the volleyball team.

“It’s been a run out of the gate with excitement,” McCastland said. “The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the physicality of the game or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.”

“The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the  physicality of the game  or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.” KHS volleyball coach Kerri McCastland
“The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the
physicality of the game
or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.”
KHS volleyball coach
Kerri McCastland
Having to turn the page from the only system the program has known since 2005 can be a major adjustment, but the KHS crew looks to be game to learn as quickly as possible and solidify the lineup.

“It’s been hard work, but these are their words, ‘but it’s been good work’. That’s a great testament to the kids,” McCastland said.

McCastland realizes the stakes as a new coach coming into a team that achieved notable heights a year ago.

“It’s both ends of the sword, they graduated an awful lot of seniors from that successful team and left a great legacy. We have a young team, and a new-formatted team, with some freshmen and sophomores, a large majority of juniors and a senior setter who’s going to lead the whole pack,” McCastland said.

Volleyball team captains: Elizabeth Dunn, Jenny Lubic and Riley Hannula.
Volleyball team captains:
Elizabeth Dunn, Jenny Lubic and Riley Hannula.
Senior Jenny Lubic brings a wealth of experience, and experience as a captain, continuing the Lubic production cycle begun by sister Jessica under Weimer.

Juniors include Ellie Dunn, Brittany Grider, Riley Hannula, Rachel Kintz, Regan Prost and Anna Senese. Sophomores are Vanessa Gould, McKenzie McMullan, Kathy Nguyen and Bridget Ransford. Freshman on the squad are Alex Anderson and Hannah Nauert.

“There’s joint passion. Thirteen players are hungry and interested in learning in a hot gym. They want to be great,” McCastland said.

Trying to match a 23-13 record and sectional appearance will happen in large part due to mistakes avoided on the court, as well.

“They need to avoid falling back into old habits. I would love for them to embrace the learning that has occurred and trust in it and be consistent in it,” McCastland said.

With the journey having already begun with a gathering of teams at Wheaton North, Kaneland looks to have its hands full with members of the Northern Illinois Big XII.

“I have great respect for the conference right now,” McCastland said. “As an official in the conference last year, you know a little bit of who graduated. I hear Sycamore’s new coach is very good, and that’s exciting. I think Morris has always generated a good team. I think Yorkville has a fiery and knowledgeable coach, and you can’t underestimate them. DeKalb has a very seasoned club coach who has a lot of leadership. Entering every conference game, we have to prepare for the team we’re going to face.”

McCastland teaches away from court

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New KHS volleyball coach well-versed in leadership training, school improvement efforts
PLAINFIELD—Before taking care of volleyball business for Kaneland, Kerri McCastland is directing a group of upperclassmen on a Tuesday morning for her day job at Plainfield North High School.

While it’s taking place in the gym, there’s not a volleyball to be seen.

McCastland, having been certified nationally in programs such as Link Crew and Conflict Resolution, passes on training to the older students in order for the group to help steer the incoming Tiger freshmen in 2013 and beyond. A portion of the morning is exchanging personal stories of dealing with or observing school conflict.

The Geneva resident has developed leadership curriculum for students since being involved with the Plainfield School District.

After the Plainfield North principal and assistant principal became oriented with Link Crew, the decision was made to bring it in locally three years ago, according to McCastland.

“Link Crew is a freshman transition program with 1,000 high schools,” McCastland said. “I was trained to do it for my school as an investment by my principal to get trained nationally and do it for my school. We train top-tier leaders in the school how to run freshman orientation.”

Twelve freshmen are paired with one upperclassman and remain in contact with them for the freshman campaign.

“It builds relationships and gives freshmen a feeling that they can have a place in their school and they already know people,” McCastland said.

The guidance provided by McCastland and colleagues provide a helpful tool for the upperclassmen.

“They are the first problem-solvers and innately taking control of our building. A great school has all those elements in there because they know way before we do when something is wrong,” McCastland said.

A normal training day, three days before the start of school, begins with approximately 70-strong at 7 a.m. Listening and note-taking leads to smaller group activities, paving the way for the leaders to conduct those same activities for freshman orientation the next day.

“They’ll get down to the floor and talk about instances that will probably happen during the school year. How do we do our best to protect kids?,” McCastland said.

Employing leadership skills also paved the way for McCastland and her fellow educators to try something new last year, called Changing Your School in 36 Weeks.

“We sent a video capsule to Ellen (DeGeneres) for her show, and to show we did this and to change the culture for the better. We had three altercations at school last year total, with two remediated by students way before any adult got involved and mostly verbal, which was huge,” McCastland said.

Bringing a pedigree of training and experience, McCastland hopes the incoming Lady Knight volleyball squad can benefit.

“We foster a lot of leadership on the team and we are accountable to each other,” McCastland said. “Like a good teacher, the practice is the homework and the test is the match.”

McCastland sees all sides of volleyball

in Volleyball by
Kerri Headshot 2013

New hire inherits program on rise, eager to be involved
KANELAND—Approved for the job two weeks ago, new Kaneland varsity volleyball head coach Kerri McCastland says, “It’s been a great two weeks.”

Followers of Kaneland volleyball, on the upswing with double-digit wins the last five years, hope McCastland can be at the forefront of a great 2013 and beyond.

“I’ve been a head coach and official, and have coached high school and club, and this was the first job opening in awhile that I’ve actively pursued,” McCastland said.

McCastland, who has taught at Plainfield North High School since 2005, and coached from 2005-09, is eager to be in the Kaneland fold after being approved at last month’s board meeting. She continues to teach health, P.E. and drivers’ education at PNHS.

“Todd Weimer left the program in great shape, and I’m happy for him that he can do what he wants to do. I’m excited to be joining Cyndi Violett and Breanne Kahl, who’ve held it together this summer, and Leigh Jaffke, too. It’s going to be a great community to be a part of with great parents,” McCastland said.

McCastland hasn’t coached in four years, after the 2008 birth of her son, Jake, a journey that involved three years and five miscarriages.

“That was going to be my focus, and I had to step away,” McCastland said.

McCastland and her husband, Tim, an educator in the St. Charles School District, live in Geneva with their son.

The veteran of area volleyball coached in Arizona from 1994-99 before returning to Illinois to coach Oak Forest (2000-01), Andrew (2002-03) and Plainfield South (2004) before her latest stop at Plainfield North. McCastland has also had a hand in coaching club outfits like Second City Volleyball and what became Club Fusion in the Batavia area.

Itching to be involved in the game once again, McCastland officiated area volleyball matches, even taking on some assignments at KHS.

“I was impressed with the sportsmanship of the kids on the team and with kids like Ashley (Prost) and Lyndi (Scholl) from last year,” McCastland said. “The team is fun to watch and the program has a lot of depth now, going down to the middle school, which is beautiful.”

McCastland has been involved with most any aspect of the sport one can name, but officiating the area sport has given her a thoughtful perspective and approach.

“It’s giving an understanding that everyone goes in there and, in the heat of the moment, gives it their very best,” McCastland.

The new head coach is excited to be the person the buck stops with, and about the new surroundings in 2013.

“The area is passionate and dedicated to the kids,” McCastland said. “It’s a privilege to be part of that tradition.”

Weimer says goodbye to KHS volleyball

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Eight years and an improved program later, Weimer tends to other responsibilities
KANELAND—For the first time since the 2004 season, Kaneland volleyball will have a new face patrolling the sidelines this fall.

The resignation of eight-year head coach Todd Weimer deems it necessary.

A new coach was expected to be named this month.

Weimer leaves the perch after a letter of resignation and his team’s first sectional playoff appearance.

The Harter Middle School teacher will keep his teaching responsibilities but will no longer have to juggle different teams and different schools, having been the boys volleyball head coach at St. Charles North High School.

The husband and father of a 2-year-old daughter felt the decision came together fairly quickly.

“It all happened fairly fast, but I was carefully thinking about everything,” Weimer said. “Everything probably started in the middle of June. I was out of town for several weeks with my family and really started to realize how much I was missing out. The spring season at St. Charles North was such an incredible journey. Getting third in State with the boys team was just unbelievable and such a great group of players, coaches, managers and parents.”

Weimer’s teams struggled out of the gate early on but cultivated area talent to beat Geneva for the first time in 19 years back in 2010, and hoisted a regional plaque at Hampshire last October after beating rival Sycamore.

Regardless of where the Lady Knights finished last fall, Weimer said he feels it wouldn’t have influenced the summer decision.

“I’m pretty confident that whether we lost right away, won Sectionals or State, my decision would be the same. Family is important to me. I hope that people know that I’m a family man,” Weimer said.

The girls volleyball program earned its first winning season under Weimer in 2010-11 (19-14) and has won 61 matches in its last three seasons.

That’s compared to seven matches won from 2005-08.

“I became relaxed in a few things, but still defensive-oriented on the court. I was coming off fresh from the USA Deaf National Team, played club ball at NIU, and had a lot of high-level training and coaching,” Weimer said. “Being able to mold that and adjust to teach and work with the younger kids was important. I’ve always been intense and would fight for every point. I’ve become more relaxed in that and just keeping that excitement inside until after we won the match.”

Weimer said it’s too early to tell on a return to the girls volleyball landscape.

“I can see myself getting back into head coaching, but when you have kids and you want to see them enjoy life, dance lesson, playing sports, and attending family functions, you just want to be a part of that,” Weimer said.

The longtime sideline presence leaves behind a program with the arrow pointed up and a total record of 97-158.

“We had to overcome a lot of obstacles, especially those first three seasons, not a lot of success and a lot of frustration,” Weimer said. “But I wouldn’t trade any of that in, it’s all part of the rebuilding process and the journey and I’m very happy to be a part of that.”

KHS fall sports announce awards

in Boys Cross Country/Boys Soccer/Football/Girls Cross Country/Golf/Volleyball by

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.

Cross Country—Boys
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter

Cross Country—Girls
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton

• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez

• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon

• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo

• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams

• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury

KHS fall athletes earn accolades

in Boys Cross Country/Featured/Football/Girls Cross Country/Golf/Volleyball by

Kaneland—A number of Kaneland High School fall athletes were recognized for their performance from throughout the 2012 season.

Leading the way for Kaneland’s post-season honors was senior offensive lineman Zach Theis. He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-State Team, was the NIB-12 East Division Offensive MVP and All-Conference.

Joining Theis as Kaneland football All-Conference Team members were senior offensive lineman Nick Sharp, junior offensive lineman Alex Snyder, senior wide receiver Zack Martinelli, junior running back Jesse Balluff, junior quarterback Drew David, junior defensive lineman Justin Diddell, junior defensive lineman Jaumaureo Phillips, senior defensive back Blake Bradford, senior defensive back Kory Harner, junior linebacker Gary Koehring, senior linebacker Ryan Lawrence, and junior kicker Matt Rodriguez. Balluff was also an All-State Honorable Mention. Balluff, David, Snyder and Koehring were each named to the All State Academic Team.

Earning All-Conference honors from the Kaneland High School volleyball team were sophomore Ellie Dunn, senior Lauren Banbury and senior Ashley Prost.

Girls cross country All-Conference honors went to sophomore Victoria Clinton, freshman Brianna Bower, senior Abby Dodis, junior Sydney Strang, and senior Amanda Lesak.

Junior Kyle Carter earned All-Conference distinction for boys cross country.

All-Conference golf team members were juniors Matt Yonkovick and Brody Kuhar, and seniors Luke Kreiter and Connor Williams.

KHS clears regional net, subdued at sectionals

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Three Kaneland volleyball captains receive the Regional Plaque at Hampshire on Oct. 25: Jenny Lubic (left to right), Ashley Prost and Lauren Banbury.
Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights dethrone Sycamore, defeated by R-B on Tuesday
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Volleyball came to its end for Kaneland High School on Tuesday night in Woodstock, Ill., but not before the postseason run had its share of highlights.

While KHS was ousted in the Marian Central Catholic Sectional by fellow Class 2A unit Richmond-Burton, the Kaneland program achieved a monumental Hampshire Regional championship win last Thursday against Sycamore.

The Knights had their work cut out for them on Thursday, battling not just Sycamore, but the ghosts of regionals past.

What occurred was an exorcizing and subsequwnt nabbing of the school’s first regional championship since 1991.

“I think we put everything we had out there and outhustled them as much as we could,” sophomore Ellie Dunn (four kills) said. “We ran for balls that I didn’t even think we could get sometimes.”

Midway through the first set saw the Lady Knights work out to a 15-9 lead, but the Debbie Klock-coached Lady Spartans closed within 15-12. Side outs were exchanged until a Lauren Banbury kill made it 18-14.

After Sycamore closed within 18-17, Side outs and errors played into the match with kill attempts often finding their way out of bounds. The Lady Spartans closed within 21-19, but kills by Lyndi Scholl (seven kills, six digs) and Banbury increased the lead to four. After a spike attempt went over the line, it was a Banbury kill that served as game point with the final six-point margin.

A tight second game saw a lead as big as six for KHS. A Keri Groen kill set the score at 19-17, with a Scholl kill increasing the lead to three.

The Lady Spartan lineup rallied to tie with an ace at 20-20, but a set into the net gave the Lady Knights the lead for good at 21-20. It was an exchange of Side outs that led to game point, with a bump that trailed off, serving as game point for the final two-point margin.

“They are a really good team, so I was expecting just craziness to come,” Banbury said. “I was giving everything I had on the court, and I think the team was, too.”

KHS coach Todd Weimer’s first regional title in his eighth season at the helm came as part of team play that was par for the course.

“I think it’s been a pretty terrific season. We’ve had some really good matches. I don’t know if this was our best match or not, and there’s always room for improvement. But this is the best effort I’ve seen from these girls,” Weimer said.

In Tuesday’s other sectional semi, Marian Central Catholic defeated Grayslake Central, 25-17, 25-9.

The Lady Knight program says goodbye to seniors Tucek, Rachael Clinton, Scholl, Groen, Banbury and Ashley Prost.

Volleyball passes 1st playoff test

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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.

Volleyball navigates homestretch

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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.

Back in the hunt

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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.

Lady Knights drop tight match to Geneva, beat Ottawa

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by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights volleyball could have rolled through this week with two victories as they enter the final third of the 2012 regular season.

It’ll have to be happy with one.

On Sept. 26, the Lady Knights (13-7, 2-3 Northern Illinois Big XII) went to old standby rival Geneva, where they lost a tough 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 matchup to the Upstate Eight school.

Kaneland beat Geneva for the first time since 1993 last year, but couldn’t make magic happen again in 2012.

KHS came back with a sound two-game win against the Northern Illinois Big XII West division foe Ottawa on Thursday, by a final of 25-11, 27-25.

Against the Lady Vikings, it was sophomore Ellie Dunn leading the way with 12 kills, three blocks and five digs, while Shayna Tucek had 22 digs and two aces to her credit.

Lyndi Scholl had 20 digs, and fellow Lady Knight Ashley Prost added 29 assists with nine digs.

Facing off against the Lady Pirates, Prost had 22 more assists, and Tucek had 11 digs.

“I’m always happy when we can bounce back after a tough loss. We’ve had some real close ones, and we’re improving by the day as a team. Still working on the small things that can make a big difference,” KHS head coach Todd Weimer said.

Kaneland swept Ottawa on all levels of action.

Kaneland has more NIB-12 on the horizon, with a matchup against the visiting Lady Redskins of Morris on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Lady Knights stump Hub rivals

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Casey Jacobson (8) makes a dig with support from Shayna Tucek (5) on Tuesday. Yorkville traveled to Kaneland to take on the varsity girls. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—That’s how you get back on an even keel.

The Lady Knight volleyball outfit needed a way to solidify its Northern Illinois Big XII standing at the early outset of the conference slate.

After last week’s loss to DeKalb, the Lady Knights figured the best way to even up their NIB-12 record was a convincing two-game win in Ogle County, 25-15, 25-19, over Rochelle.

Kaneland’s overall record is 12-6 following Tuesday’s loss to Yorkville.

Ellie Dunn had 13 kills, plus two aces by the net for the Lady Knights, and Lyndi Scholl had nine kills and 10 digs in the winning effort. Ashley Prost had 32 assists and eight digs.

Shayna Tucek had 22 digs.

KHS maintained a lead from wire-to-wire, with the exception of a 14-14 tie in game two.

Consistent front-line play and execution allowed Kaneland to enjoy a lead as wide as 17-9 in game one before Rochelle cut it to 18-15.

The Lady Knights went on a seven-point game-ending tear, thanks to sloppy play by Rochelle and a couple of digs by Scholl.

Scholl’s kill gave Kaneland a 10-point edge and a game one win.

In game two, Kaneland enjoyed a 9-1 lead early before Rochelle closed within 10-9.

After Rochelle’s serving ace, Dunn and Scholl took charge and aggressively pursued the ball to success with tips and kills. Their flurry made it 23-16. With the score 24-19, Dunn hit the ball for a point, and Scholl killed it on the next exchange to cinch victory.

“I think it helped that we had a variety of everyone up there,” Scholl said. “Ashley and Ellie really stepped it up, and everything played out where it needed to be.”

Tucek saved many a ball that made it past the front line, and helped dig the Lady Knights to victory.

“I think it was really important that we stepped it up on defense, and serve-receive was important, too,” Tucek said.

KHS coach Todd Weimer was happy with the conference win and the level of play.

“I think we were trying to find the matchups and reading blocks. We’re going to continue to work on that, and it helps us in the long run,” Weimer said. “We really did a nice job the whole match tonight, and it was nice to see that.”

Yorkville visited Kaneland and defeated the Lady Knights in a back-and-forth three-game match. Kaneland’s 22-25, 25-22, 17-25 loss put the Lady Knights below .500 in conference play, as their NIB-12 record fell to 2-3.

Dunn led the way with 10 kills, one ace and five blocks. Scholl added eight kills and five digs. Emily Loudant contributed six kills, six digs and one ace, and Prost spread out 25 assists to go along with her six digs.

The sophomore squad easily handled game one in their match with Yorkville, 25-7, and then battled through a tough game two to win 26-24. Both the Freshman A and Freshman B teams also added wins over their Lady Foxes opponents.

KHS attempts to handle the visiting Ottawa Lady Pirates on Thursday, Sept. 27, in NIB-12 crossover action.

Lady Barbs victimize Kaneland volleyball

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Photo: Kaneland volleyball captain Lauren Banberry (below) goes up against swarming DeKalb jumpers during the home varsity match on Thursday. Kaneland’s Lyndi Scholl (right) picks up a dig during the same match against DeKalb at Kaneland High School. Photos by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Over the past several years, Kaneland volleyball has made numerous strides.

But even a program that has amassed back-to-back 19-win seasons will still have its problems with fellow established clubs.

That was the case on Thursday with the Lady Knights ending up on the wrong side of a three-game loss.

DeKalb got the better of Kaneland in a 25-20, 26-28, 25-23 decision, which, when combined with Kaneland’s Tuesday win over Sycamore, brought the KHS tally for 2012 to 11-5, and 1-2 in the Northern Illinois Big XII race.

“We couldn’t close out both matches,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said of the DeKalb match. “We were up and lost in the end against DeKalb. (We) started out slow and lost in the end.”

There is still time to make headway in what Weimer thinks will be a tight NIB-12 group.

“DeKalb is generally pretty good. Sycamore, Morris and Yorkville are also doing very well. It’s a balanced conference this year,” Weimer said.

The Lady Knight effort was supplanted by Ellie Dunn with 10 kills and four blocks. Teammate Jenny Lubic supplied 18 assists on the evening, while Shayna Tucek had nine digs in the loss. KHS veteran Ashley Prost supplied eight kills of her own.

In other KHS-DeKalb volleyball action, the Lady Knight sophomores took home a 25-16, 25-15 win. The freshman “A” team completed a 25-19, 25-19 victory, while their “B” counterparts managed a 25-17, 25-20 win.

The Lady Knights defeated Sycamore in straight games, winning 25-12, 25-21.

The varsity crew faces the visiting Yorkville Lady Foxes on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Movin’ right along

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Kaneland serves up sweep to Streator
KANELAND—Kaneland High School volleyball can’t play Streator every week, so it was best to make the most of its battle with the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday.

Make the best of it they did, with a sweep of the Northern Illinois Big XII West Division rival, 25-9, 27-25.

The sweep in Streator, in addition to a second-place showing at the usual Bartlett Tournament stop this past Saturday and a win at Morris on Tuesday, sets the Lady Knights’ early-season mark at a proficient 10-4.

Contributions were plenty for Kaneland last Thursday, notable by Ellie Dunn with nine kills, Lyndi Scholl with seven kills and Lauren Banbury with two kills and two blocks.

Teammates Jenny Lubic had 20 assists and two aces, while Ashley Prost and Shayna Tucek combined for 15 digs.

Adding to the sweep-fest were the sophomores that won 25-10, 25-5, the freshman “A” team that won 25-15, 25-12, and the “B” squad in a 25-12, 25-14 win.

In Bartlett, the Lady Knights took four wins on the afternoon, with the only loss coming to the only team better than them on that day: West Chicago.

KHS handed the Fenton Lady Bison a three-game loss by a final of 25-14, 23-25, 15-8, and the hosts a 25-20, 25-9 setback.

The next batch of wins occurred against Dundee-Crown High School in a 25-12, 25-4 turn of events, before the Lady Knights took care of Rockford Lutheran, 25-18, 25-21.

The invite championship went the Wildcats’ way at the end of the line, with the Lady Knights dropping a 25-18, 25-17 matchup.

Noteworthy performances tournament-wide were had in the form of Dunn’s 26 kills and 15 digs, Scholl’s 28 kills and 25 digs, and Prost’s 16 kills and eight aces.

Tuesday saw Kaneland’s return to the win column as they battled through a straight-game victory at Morris 26-24, 25-22.

Lubic led the way with 13 assists and four digs. Shayna Tucek contributed 18 digs. Dunn had seven kills and four blocks, Lyndi Scholl put up five kills and two aces, Lauren Banbury added four kills and two blocks, and Keri Green tallied two kills and four blocks.

The Lady Knights battle the incoming DeKalb Barbs program on Thursday, Sept. 13.

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