Monthly Archives: May 2012

Boys Volleyball: West Aurora’s Season Ends In Thriller Against Downers South

Downers South lines up before its regional semifinal against West Aurora

West Aurora wasn’t going to end its season without a fight.

The Blackhawks fought off three match points in the second game of their regional semifinal match against Downers Grove South, but it wasn’t enough.

On the Blackhawks fourth attempt at extending their season, middle hitter James McGrath’s block attempt landed out off bounds, giving the Mustangs a 29-27 Game 2 victory.

Downers South, the No. 7 seed in the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, won the match 25-22, 29-27 and will face second-seeded Glenbard East Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the West Aurora regional final.

“The boys were resilient. They were going to work on every point, there was no doubt about it,” West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris said. “In the end, Downers South was just a little bit tougher at the net than us tonight. It was a close match, it came down to a couple blocks and they did a better job than we did.”

The 11th-seeded Blackhawks dropped a back-and-forth first game that featured 14 ties and four lead changes. After his team fell behind 22-20, Downers South coach Kurt Steuer called a timeout to regroup. The Mustangs responded by winning the next five points and the game.

The Blackhawks made four errors in the final five points of the first game, and they carried over that sluggish play into the second game. The Blackhawks fell behind 9-5, but they were able to recover and stage a comeback. After getting within one point seven different times, the Blackhawks finally tied the game at 21-21. Nine points later, West Aurora took its first and only lead of the game, 26-25, on a kill by outside hitter Eric Roggeman.

However, Downers South (25-10) sophomore Mike Schmitt stole the show from that point forward. The outside hitter had three kills during the final five points of the match as the Mustangs clinched a regional semifinal victory.

“He’s stepped in and done some nice things on the outside for us,” Steuer said. “He’s proven himself to these guys, as young as he is. He’s done some big things, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen from him.”

Roggeman and outside hitter David Vasquez each had eight kills to lead the Blackhawks. McGrath added five kills and two blocks.

West Aurora finishes its season with 23 wins and 13 losses. The Blackhawks won two tournaments and set a school record for regular season wins with 22.

“I’m proud of the guys, they had a good run. Good season. We accomplished a lot of things,” Koskinaris said. “Tonight, it was two points, they were just a little bit better than us. I believe they felt they could have won this match.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Glenbard East Blows Past Oswego, Into Regional Final

The two teams meet at midcourt before Tuesday’s regional semifinal.

Glenbard East was just too much to handle for Oswego on Tuesday night.

The Rams never trailed as they defeated the Panthers 25-13, 25-16 in a semifinal game of the West Aurora regional.

Glenbard East (31-6), the No. 2 seed in the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional, moves on to face seventh-seeded Downers Grove South on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the regional title game.

“We were outmatched,” Oswego coach Amie West said. “They run a really fast offense and we haven’t seen anything like that. Glenbard East is a great school, they run a great program.”

In Game 1, the Rams used a 7-0 run to take a commanding 13-3 lead, and never looked back, winning the game 25-13. Glenbard East outside hitter Joey Farrell helped set the tone early, tallying eight kills in Game 1.

“I thought they came out well. We had good energy, as we should in a regional game. Joe was on top of his game,” Glenbard East coach Marci Maier said.

The second game didn’t go much better for the Panthers. Glenbard East shot out to 5-0 lead, as outside hitter Ben Haimann and middle hitter Tim Shenkin each provided two kills and two blocks. The Rams stretched their lead to 12 as they won Game 2 25-16.

Middle hitter Freddy Miller led the Panthers with seven kills and three blocks in their final game of the season.

“We are a really good team. They had a ton of potential and they had heart,” West said. “They knew it was going to be difficult, but they had heart, they played with pride, and that’s all I can ask from these boys.”

Maier is hoping her Rams can get some revenge in Wednesday night’s regional final.

“Downers Grove South beat us in our home tournament, so we’re hoping the outcome is different this time,” Maier said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Eric Roggeman Leads West Aurora Into Regional Semifinals

West Aurora huddles before its regional quarterfinal match against St. Joseph.

West Aurora outside hitter Eric Roggeman set the tone early as the Blackhawks defeated St. Joseph 25-6, 25-16 Monday night in an opening round game of the West Aurora regional.

Roggeman tallied two kills and an ace in the first five points of the match as West Aurora shot out to an early 4-1 lead. Later in the game, the Blackhawks went on a 13-0 run that gave them a commanding 18-3 lead. St. Joseph made 13 errors as it dropped the first game 25-6.

“He came out ready to play. His hits were very clean. He’s very committed to ending strong his senior year,” West Aurora coach Tolis Koskinaris said of Roggeman. “I know he really badly wants to do this, and it showed today.”

St. Joe’s play improved in the second game, and after a 7-2 Chargers run, the game was tied 14-14. However, the Blackhawks answered back immediately, going on a 11-2 run to clinch a 25-16 victory.

“Today was one of those games where you’ve got to stay consistent. You can’t let your guard down, because these are the teams that sneak up on you and come back when you don’t expect them to,” Roggeman said.

“They gave us a little bit of a scare in the second game, but we know we’re the better team, and we finished it out strong.”

Roggeman led the Blackhawks with nine kills while middle hitter Joe Frommert and outside hitter David Vasquez each added five. Libero Patrick Ronan had 11 digs.

No. 11 seeded West Aurora will take on No. 7 seeded Downers Grove South Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal game. Koskinaris said he expects a tough battle.

“It’s going to be a very good game tomorrow night. I expect nothing less. It’s going to be close, and it’s going to be good,” Koskinaris said.

Roggeman said the Blackhawks are up to the task thanks to their tough DuPage Valley Conference schedule.

“I’ve never seen them play, but I’ve heard they’re pretty good,” Roggeman said. “But we’ve played some pretty darn good teams, so I’m ready for the challenge.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Volleyball: Oswego Knocks Off East, Advances To Regional Semifinals

Oswego East lines up for the National Anthem on Monday.

Winning a playoff game is always exciting, but it’s even sweeter when you get to knock out your biggest rival.

That’s exactly what Oswego did on Monday night, defeating crosstown foe Oswego East 25-14, 25-20 in an opening round game of the West Aurora regional. It was the Panthers’ third victory against the Wolves this season.

“The crosstown rivalry definitely added a lot more to this game,” Oswego outside hitter Trevor Hamman said. “We play them every year and for the seniors, it was the last time they’ll ever play them. We wanted it more because it that.”

Oswego shot out to an early 11-3 in the first game and never looked back. Middle hitter Freddy Miller had five kills and a block and outside hitter Quentin Kovac had four kills and a block as the Panthers took the first game 25-14.

In the second game, the Wolves capitalized on seven early errors by the Panthers to take an 9-5 lead. However, the Panthers captured the lead with a 6-0 run that featured two kills and a block from middle hitter Brandon Garcia, and never relinquished the lead.

Oswego coach Amie West said that Hamman – who had four kills in the second game – was the key to the Panthers’ 25-20 victory in game two.

“Trevor did a fantastic job in the second game. He really stepped it up, and got some really good kills,” West said. “Our passing struggled a little so we couldn’t go to our middles as much as we’d like, so we turned to him.”

Miller led the Panthers with eight kills, while Kovac had seven and middle hitter Kevin Oppe had five. Garcia had three kills and two blocks.

Setter Blake Izzo had four kills to lead the Wolves, while middle hitter Ryan Passini added three kills and a block.

The No. 15 seeded Panthers will face No. 2 seed Glenbard East on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal.

“We have not seen them at all this year. I know that they’re ranked No. 2, so they’re a very good team. You beat good teams by having a lot of heart,” West said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Tennis: Marmion Qualifies 4, Claims West Aurora Sectional Title

Through The Fence: Batavia’s Josh Cogan returns a serve on Saturday.

Marmion continued its historic season on Saturday when two singles players and one doubles team qualified for state as the Cadets finished in first place at the West Aurora boys tennis sectional.

Senior Will Graft and sophomore John Graft took second and third place respectively in singles, while the doubles team of senior Chris Pattermann and junior Jackson Rettig finished third.

“The boys made history. It’s the first time in a long time, if ever, that we won a sectional title,” Cadets coach John Tsang said.

The Cadets went undefeated in the regular season and were champions of the Suburban Christian Conference.

Marmion topped all teams with 25 points, while Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley tied for second with 18. Batavia (16) came in fourth.

Batavia senior Josh Cogan, who tied for ninth at last year’s state tournament, knocked off Marmion’s Will Graft 6-2, 6-1 in the singles championship.

Cogan, a four-time state qualifier, was able to overpower Graft with his serve.

“The serve felt really, really good. I was hitting it really clean,” said Cogan, who claimed the sectional title for the second straight year. “I got into a rhythm, and I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was just stepping up to the line and hitting it.”

Waubonsie Valley’s senior duo of Deep Chatterjee and Abhi Singh defeated the Naperville Central team of junior Danny Albert and sophomore Wesley Lo 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the doubles championship.

With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, Singh said the third set was mentally and physically challenging.

“It was just mental toughness,” Singh said. “Both teams were really tired, we both won a set, and basically, it was whoever wanted it more.”

Singh qualified for state the previous three years in singles, but Chatterjee will be playing at state for the first time.

The Redhawks’ No. 2 doubles team of Matt Mason and Justin Gillette placed fourth and will be joining Albert and Lo at state. Marmion’s Pattermann and Rettig knocked off Mason and Gillette 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 in the third place doubles match.

West Aurora senior Matt Kuntzi qualified for state after a fourth-place finish. Marmion’s John Graft defeated Kuntzi 6-2, 6-4 in the third place singles match.

West Aurora and Metea Valley tied for fifth place with eight points. IMSA (6), East Aurora (4) and Aurora Central (4) followed.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Girls Soccer: Naperville North Knocks Off Wheaton South For Regional Title

Naperville North warms up before Friday’s regional final in Bolingbrook.

There are no easy games for teams placed in the murderers’ row that is the Naperville North 3A girls soccer sectional.

On Friday, Naperville North claimed the Bolingbrook regional title after it held off a second half rally from Wheaton Warrenville South.

Abby Mangefrida, Zoe Swift and Abbie Boswell each scored for the Huskies in their 3-1 victory.

“You know that you’re going to have a dogfight every game from here on out,” North coach Steve Goletz said. “That’s what makes it fun for us, you know you’re getting a great game every time. They’re going to be exciting games, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Huskies will face Neuqua Valley next Wednesday at home in a sectional semifinal.

North broke through for two goals in a span of two minutes midway through the first half in Friday’s game.

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead 21 minutes into the game when Mangefrida’s shot from 20 yards out deflected off a Tiger defender and past goalie Abbey Fuster.

Two minutes later, a perfect feed from junior midfielder Jill Van Kampen set up a goal by Swift that put the Huskies up 2-0.

“It was perfect, Jill gave me a great ball through, and I just ran to to it,” Swift said. “She did most of the work, I just finished it.”

Wheaton South’s Alexis Jakuszewski cut the Tigers deficit in half 17 minutes after halftime. The freshman defender’s lob floated over the outstretched arms of Huskies goalie Allison Hitchcock and into the back of the net, making the score 2-1.

The Tigers had a couple chances to tie the game, but couldn’t break through. The Huskies started to breath easier with a minute left in the game after Boswell scored off a pass from junior midfielder Cora Climo to put North up 3-1.

North had a bit of a scare late in the second half when Swift went down after a collision with two Tiger defenders. Swift left the game after laying on the field for a couple minutes during an injury timeout.

However, the Huskies’ star forward returned to action seven minutes later, and after the game, Swift said she suffered a nasty scratch to her shin.

“I’m OK, it’ll be fine,” Swift said.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Boys Track: Neuqua Valley Finishes Second At Naperville North Sectional

Athletics compete in the 400 relay at Thursday’s Naperville North sectional. 

Minooka (80) edged Neuqua Valley (78) by just two points to take first place at Thursday’s 3A boys track sectional at Naperville North, but it was still a successful night for the Wildcats who had six individuals and three relay teams qualify for next week’s state meet.

Waubonsie Valley (72.60), Plainfield North (46.60) and Joliet West (40) rounded out the top five. Naperville North and Naperville Central tied for seventh place with 31 points each. West Aurora (28) finished in eight place, Oswego East (19.60) was in 11th, Oswego (18) finished 13th and East Aurora (4) came in 16th to round out area teams.

Neuqua distance runner Mark Derrick qualified for state in two events, taking first place in both the 1,600 (4:18.30) and 3,200 (9:12.37). In the 1,600, Derrick pulled ahead of Yorkville’s Chris Kellogg on the final lap to take his second title of the night.

“I was a little worried for a second, then I saw that he wasn’t really putting me away, so I got myself back into the race,” Derrick said.

Taylor Soltys will join Derrick at state in the 3,200 after finishing in second place. Jacob Bender qualified in both the 400 and 400 relay. However, the senior pulled in his hamstring during the 400 and was unable to participate in the 1,600 relay.

Neuqua received second place finishes Andrew Peterson in the pole vault and Carlos Varela-Hernandez in the discus. The Wildcats’ 3,200 and 800 relay teams also qualified for state.

Nobody was going to out-throw Waubonsie Valley’s duo of Riley Kittridge and Jamaal Bearden on Thursday.

Kittridge took home sectionals titles in both the shot put (55-3.5) and discus (164.5), while Bearden also qualified in both events, finishing second in the shot put (54-1) and third in the discus (157-3).

“I wanted to win both events, and I accomplished that,” said Kittridge, who qualified for state last year in the shot put. “Last year I struggled in disc, but this year it’s really picked up for me.”

Waubonsie had two other individuals place first – Kyle Schafer in the 300 hurdles (38.20) and James Travis in the triple jump (44-1). The Warriors’ 400 and 1600 relay teams also qualified for state.

Naperville North was paced by sprinter James Kerns who qualified in both the 100 (10.97) and 200 (22.24). The senior finished second in the 100, and third in the 200 with a time exactly at the state qualifying standard.

Kerns will be joined in Charleston by long jumper Kareem Midani and pole vaulter Nick Lyon. Midani set a personal record in the long jump with a leap of 22-7.5.

“I honestly had no idea that I’d do this,” said Midani. “It was one heck of an accomplishment. I just went out there and did it. I was so psyched.”

Naperville Central will be well represented in the field at Charleston next weekend. Pole vaulters Mike Juretschke and Kevin Rzepczinski and shot putter David Goodalis all qualified for state.

The Redhawks also had three relays qualify for state – the 800 team of Brandon Lau, Tyler Haines, Kevin Kulling and Sam Bransby, the 1,600 team of Haines, Bransby, Kulling and Brad Kouchoukos and the 3,200 team of Kouchoukos, Forrest Thayer, Ethan Brodeur and Christian Schafer.

Hanies, a senior, got a week added to his high school career by qualifying for state in two relays.

“It’s not over for us,” Haines said. “It feels good knowing that I can continue seeing my friends even though tomorrow is the last day of school. We still get to hang out during practice.”

West Aurora will be represented at state by triple jumper Aaron Kennebrew and its 3,200 relay team of Calvin Robinson, Zach Truckenbrod, Vontrel Hawkins and Brandon McKay.

Kennebrew overcame an injured heel to finish second in the triple jump with a leap of 43-6.

“I had a lot of support from my coaches and my family. They just told me mind over matter,” Kennebrew said. “I just went out there and jumped. The adrenaline kept me going and it didn’t hurt anymore.”

Oswego East had two individuals qualify for state– Kalmon Strokes in the 300 hurdles and Chase Skenandore in the 800. The Wolves’ 3, 200 relay team of Dakoda Skenandore, Andrew Holm, Rene Salinas and Chase Skenandore also qualified.

For Stokes, a senior, qualifying for state meant a four-year dream realized.

“It feels amazing. It’s what I’ve been trying to get my whole four years of high school,” Stokes said. “To finally accomplish that, it makes me happy.”

Long jumper Alain Dixon was the lone qualifier for Oswego. The senior placed third (22-7), but he out-jumped the state qualifying mark 0f 22-3 by four inches.

East Aurora sprinter Desmond Gant was .14 seconds away from qualifying for state in the 200. The Tomcats’ sophomore placed fourth (22.38).

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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