Fall Girls Volleyball Preview 2022

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We move from the field to the courts. The Metea Valley Mustangs begin their state championship defense in 2022. Can they make it back to the top? Will other local schools like Benet Academy and Naperville North be able to take the throne? I will be your tour guide through the girls volleyball preview.

Metea Valley

The Metea Valley Mustangs had an unforgettable season in 2021. I’m sure many of you know by now that they won the 4A state championship against Mother McAuley girls volleyball, which was the first IHSA state title in the history of Metea team sports. They also compiled a 40-2 record while going undefeated at 10-0 in the DVC. They also took home their first ever regional title and sectional titles. I’d say that will be a tough act to follow in 2022, especially having lost many of the players that helped the Mustangs achieve all that success like graduates Regan Holmer and Morgan Rank as well as Annabelle Troy who moved to Colorado. However, they will be getting back All-American Outside Hitter Kira Hutson who played a major role in Metea’s impressive season and looks to have an even bigger one this year.

Dave MacDonald: “I think it’s going to be just leading this team. I talked to her after last year after all the celebration and the fun stuff was over. And I told her and I said, ‘This is your team now.’ I said it’s time for her to step up and she’s the first one to admit that she’s kind of an introvert-type of person. She’s taken that role on and has done a fantastic job.”

Brenda Reynaga and Camille Morrison are the other experienced returners for the Mustangs this fall. Despite the new-look team, Coach MacDonald and his group still expect to make yet another run for the state trophy.

Benet Academy

As we’ve seen many times before, the Benet Academy Redwings were among the elite in the state of Illinois last season. They went 32-6 and had a 6-1 record in the ESCC. They once again showed why their program is such a powerhouse winning a conference championship along with their 14th-straight regional championship. They graduated four talented seniors in Rese Bastuga, Ann Marie Remmes, Sam Buckley, and Caelin Abramic. However, Coach Brad Baker returns 13 members from last year’s team with the likes of Annie Eschenbach, Caroline Carens, Kirsten Krammer, and Ava Novak leading the way. The 2021 team was a youthful bunch, but with more experience coming into this year, the Redwings hope to take that next step and possibly bring home state championship number five for the program.

Naperville North

It was another solid 2021 campaign for the Naperville North Huskies. They were 26-10 with a record of 8-2 in the DVC. The team caught fire during the first month of the season going on a nine-game winning streak. They finished second behind Metea girls volleyball in the conference standings and secured a spot in the regional final against Yorkville. However, they came up short in three sets. The Huskies lost a few key players in New Hampshire commit Kara Oxenknecht and four-year starter Ashley Kushner. Although, with eight returning players including Natalie Corcoran, Paige Lauterwasser, Lizz Rossi, and Ashley’s younger sister Sydney, North is well-equipped to make another run for the DVC crown and maybe more in 2022.

Neuqua Valley

Consistency was the achilles heel of the Neuqua Valley Wildcats last season. They did prove to be a tough out in the DVC going 6-4 in the conference. However, their overall record was 18-17 showing just how up and down the season was, and they finished by falling to Oswego East girls volleyball in the regional semifinal. The program will also have a new head coach leading the way following the retirement of Kelly Simon, who racked up over 420 wins for the blue and gold. The Wildcats lost 10 members from last year who were all seniors, which means they come into 2022 with just four returning players. However, two of those players were key contributors a year ago in Bryanna Jones and Anja Kelly who look to continue making strides in their senior years. Neuqua hopes to remain in the mix in the DVC.

Naperville Central

2021 was a trying year for the Naperville Central Redhawks with a record of 13-23 and a 3-7 mark in the DVC. Their season ended in a regional semifinal loss to Plainfield Central. Even in a down year record-wise, there were still several bright spots. Kenzie Brower led the way and was reliable all season long. Sophia Zanca was the youngest player on the team last year as the lone sophomore, but she showed flashes of what her potential could be in the next few seasons. With Brower heading to UCLA to play beach volleyball, along with 10 other seniors leaving the program, it will be a much different squad this fall. Zanca and Nina Davis are the only varsity returnees, but seven seniors are ready to step into the lineup and help the Redhawks fight their way back to the top of the conference standings.

Waubonsie Valley

It’s fair to say that last season was one to forget for the Waubonsie Valley Warriors. After winning a regional title and advancing to the sectional championship in 2019, the green and gold struggled to find the winning formula in 2021, going just 5-31 before being eliminated by Metea Valley in the regional semifinal. More than half their roster has graduated including Ava Orkfritz who’s off to the University of Missouri. Ashlyn Hickey, Catherine Godo, Megan Gomez and Alex Skurka all return with valuable varsity experience. It will be interesting to see how the Warriors build the remainder of the roster as they look for better fortunes this fall.

Check out the other previews here!