Fred Kroner's prep volleyball insider

Fred Kroner's prep volleyball insider

UI RECRUIT EXCELS

Morganne Criswell, a 6-foot-1 junior at Decatur Lutheran who gave an oral commitment to the University of Illinois a year ago, is playing well for coach Mike Anderson's 17-7 team. "She is an unbelievable talent," Anderson said. "She is averaging 15 kills per match and typically four or five blocks as well." Criswell and teammates will play Urbana University High on Tuesday at Kenney Gym. The varsity match will follow a 6 p.m. junior varsity match. "She is a great person that I would categorize as a quiet leader," Anderson said. "She is playing at an extremely high level."

MILESTONE LOOMING

Top-seeded Bismarck-Henning could do more than earn a sixth successive Vermilion County championship Monday at Westville. If the Blue Devils prevail, it also will mark the 300th career volleyball victory for coach Susan Kentner, who is in her 18th year. "Time does fly," Kentner said. The eight-team VVC tourney starts Saturday with quarterfinal and semifinal matches. According to the IHSA, 74 coaches have reached the 300-win mark in volleyball in state history.

UNBALANCED 2A REGIONALS

Looking for the toughest Class 2A regional among the ones involving area schools? Look no further than St. Thomas More. Featuring three schools that already have exceeded the 20-win mark, the top four seeds at STM have accumulated 82 wins after Thursday's matches. By contrast, the top four seeds at Bismarck-Henning's regional show 45 combined victories after Thursday. Area teams also were assigned to Maroa-Forsyth, where the combined win totals for the top four seeds comes to 55. The field at St. Thomas More includes the host Sabers (25-4), No. 2 St. Joseph-Ogden (20-6) and No. 3 Unity (23-8).

WHERE'S THE LOGIC?

We understand there are too many area schools in Class 3A to have them assigned to the same regional site, but the IHSA's distribution of schools makes no sense. Centennial and Urbana are heading to Mount Zion to start their postseason play. Meanwhile Danville, Champaign Central and Mahomet-Seymour will complete the four-school field at Rantoul. How does Central – located between Urbana and Centennial – get sent north while Urbana makes the 59-mile commute to Mount Zion instead of a 14.5-mile trip to Rantoul? In fact, it would be 10 miles shorter for M-S to go to the Mount Zion Regional than for Urbana to travel to the same site.

CLASS 1A OUTLOOK

Records weren't the only criteria considered when seeds were made at the six Class 1A sites where area schools have been assigned. At three of the locations, the school with the most victories is not top-seeded. At Milford, No. 3 seed Ridgeview has the most wins (19), but Lexington (14 wins) was the No. 1 seed. At LeRoy, No. 2 seed Tri-Valley has the most wins (19), but Heyworth (16 wins) was the No. 1 seed. Fisher, seeded third, also has 16 wins. At Chrisman, the No. 2 Cardinals have the most wins (19), but the No. 1 seed went to Tri-County (15). No. 3 seed Arthur has 14 wins.

COACHING REMINDER

All categories of area leaders are based on sets played, not matches played. News-Gazette statistician Troy Gentle has attempted to correct ones that were not submitted right, but some may have been overlooked. A minimum of two sets are required to complete a match. Some area athletes, who were among the area leaders in previous weeks, have dropped considerably when their statistics are divided by sets played and not matches played. Coaches are urged to make certain their statistical totals are figured properly.

DOING BETTER

Twelve area schools already have surpassed their 2008 win totals with more than a week left prior to the start of postseason play. The greatest improvements have been made by LeRoy and Ridgeview, each of which has five more wins than it did a year ago. Major strides have also been made by Argenta-Oreana and Oakwood each with four more wins than last season. Already three wins past last year's final output are Arthur, Buckley Christ Lutheran and Watseka. Schools with one more victory are Danville, DeLand-Weldon, First Baptist, Hoopeston Area and Urbana. Area schools that have matched their 2008 victory output are Monticello, Paxton-Buckley-Loda and St. Joseph-Ogden.

SHORT SHOTS

Paxton-Buckley-Loda's junior varsity team has a 20-3 season record. ... Westville has two players who already have exceeded 100 blocks this season, Abby Barth and Kayla Bryant. ... Since The News-Gazette began charting area leaders in digs (2001), the best single-season mark was 559 digs by Arthur's Erica Miller in 2003. Mahomet-Seymour sophomore Abbie Magrini, this year's area leader, has 528 digs with a minimum of three matches to play.

DON'T MISS

Central at Urbana, Tuesday. The Volley for the Cure promotion is one reason to attend and another is that these are among the area's most improved schools this season. It should be a competitive match, and it's definitely for a deserving cause.

NEWS-GAZETTE VOLLEYBALL TOP 10

TEAM RECORD

1. Centennial (1) 23-5

NEXT: Today at Lincoln-Way tournament

2. St. Thomas More (2) 25-4

NEXT: Wednesday at Sangamon Valley tournament

3. Watseka (3) 24-4

NEXT: Wednesday at Sangamon Valley tournament

4. Bismarck-Henning (4) 17-2

NEXT: Saturday in Vermilion County tournament

5. St. Joseph-Ogden (6) 20-6

NEXT: Wednesday at Sangamon Valley tournament

6. Unity (7) 23-8

NEXT: Tuesday at Monticello

7. Schlarman (5) 19-3

NEXT: Saturday at Beecher Invitational

8. Chrisman (9) 19-4

NEXT: Tuesday at Georgetown-Ridge Farm

9. Champaign Central (10) 16-11

NEXT: Tuesday at Urbana

10. Fisher (–) 16-9

NEXT: Tuesday at McLean County tournament

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Volleyball, Sports

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