Hinsdale Central players prep for tourneys
Updated: June 8, 2011 7:14PM
Katie Grabowski will be making her second trip to Florida in as many years, but she can’t wait for this one.
“I’m so excited. I love Florida for Nationals. It’s so much fun,” Grabowski said. “It’s nice to play different teams from different states. You even see teams like Rolling Thunder [of Lake Zurich] sometimes.”
Grabowski, Hinsdale Central’s senior-to-be outside hitter, will travel to the AAU Junior Olympics in Orlando with the Western Springs-based Lions Jrs. 17-1 club team. One of her teammates is Oak Park-River Forest middle Audrey Greffin.
The team will compete in the 17 Club division at the Pre-Nationals tournament Saturday and Sunday at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora.
Grabowski went to the USA Junior Nationals two years ago in Dallas when she was a member of the Sunsetters volleyball club.
At 5-foot-7, Grabowski is listed as a defensive specialist on her club roster, but has earned playing time at her normal outside hitter position.
“I’ve been working on my defense, reading hitters a lot,” said Grabowski, a Clarendon Hills resident. “I’ve done more work on my serve [a jump-top spin], to help the team a lot more to get it on the court. Serving is the No. 1 thing you can control.”
With players in at least three different clubs, Hinsdale Central coach Sheralynn Kellough will need a scorecard to keep track of her athletes in the next few weeks with the Pre-Nationals, AAU Junior Olympics and USA Junior Nationals all being held to end the club season. The AAUs start June 14 and the USA Junior Nationals begin June 25 in Atlanta.
Many of Kellough’s players will be at the Pre-Nationals. Highly recruited setter Meg McDowell, a 6-3 sophomore, is playing with Sports Performance 16 Elite and Lucy Crofton will appear in the same division with Sports Performance 16 Soph.
Michigan-bound middle Aly Davis is playing at a higher age division with the Sports Performance 18 Elite, which is currently in the Dominican Republic training for AAUs.
Sanne Hillbrich will play in Pre-Nationals with Sports Performance 17 Runbird.
Kellough is helping McDowell with the recruiting process. McDowell had already received several scholarship offers. McDowell is playing on the same club team as West Aurora’s Laura Carlini, who has committed to Wisconsin. Both setters are ranked among the Chicago area’s best in the Class of 2013.
After the club season, Kellough will start her high school camps in early July and the Devils will compete in the Sports Performance summer league starting July 5.
“It’s a nice time to get players on the court and get the complete team aspect in camp,” Kellough said. “It’s also a preview of the other teams we play.”
Three recent Hinsdale Central graduates will play in the Pre-Nationals: Jamie Netshinga, Natalia Skiba and Katarina Milojevic. Netshinga and Skiba are with Sports Performance and Milojevic plays with 1st Alliance.