Hinsdale South’s Nava, Brezwyn ready for tourneys
For Hinsdale South’s Melissa Nava, leaving her old club volleyball team for 1st Alliance has turned into a no-brainer.
Instead of making a return trip to the AAU Junior Olympics in Orlando, Fla., Nava is heading to the more prestigious USA Junior Nationals June 25 in Atlanta.
She’s going with her new club, Western Springs-based 1st Alliance, which she joined after spending last season with the Westmont-based New Wave.
Nava’s 1st Alliance 17 Silver will compete in the Pre-Nationals tournament Saturday and Sunday at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora. It will be the team’s final tournament before leaving for Atlanta.
“I really like it,” Nava said of 1st Alliance. “I was pretty nervous at first. It’s different along the line of being compared to New Wave. They accepted me really well. I love it. I really do.”
Nava is the only Hinsdale South player on the 1st Alliance 17 Silver, but high school teammates Jessica Brezwyn, a sophomore outside hitter, will play in Pre-Nationals with host Sports Performance 16 Elite of Aurora. Brezwyn is one of the offensive targets for two of the Chicago area’s top setters in the Class of 2013: West Aurora’s Lauren Carlini, who committed to Wisconsin, and uncommitted Meg McDowell of Hinsdale Central. Carlini is 6-1 and McDowell is 6-3.
Brezwyn left 1st Alliance-Lions Jrs. in Western Springs to join Sports Performance for the first time. Brezwyn wanted to follow her high school coach, Lisa Martinez, who was coaching at Sports Performance, but has since quit coaching at the club.
“When I think of how good a coach she is, I know there are other coaches [at Sports Performance] that are just as good,” Brezwyn said.
Another Hornets player scheduled to appear in the Pre-Nationals is sophomore setter Sharon Anderson with 1st Alliance 16 Silver. Recent Hinsdale South grad Megan Howard, who signed with Division II Barry in Florida, will play in the Pre-National with 1st Alliance 18 Black.
Nava’s 1st Alliance team qualified for USA Junior Nationals with a top three finish at the Minneapolis qualifier in April. On Sunday, members of the team went out together for ice cream after practice.
“I’ve become really great friends with the girls,” Nava said.
Because of an injury to Marist middle Lauren Zielinski (torn labrum), Nava has switched the past month from right-side hitter during club season to her normal high school position of middle hitter. Zielinski, a South Carolina recruit, is expected to miss the rest of the club season.
“I’m ready to be where they need me,” Nava said. “I’ve worked hard in practice and have tried new things.”
Nava verbally committed to Illinois-Chicago for 2012 and would become the fourth 1st Alliance player that year to compete for coach and former Mother McAuley star Katie Schumacher-Cawley. Nava would join former club members, such as setter Mary Kate Imrie (Sandburg), outside hitter Kelsey Safranek (Downers South) and outside hitter Aubrey Sniegowski (Lemont) on the Flames roster.