JCA Athletics announce highlights of Spring season

Two doubles tennis teams, girls track relay team make state

Kevin Duchene, who has committed to the University of Illinois, was named Player of the Year by the East Suburban Catholic Conference.

JOLIET – A state-qualifying relay team in girls track. A pair of doubles teams in boys tennis advancing to state, including one for a school-record fourth time.  And regional titles in baseball  and soccer.

Those are a few of the highlights of the spring Athletics season for Joliet Catholic Academy.

JCA baseball: The Hilltoppers headed into the end of the regular season on a strong note, wrapping up another East Suburban Catholic Conference championship and touting a 26-6-1 record as the Chicago Sun-Times’ No. 2-ranked team … Through May 21, junior shortstop Chris Tschida was leading the Hillmen in 14 offensive categories, including hits (44), runs (31), doubles (9), triples (4), home runs (3), walks (28) and batting average (.489). He also had 23 RBIs. Nate Searing was hitting .343 with a team-best 30 RBIs … Kevin Duchene was a perfect 7-0 with 87 strikeouts and a slim 0.15 ERA in 46 innings. JCA was featuring an amazing team ERA of 1.25 … Ryan Peter, Tschida, Searing, Duchene and Adam Collins were named all-conference. Duchene was named the ESCC MVP, Tschida was the Offensive MVP and Jared Voss was selected as Coach of the Year. JCA won the conference championship on all three levels … Zach Melone went 3-for-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs as the Hillmen won their 21st regional (22nd including districts) with a 12-0 victory over Bremen. JCA lost to Lincoln-Way West in the sectional semifinals.

JCA softball: Going into the regional competition as the fourth seed, the Angels had a 17-19 record … Through 33 games, senior catcher Haley Gerl was leading JCA with a .444 batting average, 18 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs and 28 RBIs … Gerl was named all-conference by the ESCC … Offensively, junior outfielder Maddy Troha (.348) and junior first baseman Claire O’Connor (.315, 26 RBIs) were other Angel contributors … JCA closed the regular season with a 3-0 victory over highly touted Plainfield Central. Winning pitcher Mallory Goulding struck out a pair and scattered 6 hits in 7 innings. She also had 2 hits and 2 RBIs … Josie Henderson and Gerl had 2 hits and an RBI and Ashley Beck added 2 hits as the Angels opened the Class 3A regional quarterfinals with a 4-2 win over Morris. JCA lost in the semifinals.

JCA boys tennis: Sophomore Dominic Bertino earned the fifth seed in the sectional for the Hilltoppers, while the double team of seniors Ian Barr and Austin Naal received the third seed and the doubles team of junior Zach Siegfried and Nate Naal picked up the fourth seed … Barr-Naal defeated Siegfried-Naal in the third-place match in the sectional to advance to the state finals … For Barr and Austin Naal, it was their fourth consecutive trip to the state finals, while Siegfried and Nate Naal were repeat qualifiers for coach Scott Allgood.

JCA girls soccer: The Angels advanced to the sectional by defeating Yorkville 3-2 in overtime to win the championship of the Class 2A Morris Regional … The regional title was JCA’s fourth for girls soccer, all consecutive. Rachel Zampa scored twice, including the winner in overtime. Maddie Kennedy assisted … Stefanie D’Andrea was named to the East Suburban Catholic All-Conference team.

JCA track: Rachelle Sartori, Erin Kennedy, Moira McSteen and Francesca Sikorski qualified in the 4×800 relay for the Class 2A girls state meet, held in Charleston on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. They entered state with the 20th best time. In the prelims, with 12 teams advancing, Sartori, Kennedy, McSteen and Sikorski ran a 9:53.06, barely missing in 13th behind Illiana Christian’s 9:51.19 … Sikorski placed second in the 1,500-meter run with a 5:22.68 at the USATF Youth Indoor National Championship … Josh Falk finished first in the Lockport Invitational with a 23.54 in the 200 and second in the 400 with a 52.44.

JCA boys volleyball: Nolan Hucek had 35 assists, Mike O’Neill contributed 9 kills and 16 digs and Louis Dow had 7 kills and 16 digs as the Hilltoppers opened the regional with a 25-18, 23-25, 25-17 win over host Lockport. JCA had lost twice to the Porters during the regular season.

Spring Signing Ceremony/Commitments: Softball pitcher/slugger Mallory Goulding, baseball pitcher Chris Blatti and volleyball standout Hailey Pennington signed National Letters of Intent during the April period. Goulding, a four-year varsity regular, and Blatti both will play in the NAIA with Benedictine College of Kansas and the University of St. Francis, respectively. Pennington committed to East Tennessee State University … Concluding a stellar recruiting season for the Hilltoppers’ nationally renowned football program, Austin Bolton (Millikin), Nick Rodriguez (Millikin) and Carson Smith (Loras) announced their college commitments during May … Softball player Alex Wyss has committed to UIC.

Where Are They Now, Spring: Saint Xavier senior pitcher Amie Brown (’08) tossed the first perfect game for the Cougars since 2007 in a 2-0 victory over Adrian College of Mich. Brown struck out 12 in seven innings. Brown also was named all-conference in the CCAC … John Ruettiger (’08), who played collegiately at Arizona State, was promoted from the Baltimore Orioles’ Class A team to A-Advanced and went 6-for-6 in one game, including a double. He had been hitting .305 with 10 stolen bases.

— Bill Scheibe, Director of Communications

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