Athletics Weekly Roundup Update: Cross Country, Volleyball, and Tennis with big weekends

Volleyball Oswego Invite

The Angels captured the Oswego Invite Championship this past weekend.

Newcomers pace girls volleyball to Oswego Invite Championship

An injury to senior outside hitter Megan Cladis caused a couple of lineup changes lately for the Joliet Catholic Academy girls volleyball team. Kate Mihelich, Brenna Testa and Emily Holbrook were the next up Saturday.

Mihelich and Testa, both juniors, took over at outside hitter and defensive specialist, respectively, as the Angels didn’t miss a beat in going 4-0 and topping the host Panthers for the championship of the Oswego Invitational.

Combining to fill Cladis’ spot, Mihelich contributed 17 kills and a 2.16 serve-receive rating and Testa totaled 24 service points. Holbrook, a freshman, marked her first varsity kill, dig and service point as the Angels (15-8) rolled.

“A big shout-out to Kate for her performance,” JCA coach Christine Scheibe said. “She stepped up, and Brenna and Emily stepped in and played their roles well. Brenna took over in the back row and Emily got a nice, first taste of it.”

Logistics played a part in the lineup tweak for the Angels (15-8), who are now 7-1 in their last eight matches heading into Tuesday’s East Suburban Catholic Conference showdown at home against highly ranked Marist.

Previously, Scheibe started sophomore callup Morgan Leuszler at middle hitter, moved senior Addy Alt to the outside, switched Megan Melone from setter to defense and used sophomore Sarah Nahas as a six-rotation setter.

But with Cladis cleared for practice midweek and available for game duty this weekend — and in an attempt to save Leuszler’s future tournament availability — Scheibe rewarded Mihelich with the start, with Holbrook as her backup.

“Kate really had a great week of practice, and we’ve also wanted to give Emily a little bit of a shot at varsity game experience,” Scheibe said. “I needed Brenna to go serve, and then she just owned that position, so I left her in.”

With those three coming in, JCA turned it on. The Angels defeated three-time defending Class 1A state champion Keith Country Day 25-17, 25-21 and defending 2A state champion Deer Creek-Mackinaw 25-21, 25-15 in pool play.

Junior outside Taylor Zurliene paced the Keith Country Day win with 10 kills. Melone had 12 digs. Senior setter/right-side hitter Jessica Simon totaled 7 kills and Alt had 6. Simon had 8 kills, Zurliene 7 and Mihelich 6 vs. Deer Creek-Mackinaw. Senior libero Meghan Harrison (23), Melone (13) and Zurliene (10) had double-figure digs.

“The teams we played right away were no slouches,” Scheibe said. “Both Keith Country Day and D-Mack have experience downstate, having played at Redbird Arena multiple times the last several years. That was good for us.”

The good stuff continued in the semifinals with a 25-23, 25-21 victory over Addison Trail. Simon led with 7 kills, while Alt and Mihelich each had 5. Harrison ended up with 10 digs, followed by Melone with 7 and Mihelich with 6.

The championship was almost anticlimactic as the Angels dominated Oswego 25-17, 25-14. Simon and Mihelich cranked 7 kills apiece and Alt added 6. Harrison recorded a whopping 23 digs, complemented by Zurliene with 15.

“I was very proud of the way we played as a team with a lot of energy and confidence,” Scheibe said. “We’ve been working very hard on strengthening our communication, which was much better. It all came together for us.”

Notes: It was Mihelich’s second varsity career start. She also started against Benet … Cladis will most likely return to action this week. In her last match, JCA overpowered Nazareth 25-9, 25-11 … Mihelich, Testa and Holbrook were named by the coaching staff as the Three Stars of the Tournament … Scheibe praised the all-around play of Simon, who finished with 29 kills, 35 assists, 22 digs and 4 block kills … Zurliene had 21 kills, 35 digs and 17 points (4 aces), while Alt had 16 kills, 4 block kills and 15 points (5 aces) and senior middle Andriana Acosta chalked up 15 kills and 3 block kills … Harrison continued her stellar defensive season with 73 digs and a 2.34 serve-receive rating. Melone, meanwhile, returned to setting and starred with 54 assists, 34 points (6 aces) and 35 digs … It was JCA’s second tourney title of the season. The Angels also went 4-0 on Sept. 12 in winning the Pontiac Tournament.


Tennis Conference Tourney

Girls Tennis competes at ESCC Conference Tournament

The following are results from Friday and Saturday’s ESCC girls tennis conference tournament at Carmel Catholic:

Nina Bertino – 1st place for singles
McCoy Hutchison & Maddie Bauer – 2nd place for Doubles
Annie Payne & Lauren Siegfried – 4th place for Doubles
Michelle Robert – 5th place for Singles
Cross Country 2Cross Country 1

Cross Country flies high at the Will County Championship

The Angels Cross Country team was flying in the the Will County Championship. In the Frosh/Soph race, Freshman Emma McSteen led the Angels with a second place finish and freshman Grace Bannon placed eighth overall and earned a medal. The team placed fifth overall. In the varsity race, junior Kelly Testin ran to a 19th place overall finish and medaled for the race. Juniors Shannon Quinn, Dani Scudder, and Alyson Egizio all finished under 22 minutes for the race. All of the previously mentioned varsity runners set personal records on the three mile course, as well as junior Megan Meyer and freshman Peyton Buss. All of the race proceeds went to the Joliet chapter of Pink Heals, an organization that focuses its fundraising and awareness to help women with illnesses in the local community.


Joliet Catholic's Jake Pluth tees off Tuesday during the Lemont Class 2A Regional at Broken Arrow Golf Club in Lockport. -Photo courtesy of Lathan Goumas -

Joliet Catholic’s Jake Pluth tees off Tuesday during the Lemont Class 2A Regional at Broken Arrow Golf Club in Lockport. -Photo courtesy of Lathan Goumas –

LOCKPORT – Jake Pluth is understandably pleased with where his game is at after shooting an even-par 72 Tuesday to capture medalist honors in the Class 2A Lemont Regional at Broken Arrow Golf Club.

Pluth posted scores of 36 on each nine and birdied his next-to-last hole to move into the lead as he claimed a one-stroke win over Marian Catholic’s Casey Domke for top honors.

“I hit the ball really well today,” Pluth said. “I hit every fairway and every green, it was just a matter of making putts today, and my putting wasn’t so good. But I was hitting the ball so well that it didn’t really matter. I was down by one going into the second-to-last hole, so I was like, ‘I’ve got to attack,’ and I birdied the eighth and then had a one-stroke lead and parred.

“I’m very confident about my swing, and everything is just right where I need it to be in order to make it far. I believe that I can do really well downstate, but I’ve got to get there first.”

Excerpt taken from Curt Herron’s Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Joliet Herald News Article. Click Here to read the article in its entirety.

Marian Volleyball Game

Girls Volleyball wins in ESCC action at Marian Catholic

Every athlete makes errors. It’s how you come back from mistakes that matters most. Meghan Harrison, Jessica Simon and Taylor Zurliene personified that Tuesday night in JCA’s 25-22, 25-23 ESCC victory over host Marian Catholic.

Harrison bounced back from being aced by getting 3 aces of her own to go with 20 digs and 15 service points.

Zurliene got blocked. She responded with 8 kills, 7 digs and a 2.3 serve-receive rating.

Simon followed a dump into the net by dominating with 8 kills, 11 assists and 3 block kills.

Sarah Nahas also starred with 7 kills, 9 assists and 7 digs, Megan Melone added 14 digs and a 2.2 serve-receive, and Andriana Acosta had 3 block kills for the Angels (11-8, 3-2).

“I felt there were times we played fantastic,” JCA coach Christine Scheibe said. “The goal now is to be more consistent.”

Boys Soccer learning on the fly

By Mark Gregory

There is a reason that high school sports are split into different levels for different age groups.

That is because normally a freshman is not ready to jump right into the varsity game. However, when you have no choice, those freshmen have to learn on the job.

That is the case for the Joliet Catholic Academy soccer team.

“We are very inexperienced right now,” said Hilltoppers’ coach Tom Cranmer. “Most of our bench is freshmen, so it is a big shock coming from either not playing soccer at all or being thrown out into varsity game and not always mentally prepared for it.”

The mental part of the game is what the JCA coaching staff is trying to convey, no matter if the game is a win or a loss.

“It is very hard for a lot of these kids to see that a 6-0 loss to Plainfield North is a game where we played head and shoulders ahead of where we have played before,” Cranmer said. “Some of these teams are just flat out man for man better than us. We have to be able to accept that and play our game and if we play our game, we will be OK. Plainfield North should have beat us 20 or 30 to nothing the way we have played. But we played so well that game that we kept it respectable.

“We are working our way through. The progress is there, it is just hard for them to see it if they aren’t as experienced. But, it is there, it is getting better, we just have to keep on pushing.”

Joliet Catholic is also working on the physical part of the game as well.

“We keep working kids in there and keep working hard in practice and that is the motto we have been trying to push,” Cranmer said. “We have been trying to keep everybody so they are practicing like it’s a game. The game should be the easy part of the week. That is the mindset we are trying to get through to the kids – the harder you work, the more you will get on the field and the better you will be when you are on the field.

“There is no better teacher in the game and this is good experience for everyone, but we are getting there.”

Last week, the Hilltoppers fell 1-0 to Montini, as sophomore Jimmy Folino had 21 saves in net. They also fell 9-0 to Benet, who is the No. 1 seed in the IHSA Class 2A Glenbard South Sectional.

The Hilltoppers are in the Lincoln-Way West Sectional, where the top seed is Bremen. Joliet Catholic is the No. 13 seed in the 18-team sectional complex.

JCA opens play at 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the Lemont Regional. The Hilltoppers will take on the No. 4 host Indians. The winner would see the winner of No. 5 Chicago Washington and No. 12 Evergreen Park.

Article taken from the Joliet Bugle on Monday, October 6, 2015. Click Here to view the article in its entirety on the Bugle Newspaper’s website.


Emma McSteen XC

Junior Emma McSteen had a top 20 finish this past weekend at the Warrior Classic.

JCA Cross Country competes in Warrior Classic

The Hillmen and Angel Cross Country team was running Saturday on a rolling 5K course in West Chicago during Wheaton Academy’’s Warrior Classic. In the varsity girls race, freshman Emma McSteen medaled for the Angels by taking 16th overall. Juniors Kelly Testin, Shannon Quinn, and Dani Scudder placed in the top 45 to lead the angels to an eighth place team finish. Junior Alyson Egizio took second place in the girls open race. The Hillmen were led by senior Harry McSteen who took 30th overall in the varsity boys race. Freshman Fabian Damian placed in the top 50 in the boys open race to lead the Hillmen.

The Angels will be in action on Tuesday at Channahon Community Park in the Will County Invitational. This race will feature local girls’ teams and will have all race proceeds go to the Joliet chapter of Pink Heals. Both the Hillmen and Angels will be in action at the 66th annual Sterling Invitational on Saturday. The team will also be helping at the second mile water station at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

-Submitted by JCA Cross Country Staff

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