The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls volleyball team is on track for another banner season under head coach Dan Bonarigo. Last year, the Bulldogs had one of the finest seasons in program history recording a 26-10 record and Metro Suburban Conference West Division title.
RBHS (9-2, 3-1 Metro Suburban) won six of seven matches last week, highlighted by a fifth-place finish at the Maine East Invite. At Maine East, RBHS beat De La Salle, Regina Dominican, Addison Trail and Maine South.
The Bulldogs also pulled out a pair of tough three-set wins against Aurora Central Catholic and Illiana Christian in conference play.
RBHS is led by 6-foot-8 senior outside hitter Dana Rettke. The Wisconsin commit earned all-state recognition and finished with 419 kills, 47 blocks, 190 digs and 64 aces last season. Rettke also holds multiple single season and all-time volleyball records at RBHS.
Other top players include senior opposite Gia Cinkay, senior middle hitter Margaret Shereck and senior setter Maria Gonzales.
Olivia Louthen, Leah Rettke, Vasara Kulbis,Alyssa Hart, Joy Greco, Maya Diaz amd Claire Swiatek round out the varsity roster.
A new season brought new faces to an old rivalry, but the results are the same.
McKenzie Moorman spiked 18 kills and had four blocks and Margaret Planek added 12 kills as the Fenwick High School girls volleyball team knocked off area rival Trinity 25-18, 19-25, 25-16 on Sept. 15 in Oak Park.
“It’s a nice rivalry,” Fenwick coach Kathleen O’Laughlin said. “It was definitely a fun match and we had a nice student section.”
Much has changed for Fenwick since the historic 2015 season ended with a Class 3A supersectional loss to Marian Central. It was just the second time the Friars had won a sectional championship.
Ten players from that team, which eliminated Trinity in the regional final, graduated, but the Friars have picked up where they left off.
While not as experienced or as deep as a year ago, Fenwick does have four returning starters, including 6-foot outside hitters Moorman, a sophomore, and Planek, a junior.
Those two combined with senior setter Mary Marzo to defeat a determined Trinity defense.
“Our goal is the same and it’s to improve with each match and be ready to make a big push at the end.”
Off to a 3-8 start this season, Trinity hopes to snap its five-match losing streak this week with matches against Bishop McNamara and Resurrection before competing in the Harvest Tournament on Saturday.
Despite a slow start, the Blazers have the talent to turn things around. Trinity finished 19-18 overall and 4-2 in the GCAC (Girls Catholic Athletic Conference) White Division last season.
The team’s top returning players include senior outside hitters Carly Uhlir and Sarah Whiteside and senior middle hitter Natalie Rosinski.
Uhlir, the daughter of head coach Ken Uhlir, had 165 kills, 22 aces and 121 digs as a GCAC White all-conference player in 2015.
Fellow seniors Casey Knusta, Carmen Peterson and Molly Gates provide additional talent and experience to the roster. Highly touted freshman Emma Jacobs (6-0 outside hitter) has made an immediate impact for Trinity.
-Matt Le Cren contributed to this story.