Katherine Nolan figures to play a key role as a senior on Rolling Meadows girls basketball team this season.
Loyola University is also figuring on Nolan playing a key role a year from now.
The 6-foot-1 Nolan has committed to the Division I program.
"I am very blessed to have this amazing opportunity, and I am looking forward to becoming a Rambler," said Nolan, one of the Mustangs' top scorer and rebounder last winter. "I chose Loyola for basketball because I really admired and felt an immediate connection to coach Achter, the coaching staff, and my future teammates."
But there are other important reasons she is looking forward to spending four years on the Chicago campus.
"I chose Loyola because of its national academic reputation, Jesuit education, urban location and focus on giving back to the community," she said. "I also fell in love with the campus because it is so beautiful."
Nolan plans to study in a pre-health program. Her career goal is to become a physical therapist.
"I have always wanted to be a physical therapist because I truly want to help others enjoy the very best of life," Nolan said. "And I am passionate about giving people the opportunity to be physically capable of achieving their goals."
Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky is looking forward to Nolan's final season as a Mustang.
"Katherine dedicated herself to becoming a great player," he said. " Her combination of skill, strength, and athleticism will make her a versatile player at the next level.
"She has an excellent feel for the game and consistently makes her teammates better on both ends of the court. Most importantly, she's an exceptional student and even better person."
Nolan began playing basketball when she was 7 years old.
"My mom sparked my interest in playing basketball," Nolan said. "She played four sports during high school and often mentioned basketball was her favorite. I liked hearing her talk about how much she loved it, and I knew I would love it too."
Nolan has wanted to play college basketball since her freshman season.
She credits the ongoing support of her family, coaches and team mates helping her reach her goal.
"It started with my first coach Mike Sellergren, who coached our feeder program," Nolan said. "He taught me the fundamentals and really made me love the game. My travel coach, Kahleaf Russell (All In Athletics) taught me toughness and how to be aggressive, and leverage my strength and height against my opponents.
"Ryan Kirkorsky taught me how to build a great team culture, and how to stay composed under pressure."
Nolan can't wait to start her final high school season under Kirkorsky.
"I'm excited and looking forward to it," she said. "Many of my teammates and I have been playing basketball together since the feeder programs in grade school.
"I am also excited to play for Loyola next year."
Former Hoffman Estates standout Destinee Young, who played four years for Hawks coach Mike Nocella, is beginning her final season for Old Dominion.
As a junior, she started 31 contests and ranked second on the team in scoring (9.9 ppg) and rebounding with (8.4 pg).
She led the team with 34 blocked shots and ranked 7th in Conference USA.
Young was also named to the Conference USA commissioner's Honor Roll.
• Oakton sophomore Mallory Gonzalez (Prospect) is ready to serve as captain for the Owls.
Last year, the multitalented 5-foot-10 guard averaged 11.2 points, 4 assists and 7.2 rebounds despite an injury-plagued season. She is eager to improve on those numbers for the upcoming campaign.
"I've been working hard with the team and bonding with each player personally," Gonzalez said in a school news release. "Communicating with each other is going to be the key for us to win many games this year. I take my role as captain very seriously, and I'm looking forward to seeing our hard work pay off."
Oakton coach Melissa Rauschenberg said Gonzalez is vital to the team's success.
"Mallory's extremely knowledgeable, as she can play any position on the floor for us," Rauschenberg said of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference all-conference selection. "She also passes along her understanding of the game to help her teammates get better."
Wheaton senior defender Mary Pettit (Hoffman Estates) was named defensive player of the week in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin for a third time this season.
Pettit helped lead the Thunder to conference wins against Augustana and North Central. Wheaton defeated Augustana 2-1 and held the Vikings to six shots, including three on goal.
In a 2-0 shutout at North Central, the Cardinals were held to four shots, including just two on goal. Pettit also assisted on a goal in the 84th minute. Pettit is second on the Thunder with 3 goals scored this season.
• DePaul's Alexa Ben (Schaumburg) was the unanimous choice as midfielder of the year in the Big East. Ben is the first Blue Demon to win the award since DePaul joined the Big East in 2005.
Ben has 7 goals and 3 assists for the Blue Demons (10-6-2, 7-2-0) who finished as regular season co-champion with Marquette and are seeded No. 2 in the BIG EAST playoffs.
Carthage senior linebacker Greg Money (Fremd) led the Red Men with 7 tackles in a 34-21 loss to visiting North Central on Senior Day at Art Keller Field.
The loss drops the Red Men to 6-3 on the season and 4-3 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Money and the defense held the No. 5-ranked Cardinals (9-0) below their CCIW-leading points per game average by almost 7 points.
Carthage sophomore safety Amani Dennis (Wheeling) had 2 pass break-ups.
Prior to the game among the seniors honored were Nick Anzelmo (Schaumburg), Ethan Olles (Palatine), Javier Rhoades (Leyden) and Money.
• It was also Senior Day at Augustana where the Vikings honored Andrew Garcia (Leyden), Jack Asquini (Buffalo Grove), Frank Kalble (Hersey) and Colin Skinner (Loyola), a resident of Mt. Prospect.
Asquini led the Vikings with 11 tackles and Kalble added 8 in the Vikes' loss to Wheaton. Two of Asquini's stops came behind the line of scrimmage.
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