MID-SUBURBAN WESTBarringtonCoach: Babbi Barreiro (24th season)
Last year's record: 13-14, 7-3
Graduated players: Megan Talbot, Auri Grayson, Kelly Katis, Abigail Elo, Brianna Stryczek, Kayla Besthoff, Ciara Callanan
Returning players: Maggie O'Donnell (5-6 Sr. G), Tori Meyer (5-9 So. G), Cecilia Stack (6-2 Sr. F), Rachel Mori (5-8 Jr. G), Taylor Barnett (5-9 Jr. G), Claire Collier (6-1 Sr. F), Alex Van Ryne (6-1 Sr. F)
Newcomers: Kaitlyn Henke (5-0 Jr. G), Nikki Barcroft (5-5 Jr G), Tess Conforti (6-0 Jr. F), Morgan Kelly (5-9 Jr. F), Alex Kelly (5-9 So. G), Taylor Thompson (6-0, Fr. F)
Outlook: After losing seven seniors, the Fillies will have a significantly different look this season. "Our kids had a very hard working summer and so far I have been impressed with their day to day effort and desire to work together and as a team," said Barreiro, the dean of MSL coaches who owns 387 career wins. "I believe the girls understand that team is what this game is all about. We will be relying on all of them (freshmen through our seniors) to contribute." The Bison will open in the Buffalo Grove Bison Classic Thanksgiving Tournament. "It's always a great test to see where we stand and what we need to do more of to prepare for the ever competitive MSL," Barreiro said. Barrington hopes to contend as one of the top players in the MSL West, which boasts some pretty talented teams. "I am excited to work with this group," Barreiro added. "The girls work hard. They work together and seem willing to leave it all out there. That makes my job fun and certainly makes for a season to look forward to. It's a great group of kids with talent and work ethic."
ConantCoach: Deirdre Naughton (third season)
Last year's record: 10-19, 3-10
Graduated players: Karli Heneghan, Nireet Dhillon (University of Chicago)
Returning players: Jorie Wachal (5-10, Sr. G), Michelle Benson (5-7, Sr. G), Brittany Laskero (5-5, Sr. G), Aishling Benson (5-7 Sr. G, Sr.), Christie Dizonno (5-6 Sr. G), Megan Kasabian (5-6 Sr. G), Cam Rosas (6-0, Sr F), Ania Baker (5-11 Jr. F), Cate Fitzgerald (5-7 Jr. G), Amanda Klingsporn (5-7 Jr. G).
Newcomers: Taylor Cyr (5-10 Jr. F), Morgan Ragusin (5-7 Jr. G), Cassandra Jones (5-7 Jr. G), Lauren Murphy (5-10 Jr. G), Abbey DiSalvo (5-8 So. F)
Outlook: Naughton has a lot of experience and leadership back this year. And a lot of scoring from Wachal, who averaged 18.1 ppg last season with a career high of 40 points against Oswego. "She can play at any position for us," Naughton said of Wachal, who was also all-area in volleyball. "We have a depth at the guard position and athleticism at the post." Baker will add to the Cougars' post game with her athleticism and energy. Benson returns as the starting point guard with Fitzgerald, Laskero and Klingsporn providing a year of guard experience. "We will look to get up and down the floor," Naughton said. Dizonno and Benson provided a defensive spark off the bench last year. "We are looking forward to seeing our newcomers provide that same spark on both sides of the ball," Naughton added.
FremdCoach: Dave Yates (12th season)
Last year's record: 30-3, 10-0
Graduated players: Bryana Hopkins (Northwestern), Brianna Lewis (Texas Southern), Erin Lenahan (Maryville), Julia Wacker (Hillsdale), Amanda McCarney (Elmhurst), Lauren Glaser (Beloit), Jenna Simios (Illinois State)
Returning players: Grace Tworek (6-2 Sr. G/F), Hayley Williams (5-7 Sr. G), Midori Williams (5-8 Sr. G/F), Missy Adrian (5-10, Sr. G/F), Natalie Connors (5-11, Sr. F), Anna Lavalle (5-5 Sr G)
Newcomers: Colleen Kennedy (5-8, Jr. G), Alyssa Honickel (5-8 Jr. G/F), Daniel Lovelace (6-1 Jr. C), Melissa Stapleton (5-9 Jr. F), Julia Smiarowska (5-7 Jr. G), Angie Zara (5-7 So. G), Emily Klaczek (5-8 Fr. G), Olivia Hill (5-10, Fr. F).
Outlook: After back-to-back Class 4A state runner-up seasons, the Vikings have graduated many of the stars (five all-area selections) from those standout clubs. But coach Dave Yates had some incredible depth a year ago. "And I feel we have the necessary pieces to have another successful season," Yates said. He returns a good mix of veterans and talented newcomers. Harvard-bound Tworek begins her third season on the varsity while Hayley Williams and Adrian are three-year players. Midori Williams also was a significant contributor last season. "These four have all taken reduced roles on our past two teams due to the sheer talent on our roster," Yates said. "I know they are very excited for it to finally be there chance to be significant contributors." The four-time defending MSL champs also have a lot of new faces so Yates expects to see his team play its best basketball as the season progresses. "I am very excited for the potential for this group," the coach added. "Last time I checked, state champions are not awarded in the summer. But this group showed some real promise this summer and have been very dedicated to improving individually." The Vikes can shoot from the 3 point line and should present some tough match ups for other teams. "Our goals don't change," Yates said. "This group has the potential to be very dangerous when it matters."
Hoffman Estates Coach: Mike Koester (third season)
Last year's record: 10-18, 2-8
Graduated players: Erin Hanson, Jennifer Nailor, Mynk Richardson-Clerk, Alexis Fuentes, Katie Pielmeier, Miracle Nettles
Returning players: Monraia Wilson (5-8 Sr. PG), Tayler Williams (5-6 Jr. G), Janiah Fowler (5-11 Jr F), Kate Mongold (5-9, So. G)
Newcomers: Kirsten Besterman (5-9 Sr. F), Mary Bean (5-4 Jr. G), Jada Byndom (5-6 So. F), Alysa Dupart (5-4 Fr. G), Raven Wilson (6-1 So. F), Nora Thomas (5-5 Fr. G), Lynda Evans (6-2 Fr. F)
Outlook: The Hawks return their top scorer and all-conference player from last year, Wilson, along with three other players with a lot of varsity experience. Wilson has more than 1,000 points after averaging 16.3 points and converting 46 3-pointers as a junior. She also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.7 assists. "Monraia continued to work on her game and was one of the top scorers in the MSL last year," said coach Mike Koester. "Tayler (Williams) and Kate (Mongold) played very big roles last year and are poised to have a bigger impact this season." Koester expects his team to continue to improve its play in the MSL West and to make strides on its two conference wins. "We will need some of the younger player to step up," Koester said. "We need them to contribute this season because we have a lot of players (three sophomores and two freshmen) playing on the varsity for the first time."
PalatineCoach: Mark Johnson (fourth season)
Last year's record: 10-19, 1-9
Graduated players: Ashley Shapiro, Carrissa Multon, Cora Jacobsen, Geena Eliades, Michala Leber, Sarah Udoni
Returning players: Sydney Rzepka (5-11 Jr. F), Elena Porrata (5-5 So. G), Reggie Much (5-8 Jr G), Brittany Shapiro (5-8 Sr. F), Corey Rinella (5-10 Sr. F), Tiana Henderson (5-8 Jr. F)
Newcomers: Kendra Lindell (5-6 Jr. G), Grace Seiffert (5-8 Jr. F), Anja Jacobsen (5-7 Jr. G), Kacie Filian (5-8 Jr. F) Jenny Myslinski (5-8 Jr. F), Sarah Jasonowicz (5-9 Jr. F), Maggie Scovie (5-8 Jr. F) Sam DeJulio (5-7 So. G)
Outlook: Johnson is expecting big things from his returning players. "We believe their past experiences at the varsity level will enable them to be very successful this season,"Johnson. "We hope to challenge for a division championship and make a nice postseason run this year." The Pirates are faster, stronger and smarter than a year ago. "We hope to use all of those things to our advantage," Johnson said. " We have been working very hard in practice and our style of play in practice has been fast and furious, fun to watch and fun to coach."
SchaumburgCoach: Jacqie Storm (first season)
Last year's record: 16-10, 7-3
Graduated players: Paige Alt, Lexi Ross, Serena Carson, Becca Kasner, Jessica Cleator
Returning players: Jacqueline Argueta (5-3, Sr G), Maya Bowens (5-11, Sr. C), Gina D'Orazio (5-6 Sr. G), Kayla Gepp (5-8, Sr. G/F), Mallory Gerber (5-11, Sr. G/F), Laura O'Connell (5-11, Sr. G/F), Abbey Paolicchi (5-8 Sr. G/F), Kayla Patterson (5-6 Jr. G)
Newcomers: Emma Aguilar (5-5 Jr. G), Vicky Aguirre (5-11 So. C), Kendall Fredrickson (5-10 Jr. F), Sydney Sturino (5-10, Jr. G), Talia Torosian (5-4 Fr. G), Yuka Yagi (5-6 Jr. G)
Outlook: Veteran three-year starters Gerber and O'Connell will continue to lead the Saxons on and off the court. Storm says her team will utilize its speed to put pressure on the ball and create offense from defense. Gerber, a versatile guard last winter, led the team with 13.4 points per game and collected 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals. O'Connell, a dangerous inside-outside threat, averaged 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals. "Their ability to play multiple positions makes them versatile and an asset to our offense and defense," said first-year coach Jacqie Storm. Bowens, who is currently out due to an injury, is expected to return later this season and add to the Saxons' post presence. D'Orazio and Patterson will control the ball at the point guard. "They have continued to develop in that role since last year," Storm said. "If we work hard on both sides of the ball, we have great potential to go far in this season. We have a nice combination of veteran players and new players to give us some stability and freshness to our squad." Storm is a former Sandburg High School and University of St. Francis (Joliet) standout shooting guard. She helped Sandburg to back-to-back supersectional appearances and a trip to the Elite Eight in 2005. At St. Francis, she was named freshman of the year in the Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference and went on to be a four-year CCAC first team all-conference player. Storm finished with 1,834 points and was twice named an honorable mention National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics all-American. "I think with respect, hard work and dedication we can go far as players," she said. "Ultimately, I want my high school players to walk into a college and have a set of values that will help them become the person they want to be. Regardless of our record or how far we make it in the state tournament, I want the players to walk away from the season knowing they left it all on the court."