Scouting the Mid-Suburban East
Buffalo Grove BisonCoach: Martha Kelly (2nd year)
Last season's record: 4-9
Top returning players: Kim Stuercke, sr. (G, 5-10), Leah McKenna, sr. (C, 6-0), Cassidy Green, sr. (F, 6-0), Alexa LoVerde sr. (G, 5-4), Sydney Jacobs, sr. (G, 5-4), Grace Veller, Sr. (G, 5-5), Olivia Genthner, Jr (G, 5-10), Hanna Glanz, so. (G, 5-9)
Top new players: Abby Thiessen, Jr (G, 5-9), Ellie Askew, Jr (G, 5-7), Katrina Tsiftilis, Jr (G, 5-8), Alyssa Fontanetta, Jr. (G, 5-4), Hannah Hull, Jr (G, 5-'8)
Worth noting: With no graduating seniors from last year's team, Kelly welcomes back a lot of experience. The Bison play a tough schedule, starting with their very own Bison Classic Thanksgiving Tournament. The always competitive MSL and the Dundee-Crown Tournament are also on the schedule and that's exactly the kind of competition the Bison want. "We've also added a game at the 'Grow the Game' tournament that New Trier has put together," Kelly said. "Every game should be a good game and help prepare us for the postseason."
Elk Grove GrenadiersCoach: Jennifer Buxton
Last season's record: 4-8
Top returning players: Lili Duckmann, sr. (G, 5-8), Julia Masnica, Jr (G, 5-7)
Top new players: Lauren Millhiser, sr, (G, 5-6), Tiffany Joseph, sr (G, 5-1), Sydney Joseph, sr. (G, 5-5), Stephanie Cuatepitzi, sr. (F, 5-9), Katrina Kellett, Jr (F, 5-5), Riley Matos, Jr (G, 5-3), Karylle Lausa, Jr (G, 5-4), Libby Wirtz, Jr (F, 5-7), Maggie Maher, so (G, 5-8), Ella Duckmann, so. (G, 5-7), Ariana Trausch, so. (G, 5-6)
Worth noting: The Grens graduated a lot of players, but Duckmann and Masnica are back with a lot of varsity experience to help lead the big cast of newcomers. "The girls have worked hard in the off season to develop their game," said Buxton, a former Buffalo Grove standout. "We want to get better with each game and look forward to playing a fast-paced style of play with intensity on both sides of the floor. We are excited to play a full season and hoping to surprise some teams."
Hersey HuskiesCoach: Mary Fendley (24th season, 482-201)
Last season's record: 16-0, MSL Champs, AP #1-Ranked Team in 4A all season
Top returning players: Katy Eidle, Jr (G, 5-11), Kelsey Neary Jr, (G, 5-9), Meghan Mrowicki, Jr (G, 5-10) Val Allen, sr. (F, 5-11)
Top new players: Annika Manthy, so (C, 6-3), Natalie Alesia, Jr, (F, 5-8), Courtney Clayton sr. (F, 5-7), Maddie May, (G, 5-4), Mackenzie Ginder Jr, F, 5-11)
Worth noting: Hall of Fame coach Mary Fendley has some stellar athletes. Two are finishing their fall seasons at the national level in other sports (Neary in lacrosse and Mrowicki in soccer.) Having graduated 8 seniors, the Huskies will have some growing pains early on but Fendley believes her Huskies will develop into a top-caliber team by February as the new players acclimate to the varsity. Eidle, entering her junior season, has already committed to Michigan.
Prospect KnightsCoach: Matt Weber (2nd season)
Last season's record: 12-4 (8-2 in East)
Top returning players: Andie Will sr., (G, 5-10), Summer Srodulski sr., (F/C, 6-0), Macy Zei sr. (G, 5-5), Kathryn Keehn sr. (G/F 5-6), Jessica Reizer sr, (G, 5-8), Abby Knott sr. (G/F, 5-6), Cam Mather sr. (F, 5-8), Emily Skoog, sr. (G, 5-7), Katie Neal, sr. (G, 5-6), Sofie Ostling sr. (F/C, 5-11)
Top new players: Nicole Atteo, Jr (G), Molly Gilhooly Jr (G), Lauren Harrell Jr, (G/F), Maggie Rosengerg Jr (G), Zoe Brown, so. (F), Campbell Conner so. (G/F), Skylar Splinter so. (G)
Worth noting: Prospect returns a lot of seniors with playing experience including two all-conference players (Will and Srodulski). Will is a two-time all-conference selection. Zei is a two-year returning starter and Keehn is also a returning starter. Reizer was also a key contributor to last year's team. "We will rely on our senior leadership to continue to build on a lot of the things we started to instill last year," said Weber, who has a career record of 91-103 (including years as head coach at Wheeling). "We are a defensive minded team that wants to outwork our opponent. On offense, we want to be patient and smart while taking advantage of matchup opportunities. We have a lot of talent io our team and will have a lot of players that will be contributing to this team's success."
Rolling Meadows MustangsCoach: Ryan Kirkorsky (14th year, 10 at RM and 4 at EG, 248-122 overall)
Last season's record: 11-4
Top returning players: Nicole Davis, sr. (G, 5-6), Emily Galvan sr.,(G, 5-6), 5'7 Guard Moira Hickey, sr. (G, 5-7) Alison Sellergren sr. (G, 5-9), Charlotte Errico Jr (C 6-0), Roison Grandberry so. (F/C, 6-4)
New players: Cassidy Pardini, Jr (G, 5-9), Emily Romanacce, so, (G/F, 5-11) Olivia Zielinski, sr. (G, 5-4), Olivia Dizonno, Stacy Dollia sr, (G, 5-4), Ciara McMahon, so. (G, 5-6)
Worth noting: The Mustangs have a good mix of youth and experience, including four senior guards (Davis, Galvan, Hickey, and Sellergren) who have started games the past few years. "They can all handle the ball, make plays for their teammates, and score," said Kirkorsky, who directed the Mustangs to back-to-back Class 4A state championship games in 2013 and 2014. Galvan was one of the most efficient scorers in the state last year. Grandberry has grown by leaps and bounds since her freshman season. "Our conference and nonconference schedules will challenge us on a nightly basis and we're excited to get going," Kirkorsky said.
Wheeling WildcatsCoach: Beth Christell (2nd year, 0-14)
Last season's record: 0-14
Top returning players: Marlena Miloucheva, so. (5-8), Nikki Niznik, sr. (G, 5-2), Ashley Yasak, sr. (5-8), Maya Huelsman, so. (5-9), Sara Aranda, sr. (5-5)
Top new players: Riana Hayes, sr. (6-0), Melissa Castro, sr. (5-2), Anastacia Hardaway, Jr (5-11)
Worth noting: Second-year coach Christell has 10 seniors looking to end their high school career on a high note and leave the program moving upward. "We are continuing to rebuild our program, with positive numbers this year," she said. "Our seniors (Niznik, Yasak, Hayes and Aranda) are ready to work hard and help us reach our potential." Hayes, who missed last year due to COVID-19 concerns, brings length to the program and competitive fire. The Wildcats have strong underclassmen with Miloucheva and Huelsman, and some transfers looking to help get the team to the next level. Transfer Hardaway had a solid volleyball season in her first season competing for the Wildcats and has shown promise on the basketball court. Castro looks to provide a new look at guard after spending three years at Christian Liberty Academy. "With no seniors last year, the experience everyone gained by playing valuable varsity minutes should translate into more success this year," Christell said. "Every day, our girls show up and work hard to leave the basketball program better and stronger than when they came."