Local volleyball players racking up big numbers for college teams

Published11/23/2007 1:07 AM

It's not difficult finding a player from DuPage County making her mark in women's college volleyball. It's just hard keeping up with them because there are so many.

Here's an update on some of the most noteworthy:


Penn State sophomore Jessica Yanz (Naperville Central) is serving as the backup setter for the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. She's played in 17 of 28 matches, totaling 185 assists.

Wisconsin senior Jackie Simpson (Downers South) has directed her team to a No. 9 ranking in the country, racking up 1,188 assists, 188 digs, 78 kills and 74 blocks. Her 13.05 assists per game average ranks third in the Big Ten Conference. Senior Taylor Reineke (Naperville North) leads the Badgers in blocks with 154 and is fourth in the Big Ten at 1.54 blocks per game. She's also third on the team in kills with 243 and was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 5 Second Team.

Louisville freshman Lindsey Mango (Naperville Central) has helped the Cardinals to a No. 23 ranking with a team-high 404 digs. She was named the Big East Conference Volleyball Freshman of the Week twice, Aug. 27 and Oct. 8.

Clemson junior Jeannette Abbott (Downers South) has powered the 25th-ranked Tigers to at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title. She is second on the team in kills with 364, third in aces with 23, fourth in digs with 249 and fifth in blocks with 54.

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Michigan senior hitter Katie Bruzdzinski (Naperville North) has pushed her school record for career kills to 1,770 with a team-high 470 this season. Her 4.59 kills per game average is third in the Big Ten, while her 49 aces gives her a conference-best 0.48 aces per game. She is third on the Wolverines in digs with 269.

At Illinois, freshman Laura DeBruler (Downers North) has made a huge splash. Her 539 kills give her a Big Ten-best 4.90 kills per game. She's first on her team in aces with 28 and second in digs with 262. She was selected the Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 1 and Oct. 29.

Also for the Illini, junior Lizzie Bazzetta (Naperville North) has 1,043 assists, 199 digs and 27 aces. Senior Amy Palash (St. Francis) has 214 digs, 90 kills and 23 aces and writes a blog for the team's Web site.

Iowa junior Kiley Fister (St. Francis) has racked up 885 assists and a team-high 26 aces along with 202 digs, 64 kills and 40 blocks.

Michigan State senior Miken Trogdon (St. Francis) leads her team in digs with 345 to go with 64 assists and 21 aces.


At Purdue, senior Anne Mastandrea (Downers South) has 392 digs to place her third on the school's career digs list with 1,299. She was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of Week on Aug. 27. Freshman Jessica Ullrich (Wheaton North) has 106 digs.

Wright State senior Alisha Kimbro (Lisle) received All-Horizon League honors after topping her team with 356 kills and 36 aces to go with 350 digs and 61 blocks. She spiked a career 27 kills at Youngstown State on Oct. 12 and at home versus Loyola on Nov. 2.

Bowling Green sophomore Corey Domek (Naperville North) made second-team all-Mid-American Conference with 390 kills and 42 blocks.

Northern Illinois freshman Dani D'Ambrose (Addison Trail) was named the MAC West Division Player of the Week on Sept. 10 and finished fourth on the team in kills with 225.

Ball State freshman Alyssa Rio (St. Francis) was her team's only player to appear in all 109 of its games while leading the Cardinals in digs with 608 and aces with 35.

At St. Louis, junior Lauren Christman (Hinsdale Central) led her team blocks with 135 and was fourth in kills with 265. Freshman Megan Boken (St. Francis) notched 241 digs, 51 kills and 25 aces.

Yale junior Kristen Wilk (Hinsdale Central) landed a career-high 17 kills, hit .593 and made just 1 error in 27 swings in a 3-1 win over Brown on Nov. 14 in Providence, R.I. She finished with 144 kills and a team-best 60 blocks.

Denver redshirt sophomore Clare Mazwell (Benet) totaled 682 assists and 62 kills while appearing in 21 of her team's 34 matches.

Alabama junior Amy Pauly (Hinsdale South) tallied a team-high 592 digs.

Coastal Carolina sophomore Megan Pollard (Naperville Central) led the Chanticleers in aces with 33 and was second in digs with 322.

Albany sophomore Samantha Jacobson (Glenbard West) collected 263 assists and 42 blocks while playing in 26 of her team's 30 matches.

Samford freshman Samantha Bland (Downers North) totaled 231 kills, 307 digs and 39 blocks.

Radford sophomore Lexi Miller (Glenbard West) registered 198 kills and 65 blocks.

At DePaul, freshman Charla Drabant (Wheaton North) bagged 294 kills, 223 digs and 36 blocks, while junior Caitlin Callaghan (Benet) pocketed 118 kills, 155 digs and 23 blocks.

And those are just the highlights. There's plenty more players from around the area who contributed to their college teams in smaller ways.

When college volleyball coaches search for recruits this holiday season, they know DuPage County is the place to shop.

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