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Sports

Girls volleyball: Prestigious tournaments on tap this weekend

Minooka's Alli Papesh hits during a match last season. The Indians beat Joliet Catholic, 25-22, 25-18 in Wednesday night's early-season showdown. | Shaw Meida file photo
Minooka's Alli Papesh hits during a match last season. The Indians beat Joliet Catholic, 25-22, 25-18 in Wednesday night's early-season showdown. | Shaw Meida file photo

The challenge is on this week.

There are some exciting tournaments this weekend and a large number of area teams will compete at two of them. Lemont, Plainfield Central and Plainfield North will compete at the Wheaton Warrenville South Invite, while Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West and Providence will play in the Oak Lawn Invite.

It will be another weekend to see how many area teams match up against each other.

For another team, it’s a weekend to prove its worth.

The Mother McAuley ASICS Challenge is one of the most esteemed tournaments anywhere. Top teams travel from as far as California. Since it is so highly regarded, it’s invite only. Teams must win that tournament to be invited to the big ASICS Tournament.

Only two Joliet area teams are competing in 2017. Joliet Catholic and Lincoln-Way East will play against some of the most talented schools in the nation during the tournament, held the last weekend of September.

Another team is given a chance to play next year. Minooka was invited to the Mother McAuley invite for the first time. If the Indians (7-1) win, they will be invited to play in the tournament in 2018. It’s a big milestone for the program.

“After the season last year, I had emailed coach [Jen] DeJarld to see if she had an opening,” Minooka coach Carrie Prosek said. “She had emailed me back immediately saying she had planned on sending me an email to ask if we could fill the open spot this year. I was thrilled since we have always wanted to be a part of this tournament.

“We have to win the preview to advance to the ASICS tournament for the future, but we feel it is a good challenge and a goal for this team. It will not be an easy tournament, but coach Emily Brown and I like the competition and mental toughness that will help prepare our girls for later on this year as well. If we win, we will be able to compete in the ASICs for years to come for our program.”

Other milestones

As of Monday night, PrepVolleyball.com announced Senior Aces 31-100 and the 25 players who just missed the list. After separating themselves as top players in the area, three outside hitters have broken the Top 125 thus far.

Minooka’s Rocky Perinar breaks into the top 125. She has 67 kills, 39 digs and 15 blocks, and has posted double-digit kills in four of eight games. Last season, Perinar was an impact player for the Indians in the postseason and earned Herald-News All-Area first-team honors.

Coming at No. 88 is Hanna Lesiak. The Lincoln-Way East standout has 80 kills, 55 digs and 17 aces in nine games. Lesiak is averaging 8.9 kills a match, which has her ranked second in kills per match in the area. On top of her strong start, she also earned first team All-Area honors last season.

Alli Papesh is the reigning Morris Herald-News Player of the Year and was first team All-Area last season. The four-year Minooka starter broke into the Top 75 at No. 66. The outside hitter has 68 kills, 12 aces, 18 blocks and 31 digs in eight games.

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