Nearly one year after committing to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Woodstock senior middle blocker Maddie Moan finally was able to visit the school that she will call home for the next four years.
Moan, who committed in Oct. 2020 with no volleyball being played throughout Illinois because of the pandemic, got to see her future school compete in the Panther Invite on the final weekend of August.
“I got to meet a lot of people in person, finally” Moan said. “Everyone was super excited and celebrated together a lot. They just had each other’s backs when they were playing and that really stood out to me. They were super accommodating during recruiting.
“They were really open and honest and gave me everything I needed.”
Milwaukee-Wisconsin placed fifth in last season’s 14-match schedule but has been one of the Horizon League’s best teams in recent years. Head coach Susie Johnson has led the NCAA Division I Panthers to 20 wins in all 14 seasons as head coach. The team was picked to take fourth in the conference this year.
Moan said she also was considering Valparaiso, Central Michigan and Bradley.
Moan was unable to visit any schools in person because of the pandemic, which meant doing a lot of Zoom calls and virtual tours. Moan went into the gym and made videos with her setter from Sky High (Fremd’s Rian Baker) to help her stand out to coaches.
“Not being able to able to visit campuses and see any of the girls was really hard, and not having any of the coaches able to see me because we weren’t playing at the time was tough,” Moan said. “I took a lot of videos in the gym just to kind of show coaches how I had progressed from the previous year, which I think really helped me.”
Despite the challenges of the past year, Moan was able to find the right fit.
“I just wanted to find the right fit,” Moan said. “Obviously, I wanted it to be before my senior year because I wanted to have a lot of fun playing this year and not worry about it. I feel like the timing was perfect, and I found the right school at the right time.
“I’m just looking forward to the everyday competition and bettering myself. I feel like I can get so much better at Milwaukee. I’m super excited to go play with new people and hopefully to win the conference.”
Making them go: Jacobs senior setter Rachel Kaczorowski surpassed 2,000 career assists as the Golden Eagles finished 4-1 at the Huntley Invitational over the weekend. Kaczorowski also has more than 250 kills and 700 digs in her varsity career.
Jacobs first-year head coach Mike Depa said Kaczorowski is one of the team’s most vocal leaders. She had a huge performance for the Eagles in last week’s 25-18, 21-25, 25-22 loss to Huntley, recording 15 assists, nine digs, four aces and a team-high seven kills.
“She’s the vocal leader, she steps up, she pumps up the group up,” Depa said. “On the floor she’s telling everyone where to go, where to set the blocks, everything. She knows what to do with the ball when she gets it, and if we can get her that ball, we’re a dangerous team.
“We have a great group of senior leaders who know what they’re doing, and they also help those younger players grow on the court, too. It makes my job easier to have them out there.”
Postseason picture: Crystal Lake South got the area’s highest seed and will start the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A Boylan Regional. Woodstock North (19-6) is the No. 3 and could see the Gators in the regional final.
The postseason begins Oct. 25 for all classes.
No. 4-seeded Crystal Lake Central (11-15) and No. 5 Prairie Ridge (12-15) will meet in the 3A Belvidere North Regional semifinals. Burlington Central (16-11) is a No. 3 seed and will host its own regional in 3A, while sixth-seeded Cary-Grove (19-13) also is hosting.
Huntley (18-9) is a No. 3 seed and will host regionals in Class 4A. McHenry (17-14) is a No. 6 seed in the Huntley Regional. Jacobs (16-9) is a No. 5 seed and will play in the Streamwood Regional, along with No. 4 St. Charles North (19-10) as a possible finals opponent there.
No. 6. Richmond-Burton (11-14), No. 7 Johnsburg (8-17) and No. 8 Marengo (8-16) are all competing in the Class 2A Marengo Regional.
Source: The Daily Chronicle