Focused Althoff ready for familiar foe in quest to repeat Class 3A state volleyball championship

Katie Wemhoener bumps the ball during the Althoff Crusaders’ state championship win over Chicago Resurrection at Redbird Arena Saturday.
Katie Wemhoener bumps the ball during the Althoff Crusaders’ state championship win over Chicago Resurrection at Redbird Arena Saturday.

The Althoff Crusaders will attempt to move one step closer toward a second straight state championship Friday when they take on the Chicago Latin Romans in a semi-final round match at the Class 3A Volleyball Tournament at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Althoff (36-4), which defeated Chicago Resurrection 25-16, 25-23, in the state title match a year ago, will take on Chicago Latin (35-2) at 5:30 p.m. in this second of two Class 3A semi-final round matches.

This is the second time in three years the schools have met at the state finals. The Crusaders defeated the Romans 25-16, 22-25, 25-18 in the Class 2A third place match in 2016.

The Joliet Catholic Angels (27-13) will play the Sterling Golden Warriors (39-1) in the first semi-final at 4 p.m. The two semi-final winners will play for the state championship on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The third place match is set for 4 p.m.

Following is a closer look at the four teams that will compete at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament.

Joliet (Catholic Academy) (27-13)

Coach: Christine Scheibe (19th year, 563-174-10)

Classification Enrollment: 1032.9

Nickname: Angels

Colors: Columbia Blue/Brown/White

Conference: East Suburban Catholic

Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Aurora (Waubonsie Valley), 25-21-,23-25, 26-24, in 4A Regional Final

State Tournament history: This is the Angels 12th trip to the state tournament. They won state championships in 2003, 2008 and 2009

Players to watch: Soph. OH: Jilian Gray (230 kills, 36 aces, 249 digs); Sr. OH: Emily Holbrook ((261 kills, 28 aces, 319 digs); Soph. Setter Ryan Hinshaw (23 aces, 748 assists, 195 digs)

Sterling (H.S.) (39-1)

Coach: Dale Dykeman (7 years 228-38-1)

Classification Enrollment: 1044.0

Nickname: Golden Warriors

Colors: Navy/Gold

Conference: Northern Illinois Big 12

Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Bartonville (Limestone), 25-21, 25-15, in Sectional Semifinal

State Tournament history: This is the Golden Warrioirs first state tournament appearance

Players to watch: Sr. Setter: Josie Borum (, 253 kills, 495 assists, 219 digs); Soph: RS Breelyn Borum (261 kills, 205 digs, 552 assists, 205 digs); Soph. OH: Brooklyn Borum ( 431 kills, 31 aces 209 digs)

Belleville (Althoff Catholic) (36-4)

Coach: Tony Miner (1st year. 36-4)

Classification Enrollment: 627.0

Nickname: Crusaders

Colors: Navy Blue/Gold

Conference: South Seven

Last Year’s Advancement: Defeated Chicago (Resurrection), 25-16, 25-23, in State Championship

State tournament history: This is the Crusaders’ 12th trip to the state volleyball tournament. They won the Class 3A state title in 2017

Players to watch: Sr. OH: Lauren Borik (195 kills, 43 blovks, 83 digs); Jr. MB: Karinna Gall (435 kills, 81 blocks, 46 aces, 332 digs), Jr. OH: Katie Wemhoener (253 kills, 31 aces, 375 digs); Jr. Setter: Mary Wessel (97 kills, 41 aces, 808 assists, 330 digs)

Chicago (Latin) (35-2)

Coach : Bryn Kehoe (2nd season, 68-6-1)

Classification Enrollment: 757.35

Nickname: Romans

Colors: Navy/Orange

Conference: Independent School League

Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Chicago (Resurrection), 25-16, 25-15, in Super-Sectional

State tournament history: This its the Romans second appearance in the state tournament

Players to watch: Sr. L-OH Charlotte Cronister (149 kills, 71 aces, 394 digs); Jr. OH: Katie Kraczkowski (200 kills, 41 aces, 194 digs); Soph. Setter (34 aces, 772 assists, 162 digs)