High school volleyball insider: Huntley's Taylor Jakubowski is Athlete of the Week; plus weekly notes and games to watch

Athlete of the Week

Taylor Jakubowski

Huntley, so., S

Jakubowski helped lead the Red Raiders to a pair of Fox Valley Conference wins in the opening week to begin Huntley's FVC title defense.

On Tuesday, the sophomore setter had 33 assists on offense and 26 digs on defense in a 28-26, 18-25, 25-12 win over Crystal Lake Central. In Thursday's 25-13, 25-21 win over Dundee-Crown, she added 22 assists, 15 digs and four kills.

Jakubowski has over 1,000 assists for her career and has a scholarship offer from Seton Hall.


Great start: At 17-16 last season, McHenry finished above .500 for the first time since 2009. The Warriors also took a big step forward in the FVC, finishing 6-10 after winning only two conference matches combined from 2013 to 2015.

If the first week is any true indication, the Warriors appear ready to take another step forward in 2017. McHenry earned wins over Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove, two teams they went 1-3 against last year.

"It feels pretty good, because last year we did not get super close to (Cary-Grove)," said Hale, who had four kills and nine digs against the Trojans. "It's a really a good start to the season. It shows what we can do."

Reloading: Any concern of how Huntley's offense might operate this year without Ally Dion, the 2016 Northwest Herald Volleyball Player of the Year (area-leading 404 kills, now a freshman at NCAA Division-I Southeast Missouri State), was answered in the first week with an impressive attack.

Aleah Amelio and Julia Johnson both had double digits kills against Crystal Lake Central, and Loren Alberts and Emma Konie each came up with swing big points in the opening win.

Replacing all of the production from Dion might not be possible, but Huntley's attack still appears dangerous despite not having a lot of height. Jakubowski is excited about the options on offense.

"Our offense is so fast," Jakubowski said after beating the Tigers. "Julia can really get up there. Emma is new and she's a lefty, and so hard to block out there. Aleah is so smart with rolls and tips, and we have two great middles (Alberts and Marissa Deem) who are so fast and they put the ball straight down."

Huntley went 14-2 in the FVC last year and won its first conference championship in program history.

Weekend champs: Johnsburg finished 5-0 at the Chicago Christian Knight Invitational in Palos Heights on Friday and Saturday to claim the tournament championship. Junior setter Adisyn Illg earned tournament MVP, and Abby Wemple and Kimmy Hammond were both named to the All-Tournament team.

The Skyhawks (5-1) went 2-3 at the same tournament last season.

This week's top matches

Prairie Ridge at McHenry

6 p.m. Tuesday

The Warriors are off to a 2-0 start in the FVC with wins against two teams that finished ahead of them in the FVC standings a year ago.

Crystal Lake Central at Cary-Grove

6 p.m. Tuesday

The Tigers and Trojans figure to be among the top FVC contenders again after finishing second and third, respectively, last year.

Jacobs Invitational

9 a.m. Saturday

Marian Central has won the past two seasons, but the Hurricanes are a new-look team after losing 10 seniors to graduation. Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central and Jacobs represent the FVC.

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