CELEBRATE – Marist’s softball team had plenty to celebrate last year and hopes for more celebrations in 2022. Photo by Jeff Vorva

CELEBRATE – Marist’s softball team had plenty to celebrate last year and hopes for more celebrations in 2022. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Seven reasons this spring sports season could be special

Spread the love

By Jeff Vorva
Staff writer

Things are a little quiet right now, but it’s the calm before the storm.

Get ready for a monster sports spring in the area.

The IHSA offers 13 spring sports and activities, including bass fishing. Area colleges will be busy, especially with baseball and softball.

The Chicago Red Stars, who make their home at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, will try to win an NWSL championship with a new coach.

And the Crestwood-based Windy City Thunderbolts will be rolling again.

With so many sports to choose from, there will be no shortage of good storylines and drama. Here are just seven stories to keep an eye on.

 

1. Back to back titles for Marist?

Marist’s softball team dominated last year, posting a 38-1 record with the only loss coming to an Indiana team. They won the Class 4A title and are gunning for back-to-back crowns.

The RedHawks lost some talent and some talent returns from that squad bit still figure to be a power. Returnee Eileen Donahue, who had two hits and an RBI in the 3-1 state title win over Lincoln-Way Central.

One game to keep an eye on is an April 30 matchup in Indianapolis against Roncalli. The Royals are ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps, which has Marist as the No. 1 team in Illinois.

 

2. Catholic League Baseball

St. Laurence.

St. Rita.

Mount Carmel.

Brother Rice.

Need we say more?

Any time any of these area powers hook up in 2022, it will be must-see baseball.

HOLGUIN scaled

St. Rita’s walk-off home run by Al Holguin against Mount Carmel last May was one of many special moments when area Catholic League teams squared off. Photo by Jeff Vorva

3. Coming soon …

Marist’s boys volleyball team is hosting a 24-team tournament on March 24-25, and it is power-packed.

Three of the eight teams that made it to state in 2021 will be there: St. Rita, Lockport and Lincoln-Way East. The hosts are a perennial power and 2021 regional champs O’Fallon, Downers Grove South are also in the mix.

“It’s a nice way to kickstart the season,” Marist coach Jordan Vidovic said.

 

4. One more rung

The Lyons girls soccer team wants to climb a little higher this year.

The Lions took second in the state in Class 3A in 2021, falling to O’Fallon, 1-0, in the title game in their lone loss of the season.

Elanor Musgrove, who scored 13 goals in 2021 and committed to Air Force, is one of the top returnees.

 

5. Another rung

The Chicago Red Stars will also try to bump up a rung, as they have finished runner-up in the past two NWSL seasons 2019 and 2021.

The 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic.

This year, they will have to do it without coach Rory Dames, who resigned after the 2021 season and shortly before national reports came out with allegations by former players accusing him of abuse.

New coach Chris Petrucelli brings outstanding credentials on the college level. Orland Park’s Tatumn Milazzo is back for her second pro season.

The Red Stars’ season opens March 20 in the Challenge Cup against Houston while their home opener in the Cup is March 25 against Kansas City. The regular season schedule has not ben released.

 

6. Two for nationals?

Saint Xavier’s baseball and softball teams are off to red-hot starts, thanks in part to a pair of stars from Evergreen Park. It might not be out of the question that they could both teams qualify for the NAIA national tournaments if they keep this up.

Through 19 games, the baseball team had registered a 16-3 record, including a 7-6 stunner over Central Methodist University, which was ranked second in the nation, according to the coaches’ poll.

Evergreen Park graduate Jimmy Smyth was hitting .433 with four homers and 26 RBI.

The Cougars softball team opened the season 11-3. Evergreen Park graduate Maddie Meisl was hitting a team-best .529.

 

7. Thunderbolts ready to make noise

The Windy City Thunderbolts open the season May 12 hosting the Joliet Slammers at Ozinga Field.

The Frontier League has a different flavor after merging with the Can-Am League.

The league’s 2022 division structure will return to a two division East/West set-up.  The Frontier Greys will play as a full-time road team.

The East Divison features the Greys, New Jersey, New York, Ottawa, Quebec, Sussex County, Tri-City, and Trois-Rivieres.  The Thunderbolts will be in the West, joined by Evansville, Florence, Gateway, Joliet, Lake Erie, Schaumburg and Washington.

Six teams will make the postseason in the league’s revised playoff format.

Local News

Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Volleyball | Brother Rice falls to Glenbard West and York, takes 4th at Smack Attack

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent It was a busy weekend in the area for boys volleyball as Brother Rice hosted its 14th annual Smack Attack tournament. The 24-team event played April 19-20 featured area teams Brother Rice, Marist and Richards, along with defending Class 4A champion Glenbard West and two highly rated teams from…

Swanson scores, assists in Red Stars’ win over Reign

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Red Stars improved to 3-1-1 by beating the Seattle Reign, 2-1, on the road on April 21. Mallory Swanson had an assist on an Ali Schlegel goal in the fourth minute and added a goal of her own in the 31st minute. Swanson missed last season after sustaining a knee injury on…

Tatumn Milazzo, shown at media day before the season started, was amused by winning a Save of the Week award. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Tatumn Milazzo has top Save of the Week

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Tatumn Milazzo called her achievement “funny.” The Chicago Red Stars defender and Orland Park native was awarded the NWSL’s Save of the Week after chasing down a ball in a loss to Angel City on April 13. The Save of the Week usually goes to a goalie. Milazzo laughed…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Men’s College Volleyball | Saint Xavier captures fifth straight conference tourney title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The SXU men’s volleyball team won its fifth straight Chicagoland Christian Athletic Conference tournament championship after a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 sweep of Calumet College of St. Joseph on April 20 at the Shannon Center. Jan Lopuch had 10 kills and nine digs for the Cougars. With the win, the…

Baseball in a mitt with a black bat low angle selective focus view on a baseball field

College Baseball | Saint Xavier upsets Eastern Illinois

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Saint Xavier baseball team picked up a win that its players are going to remember for a long time. The Cougars stunned Eastern Illinois, 4-2, on April 17 in Charleston. It was the Cougars’ first win over the Panthers, a Division I program, since 2005. Lyons grad Troy…

A lone white volleyball sitting on a wooden floor

Boys Volleyball | Glenbard West tops Marist to stay unbeaten

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Marist boys volleyball team, ranked fifth in the nation by USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches, lost to Glenbard West, 25-23, 25-21, in the championship match at the Brother Rice Smack Attack on April 20 in Chicago. Glenbard West (19-0) is the two-time defending state champion and is ranked third…

Alliyah Flores and her St. Laurence teammates earned academic honors by the IBCA. Photo by Jeff Vorva

St. Laurence hoops teams top honor roll

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area basketball teams proved to be strong on the court and in the classroom this season, and St. Laurence was the leader of the pack. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association compiled a list of the top academic teams, and the area did well. In Division 3 girls, St. Laurence…

St. Rita's David Lyle won honors from the Chicago Bears. St. Rita photo

Chicago Bears recognize St. Rita senior with All-Star award

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chances are good that few outside of St. Rita football circles know who David Lyle is. With good reason. Lyle missed his senior season for the Mustangs last fall after sustaining a serious knee injury. He even postponed having knee surgery so that he could take care of his…

RayHanania

‘Civil War’ is an anti-Trump fantasy

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Ray Hanania . We know that the mainstream news media (news and entertainment) harbors an unrelenting hatred of former President Donald Trump. They despise him.ccccc It isn’t surprising someone would produce a movie that taps into that hatred of Trump, even though the director denies it. I am an avid movie-goer.…

CRRNH_CosmoPhotoMDWArmory_032724

Pols want 63rd St. armory for new police HQ

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar push plan in Springfield . By Tim Hadac Any plans the Chicago Department of Aviation may have had for the vacant Army National Guard Midway Armory, 5400 W. 63rd St., may be grounded, at least for now. Several elected officials are eyeing the parcel as the headquarters of a new…

Neighbors

Remembering Lee Milner

Remembering Lee Milner

NEWS TEAM Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com On Wednesday, April 17, the Springfield, Illinois Capitol and journalism communities lost a devoted friend and advocate when Lee Milner passed away. As Dean Olsen wrote in his piece in the Illinois Times earlier this month, “Readers of Illinois Times often have seen Milner’s work as a freelance photojournalist. But…

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois kangaroo owners are one step closer to being forced to surrender their marsupials this week after the House passed a bill criminalizing their possession. That was one of more than 300 bills to pass the House ahead of a Friday procedural deadline.…

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com With a month-and-a-half left in the General Assembly’s spring session, Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is readying its proposal to address Illinois’ chronically underfunded pension system. But the governor this week also acknowledged in the strongest terms yet that any plans to finally get the state on track toward…

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated a partial legislative victory Thursday night when the House passed his initiative to end some practices health insurance companies use to control the amount and cost of health care services individual patients receive. The “Healthcare Protection Act,” House Bill 5395, cleared the…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

By Jennifer Bamberg, Investigate Midwest Originally published April 10, 2024 During the 2023 harvest season, one of Jake Lieb’s tractors quit working. A week later, his combine stopped working, too. Both were new — and he was locked out from making any repairs himself because of software restrictions embedded in the machines.  Instead, a technician…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

By JERRY NOWICKI & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Weeks after two high-profile resignations at the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday appointed the first-ever executive director to help lead the beleaguered agency. To fill the newly created position, the governor tapped Jim Montgomery, who most recently served as director of…

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for stricter gun laws rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for a measure aimed at protecting domestic violence victims and two other criminal justice reforms. The bills are backed by organizations such as Moms Demand Action and One Aim Illinois among others. “These policies support…