Mother McAuley's Ellie White, a Michigan recruit, earned a national player of the year award in volleyball. Photo courtesy of Mother McAuley

Mother McAuley's Ellie White, a Michigan recruit, earned a national player of the year award in volleyball. Photo courtesy of Mother McAuley

Area Sports Roundup: Mother McAuley has another national POY; Red Stars’ scorer has new last name

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff writer

How many national players of the year can one team have?

If you are the Mother McAuley volleyball team, you can have more than one. The Class 4A state champions are cornering the market in that regard.

Less than a month after senior Gigi Navarrete won a national player of the year honor, teammate Ellie White earned one of her own.

It was announced last week that White was named PrepVolleyball.com National Junior Player of the Year. In December, she was named vballrecruiter.com Junior Player of the Year.

White, a Michigan recruit, had 542 kills and had a .348 attacking percentage. She averaged 19.5 kills and 11.5 digs in the  postseason as the team captured its 16th state title.

Navarrete was voted as the best high school player in the nation by the public in early December in a vote conducted by Scorebooklive.com.

SWANSON scaled

Red Stars standout Mallory Pugh is now known as Mallory Swanson after getting married toward the end of the year. Photo by Jeff Vorva

 

Mallory Who?
The soccer star who was formerly known as Mallory Pugh has a name change. The Chicago Red Stars scoring machine is now going by Mallory Swanson.

In December, she married major league shortstop Dansby Swanson, who inked a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Swanson received some big news to open the new year as she was named to the 24-player roster for the U.S. Women’s National team for the coming World Cup. Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher also made the team.

Despite the fact that Red Stars fans were hoping that Orland Park’s Tatumn Milazzo would earn a spot on the squad, she was not one of the eight defenders selected.

 

Another Red Stars departure
Red Stars defender Zoe Morse will not return to the Chicago Red Stars next season. Her contract expired and she opted to play in the Women’s Super League in England for Brighton.

“Zoe showed great leadership and tenacity this season when she was asked to play a role in our defense that she was not expecting at the start of the season,” Red Stars associate general manager Michelle Lomnicki stated a news release. “Zoe has a bright future ahead of her, both on and off the field.”

Morse made 100 clearances, 11 blocks and 20 interceptions in 2023 while completing over 80 percent of her passes and winning 64 percent of her duels. Morse also contributed to the offense by recording one assist.

With Morse leaving the team, the Red Stars have only 17 players on the roster.

Since the end of the 2022 season, Morse and Sarah Luebbert were out of contract and left to play in other countries. Rachel Hill, Danny Colaprico, Morgan Gautraut and Vanessa DeBernardo left as free agents. Sarah Woldmoe retired while Mikenna McManus and Channing Foster were waived.

Kealia Watt’s status is still up in the air as she has not signed and hasn’t indicated if she will stay or go.

As of Sunday, the team has not picked up any free agents.

 

NCCAA tourney coming to TCC
Trinity Christian College will host the National Christian College Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball Invitational on Jan 27-28 in Palos Heights.

Trinity Christian, Judson, Lancaster Bible College, Geneva College, Olivet Nazarene, Carolina University and Maranatha Baptist comprise the seven-team tournament.

Aside from battling on the volleyball court, teams will have the opportunity to participate in a Christian service project.

 

Media love for Love
Former Nazareth football star Julian Love, a safety for the New York Giants, won the 22nd George Youn-Ernie Accorsi Media Good Guy Award.

The vote was conducted by the New York Chapeter of the Professional Football Writers Association for his professionalism as well his availability during the 2022 season.

 

Baseball bonanza
Baseball season is a few months away, but Brother Rice is getting excited about participating in the 10th National High School Invitational from March 29-April 1 in Cary, North Carolina.

Strong teams from Florida, Georgia, California, Oregon, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada will compete.

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