Rocky Tops All: Minooka’s Tennessee-bound Perinar is tabbed 2017 Voyager Media Volleyball Player of the Year

By Mark Gregory
Sports Editor
@Hear_The_Beard
mark@buglenewspapers.com

When it comes to Minooka volleyball, there is no name that is more prominent than Perinar.

And, as the final of the five siblings — that all are, or have, played volleyball at the Division-I level — senior Rocky Perinar just may have saved the best for last.

This season, the youngest Perinar posted 351 kills, 90 blocks, 230 digs and 22 aces. She was named to the All-Southwest Prairie Conference team and helped the Indians to a second-straight IHSA Class 4A second-place trophy.

For her accomplishments, Perinar has been named the 2017 Voyager Media Player of the Year.

“She truly peaked as the season went on,” Minooka coach Carrie Prosek said of Perinar. “During the playoff games, she was the one that got the kills when we needed. (In the state semifinal game against St. Charles North), she was the one that got the kills and her defense picked up and her serve and serve receive.”

Perinar said she put in the work to make her game better to help the team advance as far as possible this season.

“Knowing that this was my last season with all the girls I grew up with, it really got in my head that every point could be my last,” she said. “Putting everything out there every game with the people I love is what I cherished this whole season and putting hard work into every single practice and every single game is what we all did.

“Putting heart into every single practice and growing throughout and being around the people that I have made me push harder every single practice – so it wasn’t all because of me, it was because of the whole team. Every single thing I have done to grow is because of the whole team and I am happy I have the girls behind me and they support me so much.”

Prosek said Perinar is the type of player that does not change her emotion no matter the circumstance.

“Rocky is that type of player that you will never see a different face on her,” Prosek said. “If she is playing bad, she still looks happy. She has that poise on the court and she is positive all the time. She doesn’t need the fame and glory and that is why she doesn’t get it sometimes. I can’t wait for see her play at Tennessee.”

Perinar, an Under Armour All-American r will play next season at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville under coach Rob Patrick, who said, in a release. “Rocky will bring a physicality that will allow her to compete at a high level at the net early in her career. She has the ability to play all six rotations and attack successfully on both pins and through the back row. She presents a physical net presence also with her blocking. We are excited about Rocky’s potential as a back row player.”

Perinar said the choice of schools was not a very hard one.

“It felt just like home there and the warm weather didn’t hurt,” she said of Tennessee. “I think the coaches there are great and are going to push me every practice. I am really excited. I can’t wait to be down there and work hard this summer and hopefully be a big threat down there.”

The rest of the All-Area team is:

Taylor Baranski

Minooka

Senior libero posted 513 Digs, 30 aces and 52 assists for the Indians. Named to the All-SPC team.

“Taylor plays with passion and she takes pride in the skill of passing.” Prosek said. “She is the heart, soul and glue of a team.”

She will play next season at Iowa State.

Holly Bonde

Minooka

Senior tallied 265 kills, 128 blocks, 28 aces and 215 digs this season for Minooka and was named All-SPC.

“While Holly has a gift of being able to swing multiple angles on the court, she is also a strong force on serve receive,” Prosek said. “Her technique with passing is unbreakable.”

She will play next season at Kansas State

Clare Delaplane

Downers North

The senior outside hitter was the MVP of the Trojans, who advanced to the IHSA supersectional this season.

She was the team leader in kills with 315 and in aces with 58 and was second on the team with 273 digs and added 60 blocks.

“She was our No. 1 attacking option and was our most dependable six rotation player,” said North coach Mark Wasik.

She has signed with Villanova University.

Emily Holbrook

Joliet Catholic

Junior outside hitter led the Angels in kills (261), service points (189) and aces (41), while also posting 146 digs.

She was named to the ESCC All-Conference Team as well as the Metea Valley/Oswego East All-Tournament Team.

“Emily has an amazing amount of ability for a girl of her size,” JCA coach Christine Schiebe said. “She is quick, jumps extremely well, and is very strong. Although she is only 5-foot-8, she plays like she is over 6-feet tall. She has worked hard this season to develop new shots and is only going to get better with her work ethic.”

JoDee Kovanda

Lockport

Senior tallied 232 kills with a .334 hit percentage for the Porters to go along with recording 274 assists, 46 aces, 25.5 blocks and 137 digs. All in only 30 matches due to injury.

“JoDee has been one of the hardest workers since she walked into Lockport as a freshman,” said Lockport coach Nick Mraz. “Her hard work paid off as her presence on the court had to be accounted for in the game plan for every team we faced. She was named to the SWSC All-Conference team as well as, Plainfield North Invite All-Tournament and Rich East Invite All-Tournament.”

Lilly Johnson

Benet Academy

Senior outside hitter paced Benet with 276 kills and 26 blocks on the season.

The Bradley University commit was the MVP of the Benet Invite, she was named to the All-Tournament team at the Wheaton Classic, Mizuno and Autumnfest, as well as the ESCC All-Conference team.

“Lilly has been our most consistent offensive player this year,” said Benet coach Brad Baker. “She is the player that when we need a big swing, she takes it.  She was a four-year varsity player and because of this experience, Lilly has also been an important leader for our team.  I feel like Lilly has had a great high school career, but her best volleyball is still ahead for her at Bradley.”

Taylor Landfair

Plainfield Central

The 6-foot-5 sophomore posted 237 kills, 22 aces and 131 digs this season for the Wildcats in only 49 sets played.

“Taylor has the ability to affect the game in so many areas,” said Central coach Erik Vogt. “She’s a very good attacker and can score at will against any block.”

Margaret Mahlke

Downers North

Posted 263 kills, 44 blocks, 187 digs and 24 aces on the season for the sectional champion Trojans.

“Margaret paired with Clare to form one of the top outside hitting duos in the state,” Wasik said. “She was an attack option both front and back row and became a reliable back row defender. She has verbally committed to St. Louis University.”

Natalie Mitchem

Bolingbrook

Junior led the team with 255 kills on 634 attempts.

She also tallied 16 assists, 94 digs and 22 aces on 173 serving attempts.

She was named to the SWSC All-Conference Team.

“She is a three-year varsity starter. Her freshman and sophomore year she was our M1 and we moved her to the outside this year in order to dish her the ball more,” said Bolingbrook coach Molly DeSerf. “She adjusted seamlessly to the new position and quickly became a 6 rotation starter for us. This was her first time playing the back row.”

Hattie Monson

Benet Academy

Sophomore libero, she paced the team in serve receive rating and digs.

The Notre Dame commit also has 31 aces while serving at a 97 percent clip.

She was named to the All-Tournament teams at Benet Invite, Wheaton Classic, and Mizuno and is on the ESCC All-Conference team.

“We have never asked a sophomore to do as much as we ask of Hattie,” Baker said. “Most rotations she passes half of the court and defensively she covers as much ground as any libero in the area. But her serve receive is what sets her apart from other liberos.  She has spent countless hours in the gym to become as good as she is.”

Sarah Nahas

Joliet Catholic

Senior setter was named to the East Suburban Catholic Conference All-Conference team as well as the Metea Valley/Oswego East All-Tournament Team and Asics All-Tournament Team.

She posted 619 assists, 176 digs, 174 service points, 32 aces, 72 kills and 28 blocks on the season.

“Sarah has been a three-year starter for the Angels and has been our captain and emotional leader for the past two seasons,” said coach Christine Schiebe. “She put our hitters in good positions to get kills with her setting and she vocally willed the team to win on several occasions. Her heart and passion just add to physical abilities.”

She will play next season at LaSalle University.

Kessie Olekanma

Downers North

The senior libero tallied 457 digs, which is 6th best in the state according to Maxpreps.

She serve-received at a 96 percent rate and added 62 assists and 20 aces.

“There is not another libero with more quickness, agility, a raw talent than Kessie,” Wasik said. “Having never played libero in high school or club, she was our defensive anchor known for her one-handed dig saves.

“She was extremely exciting to watch this year and other than the Benet libero (Hattie Monson), I wouldn’t want anyone else ahead of her as my libero.”

Alli Papesh

Minooka

Senior led the Indians with 355 kills, while posting 75 blocks, 50 aces and 208 digs. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the SPC.

“Alli has as an inner drive to win and to better herself, and others around her, every practice and game,” Prosek said.

She will play next season at Dayton.

Natalia Pehar

Niles West

Junior outside hitter posted 357 kills with 244 digs, 16 solo blocks and 31 block assists to go along with 37 aces.

Zoey Seput

Minooka

Sophomore setter stepped in and filled a much-needed role, helping Minooka to the state title game.

On the season, she recorded 921 assists, 169 digs, 73 blocks, 28 aces and 23 kills.

“Zoey had a lot of courage to step on to the court with all seniors,” Prosek said. “She had a willingness to learn and improve her skills; she was humble on a winning team.”

Katie Shook 

Plainfield Central

Junior libero tallied 336 digs for the Wildcats. Committed to the University of Alabama.

“Katie was a rock star in the back row during the season,” Vogt said. “She’s a very aggressive defender who loves to attack the ball on defense. She took a majority of the court in serve receive and usually made teams regret serving her.”

Madeline Sielski

Maine East

Senior libero posted a serve receive passer rating of 2.42 on the season. She tallied 465 digs with only 80 errors. She also recorded 20 aces.

“Madeline was the heart of the Maine East volleyball team this season,” said Maine East coach Kevin Bohn. “The best passer and defensive player on the team, she helped lead us to one of the best seasons in Maine East history.

“Her work ethic is remarkable and she has left her mark in Maine East volleyball program at the libero position.”

Ally VanEeckeren 

Benet Academy

The Creighton commit paced Benet in assists and blocks. She posted 786 assists and 59 assists, the most ever by a Redwing setter.

She also posted 23 aces and 93 kills on .315 hitting percentage.

She was All-Tournament at Autumnfest.

Madisen Werdell 

Maine South

The junior libero posted 124 digs in conference, most in the CSL South.

She tallied 452 overall digs on the season.

“She was essential to our serve receive system and we created our offense around Madisen taking most every ball,” said Maine South coach Kathleen Durkin.

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