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Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: BR baseball and McAuley volleyball make big offseason news

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

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What month is this?

Oh, yeah, it’s January.

What high school season is this?

Oh yeah, it’s basketball, wrestling, boys swimming, bowling, girls gymnastics, competitive dance and cheerleading seasons.

I almost forgot thanks to those schools next to each other in Chicago – Brother Rice and Mother McAuley.

They have me all messed up.

These two schools have been making big news in non-winter sports with Rice’s baseball team receiving a historic bid to a national tournament and McAuley still basking in its state and national volleyball championships.

First off, Brother Rice accepted a bid to play in the sixth USA Baseball National High School Tournament March 29-April 1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

This is the first time a team from Illinois will compete.

This will be the first time any team from the Midwest will compete.

USA Baseball Executive Directors and CEO Paul Seiler boasted that Bother Rice and the other 15 teams are the top high school programs in the country and will embark intruly a one-of-a-kind competitive and developmental experience for these players and programs." 

Each team is guaranteed four games.

The Crusaders will have a roster of players who are no strangers to travelling as many of them have played all over the country on their travel teams.

The Crusaders had a 35-4 mark last spring and was upset in sectional play by St. Laurence. In the summer they finished second in the Lawler Summer Tournament, which features a healthy amount of quality Chicago area teams.

Ryan Kutt (who committed to Illinois), Ryan King (Michigan State), Jack Guzek (Indiana State), Sam Jones (Indiana) and Jake Ridgway (Indiana State) are big-time players for the Crusders and an army of younger players will be getting huge experience and exposure in this competition.

Weather permitting, the Crusaders will have a few cold warmup games against Whitney Young March 16, hosting Morgan Park March 17, at Plainfield North March 18, at Lyons Township, March 20 and at St. Xavier High School in Kentucky, March 25.

As for McAuley volleyball, the attaboys just keep coming. PrepVolley.com, USA Today/AVCA and MaxPreps named the Macs national champions in December and the honors keep rolling in.

What honor did junior hitter Charley Niego win since last week’s deadline for our paper?

Oh, she just won the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year.

Think about this – in all the years McAuley has been great in volleyball, this is the first time a Mighty Mac won the Gatorade award.

She also was a third-team member of the USA Today High School Sports national team.

The team was honored with a resolution at a Cook County Board of Commissioners’’ meeting last week.    

There might be a few more honors and national championship banner ceremonies in store and don’t discount the possibility of seeing these players throwing out a first pitch or singing during the seventh-inning stretch of a Cubs game.

These are exciting times for the two schools.

Now let me check the calendar again…