Posted On: 04/21/21 7:00 PM

The Windy City Qualifier is traditionally the “Home” event for the Great Lakes Region and the Chicagoland clubs.  This year it will be played in St. Louis for the 15s and 16s this weekend and in Indy the following weekend for 17s.  There are plenty of Illinois teams looking for a bid or looking to upgrade a bid. Lions 15-1 narrowly missed out on an Open bid at MEQ and will be on the hunt for an upgrade to Vegas.  There is also light at the end of the tunnel for Division 1 college coaches to get back on the courts to recruit.  The dead period for recruiting will finish June 1 and coaches will be back out to evaluate June 4.  This weekend will start a wild couple months, but at this point last year there was no volleyball being played at all.  Here are a few names to note this weekend in St. Louis. 

Belak #3 with her Adversity teammates

Alex Belak Alex Belak OH IL – Adversity 15 Adidas

This Adversity team has all the pieces to make a run at an open level qualifier.  I was able to see them at Central Zone, MEQ, and the Great Lakes Region Qualifier where I saw plenty of improvement each tournament.  Libero/DS Alex Belak Alex Belak OH IL provides plenty of coverage in the backrow and is also rock solid in serve receive.  All teams at the open level rely heavily on that first contact to have all of their hitters in system. 

Morgan Jones Morgan Jones OH Crystal Lake South | 2024 IL – Adversity 15 Adidas

Jones plays out on the pin and is a high flyer for this team.  She was a big time point scorer for this squad at the Great Lakes Region Qualifier where they punched their ticket to Vegas, finishing second. She is someone who can come out of the middle as well.  Her versatility provides plenty of upside for this team. 

Grace Nelson Grace Nelson OH Oak Park River Forest | 2024 IL – Lions 15-1

Lions 15-1 just finished outside of getting an Open bid to Vegas at MEQ which was over a month ago.  As champions of the Great Lakes Region, they have their eyes on the prize and Nelson is a key piece as a six rotation outside hitter.  She has great IQ for a pin at the 15s level where she knows how to utilize all of her shots from hard cross, line, and using the roll as well. She is also dangerous on the right side from serve receive.  She can score in bunches. What

Taylor Schroer Taylor Schroer DS/L IL – Michio 15 National 

Shroer is another libero who moves extremely well around the court, getting stopped on contact and can put a pass on the money to get her squad in system.  Michio has attackers like right side Jessica Kurpeikis Jessica Kurpeikis RS Marist | 2024 IL , who can score points with a big swing and if Shroer can continue to anchor the backrow, Michio will be a huge threat to play big matches come Sunday. 

Marin Sanchez Marin Sanchez OH IL – Epic 15 Elite

Major hops on the outside.  Sanchez has a high contact point and really get to the ball and terminate.  She can be a big time point scorer for Epic who is sneaky good with solid ball control and scrappy defense.  Epic is always one of the contenders in the Great Lakes Region and will be competing in the USA Division where they have the top seed in their pool and the 9th overall seed. 

Tricia Kennedy – Sky High 16 Black Adidas

Kennedy brings plenty of strength and size to the frontline for Sky High who will be looking to turn some heads in 16 Open.  She will be playing out of the middle, but with her block she could be utilized as a middle or even a right side.  With her size and athleticism, she will be one to keep tabs on as the live period opens in June. 

Chelsea Williams Chelsea Williams OH Lake Zurich | 2023 IL – Sky High 16 Black Adidas 

Sky High has quite the duo on the pins with Campbell Paris Campbell Paris OH Barrington | 2023 IL and Chelsea Williams Chelsea Williams OH Lake Zurich | 2023 IL .  Paris is 6’4 and Williams is hovering around 5’10 where she can use a variety of shots to score points.  Williams can use her ball control as well and be on to pass, attack, and score points. 


Ava Falduto Ava Falduto DS/L IL – NEW Wave 16 Tsunami 

Falduto is a 2024 libero who plays up an age group on the NEW Wave 16s.  She reads incredibly well and knows how to make difficult plays look easy.  Her platform is under control and she glides across the court, again making every play look extremely smooth and relatively easy.  Illinois teams will definitely be in the hunt come Sunday for a 16 USA bid.