Community sports news

Matt-Prunkle              Matt PrunkleOrland’s Prunkle named St. Laurence soccer coach 
Matt Prunkle, who played soccer at Brother Rice and currently resides in Orland Park, will coach that same sport at St. Laurence beginning next fall.

  Prunkle has spent the past six years as an assistant coach at the collegiate level, with stops at Moraine Valley College, Olivet Nazarene University and St. Xavier University, his alma mater. He has also worked as a coach with Inter FC for a decade, during which time the team has won one state cup and been runner-up another time.
  As a player, Prunkle won the Chicago Catholic League’s Tony Lawless Award as a senior, was named to the all-state soccer team and earned All-Midwest honors. The Crusaders placed fourth at the state tournament that year. At SXU, Prunkle was a two-year captain and all-conference performer in his senior season.

 “I am honored to be joining the St. Laurence family,” said Prunkle, who is teaching history at the school. “The school and athletic department have gone through some major changes in the past few years, and I believe both are set for big things in the near future.

  “I am excited to be part of the changes at St. Laurence and I look forward to the challenge of making the program a consistent contender in the Catholic League and in the state playoffs.”


Mt. Assisi dance team shines at competition
  Mt. Assisi Academy’s dance team withstood the loss of one member to injury well enough to place second in jazz performance and fifth in poms in a competition held at Huntley High School on Jan. 12.
  Making the accomplishments particularly notable was that the team had to successfully incorporate late changes in its routines to compensate for its reduced number of participants. Mt. Assisi team members include Katie O’Leary (Oak Lawn), Taylor Coughlin, Amy Gesiakowski, Juliana Layman, Shyann Koenig, Jorie Pudil, Molly Williams (Orland Park) and Kylie McGivney. Ashley Sproule and Alyssa Signore are the coaches.

Rice splits pair of basketball games
  Brother Rice’s up-and-down basketball tendencies continued last week, despite more heroics from senior Quinn Niego.
  Niego, who set a Crusaders record for most points in one quarter during a 66-46 thrashing of Bishop McNamara the week before, tossed in a career-high 31 last Tuesday to help Rice down Nazareth Academy 69-58. Niego nailed all four of his 3-point attempts and went 9-of-10 both from the field and at the free-throw line. He also collected six rebounds.
  His usual sidekick, Ray Rubio, registered a double-double in support of Niego. Rubio totaled 14 points and 10 rebounds, and also dished out a team-best three assists. Dan Scanlon provided 10 points and four other players scored for the Crusaders, who connected on 48 percent of their shots from the floor and hit 27 of their 31 charity tosses.
  Rice was guilty of only eight turnovers.

  But after recording back-to-back triumphs in rather impressive fashion, the Crusaders stubbed their toes Saturday at Hales Franciscan. The Spartans, who have dominated Rice on their home court through the years, bagged another victory, this time by a 71-58 count.
  A 17-8 scoring advantage in the third quarter proved critical to Hales’ well-being, as it gave the home team an 11-point lead heading into the final frame. The Spartans’ 51 percent accuracy for the game bettered the Crusaders’ effort by eight points.
  Also damaging Rice in the Chicago Catholic League contest was a less-than-satisfactory 53 percent conversion rate at the stripe. Once again, Rubio, Niego and Scanlon represented a three-headed monster for the Crusaders (8-8, 2-4), as they racked up all but 11 of their club’s points.
  Rubio set the pace with 20 points, but Niego supplied a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, plus three assists. Scanlon deposited 10 points.

Athletics events coming to Queen of Peace
  Two athletics-related events will be held at Queen of Peace in the coming weeks.
  The school’s Athletic Hall of Fame will honor its 2014 inductees at a ceremony on Jan. 28. It will follow that night’s basketball game between the Pride and Nazareth Academy.
  In addition, there will be a reception, for which tickets are available at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 10 and under.
  Also on tap is an alumnae volleyball tournament set for Saturday, Feb. 8. The cost is $30 per player or $300 for a team of 10. All players will receive a T-shirt, and proceeds will go toward the purchase price of a new volleyball net and standards, and a Stairmaster for the fitness center.
  For more information or to register, contact Anne O’Neill Malone at 458-7600, ext. 4415.

St. Pat’s wins 5th-grade volleyball title
  St. Patricia’s 5th-grade girls’ volleyball team captured the title of the Crestwood Winter Tournament.
  St. Pat’s defeated St. George 21-13, 22-20 in the championship match. St. Pat’s rallied from a 20-13 deficit to win the second set.

Stagg’s Kelly named to all-state academic team
  Stagg senior Austin Kelly, a two-time member of this paper’s all-area football team, recently added a scholastic honor to his list of accomplishments.
  Kelly, whose career total of 1,389 rushing yards made him the Chargers’ No. 2 ground gainer in the new millennium, earned a spot on the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-State Academic team. Stagg’s former captain sports a 3.8 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

Oak Lawn second at Rice bowling tourney
  With a pinfall total of 5,905, Oak Lawn trailed only Freeport and captured second place at Brother Rice’s Winter Finale bowling event. Ryan Kirby was the Spartans’ top individual with a 1,354 series, which was good for third place overall.
  The host Crusaders, who were fifth as a team with 5,728 pins, boasted the best single-game bowler in Anthony Butler, whose top effort left him just 11 pins shy of a perfect game. St. Laurence’s Manny Sanlhez took fifth with a high game of 267.

Hickory Hills, Palos Hills baseball programs merge
  After years of competing against each other as local rivals, Hickory Hills Youth Baseball and the Palos Hills Baseball Association have merged into one organization.
  The new entity will be known as “Hills Baseball Softball Association,” and provide baseball and softball at all levels for children aged 4-16. HBSA, which will conduct play on fields in both communities, will accept youngsters from throughout the southwest suburbs for recreational participation, as well as for its part-time and full-time travel teams.
  Registration date Feb. 8 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday session will be held at Conrady Junior High School, Roberts Road and 97th Street in Hickory Hills.
  George Czarnik, of Hickory Hills, and Peter Donahue, of Palos Hills, will serve as HBSA president and vice president, respectively. For more information about the new organization or how to become involved with it, contact Czarnik at 599-6983.

Baseball camps announced
  Chicago Christian will host six-week baseball camps during the winter.
  Chicago Christian camp starts Feb. 1 under the guidance of Knights coach and school athletic director Eric Brauer. The camp will be held in conjunction with U.S. Baseball Academy and are open to players in grades 1-12.
  Session will be offered in advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and baserunning. Registration is now underway, and classes are limited to six players per coach.
  For more information on any of three camps, visit or call 1-866-622-4487.

Midwest Elite looking for softball players
  Midwest Elite Diamond 19-and-over women’s fast-pitch softball club is looking for college-rostered players to compete in the summer of 2014.
  The team will play in four local tournaments — including nationals — and two round-robin events. All positions will be considered, but specific needs include pitcher, catcher and infield/slapper. No practices are required.
  For more information, contact Bill Lammel at 289-3438 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Openings for Diamond in the Rough
  Diamond in the Rough fast-pitch softball has player openings in its girls’ windmill pitching, beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
  For more information, call Bill Lammel at 289-3438 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Palos Park to host winter basketball league
  Palos Park, in conjunction with the Palos Heights Recreation Department and Worth Park District, will host a winter basketball league for youngsters in grades 1-8 that will play games each Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 15.
  Each child will have one practice and one game per week, with an emphasis being placed on skills development. Separate leagues will be formed for boys and girls, and play will be conducted in a total of four different age groups.
  For more information, call 671-3760.

 SPORTS BR21 NAZ 20Photo by Jeff Vorva: Quinn Niego gets crowded by Nazareth Academy’s Christian Davis last Tuesday, but the Crusader got free often enough to tally 31 points and lead his team to victory.


Comm-sports Dance-team-2014Submitted photo: Mt. Assisi’s dance team recorded second- and fifth-place finishes at a recent tournament.