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The Orland Park Prairie 041218

46 | April 12, 2018 |

46 | April 12, 2018 | The orland park prairie Sports Eye-yi-yi: Staff, students have fun at Classic JEFF VORVA, Sports Editor When Courtney Milligan was growing up in Decatur, she said she was a swimmer. That means she was used to chlorine in her eyes. But the Orland Park School District 135 Crosstown Classic was even tougher on her eyes. Milligan, the assistant principal at Liberty School, was a member of the Liberty staff volleyball team that beat Prairie School staff members 24-26, 25-11, 25- 16 in front of hundreds of fans Thursday, April 5 in the third Crosstown Classic at Jerling Jr. High School. Five minutes before the start of the match, a ball hit her in the right eye hard during warmups. She spent a few minutes smiling, wincing and covering the eye with her hand but proclaimed, “It didn’t hurt.” After the match, Milligan, Liberty Principal Daniel Prorok, Prairie Principal Jeff Nightingale and Prairie Assistant Principal Laurie Patterson all had pies thrown in their faces as a part of a raffle. Both of Milligan’s eyes took a beating after that, but she still maintained a smile. Interestingly, the pregame shot to the right peeper came courtesy of Prairie’s Lauren Billo. Billo has gone through some pain of her own this school year. She is an assistant girls volleyball coach, at Sandburg and injured her Achilles while coaching in the fall and needed surgery in October. She was seen scooting around on a scooter during some matches. This was her first volleyball action since the surgery. “That felt good,” she said after the match. “I was a little nervous and tentative at first. But it was fun.” Billo is a co-coach of Prairie’s eighth-grade volleyball team with Bill Zopf. Liberty has made it threefor-three in Crosstown wins. Rebecca Reitz, who works with Marla Erdmann, Courtney Luckhard, Dolly Mc- Namara and Margaret Stoklosa on the Volleyball Game Committee, said money raised from the event goes to the Prairie Elementary Parents for Education organization, as well as the Liberty School Parents for Education group. RIGHT: Young Liberty School fans cheer during the Crosstown Classic on Thursday, April 5, at Jerling Junior High. PHOTOS BY JEFF VORVA/22ND CENTUREY MEDIA. Prairie’s Lauren Billo played volleyball for the first time since having surgery on her Achilles in October. Liberty Principal Daniel Prorok took a pie to the face after his team’s volleyball win over Prairie. Sports The orland park prairie | April 12, 2018 | 47 fastbreak THURSDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK Plenty of great sporting events are close by JEFF VORVA/22ND CENTURY MEDIA 1st and 3 SOME NUMBERS ABOUT SANDBURG’S BOYS VOLLEYBALL TEAM (ABOVE) IN WHAT HAS BEEN A ROUGH SEASON SO FAR. 1. 1-1 The Eagles were 1-1 at home and 1-1 as visitors in their first 13 matches. They were 3-6 in neutral matches. 2. 7 Sandburg played seven three-set matches in its first 13 matches. The Eagles were 3-4 in those contests. 3. 2 The Eagles played Brother Rice two times this year. They lost 25-22, 25-21 to open the season on March 20 in Chicago and dropped a closer 23-25, 25-21, 25-22 setback in the semifinals of the Vernon Hills Tournament on March 24. Jeff Vorva So, this is a hyperlocal paper and 99 percent of the time, we will be writing about Tinley Park (in The Junction) and Orland Park (in The Prairie) athletes and events in this section. But as long as people in our communities have cars and we have a few special arenas within driving distance, I will use this space on occasion to write about some happenings at Chicagoland Speedway, Route 66 Raceway and Route 66 Stadium in Joliet, Standard Bank Park in Crestwood, and Toyota Park in Bridgeview. Will we devote 10 pages to the big NASCAR race on July 1 at the speedway? Heck no. We may not even devote 10 words to it. But if there is something cool going on at the track, we will try to let you know about it — especially if there is a local angle. We want to tell the stories of some local racers and drag Officials at Standard Bank Stadium, which hosted an Andrew/Sandburg baseball game in March, plan to host events every day at the park, whether they are high school, college or travel league games. JEFF VORVA/22ND CENTURY MEDIA racers who will participate in the smaller race circuits. Oh, and the president of both tracks, Scott Paddock, is an Orland Park resident. Insiders say that Standard Bank Stadium will host events every day this spring and summer — weather permitting of course — including high school and college baseball games, travel league tournaments and its main attraction, the Windy City Thunderbolts. Orland Park native and Frontier League All-Star Kyle Wood is expected to return for his third season with the Bolts. Keep an eye out for him. Keep your ears open for the Bolts’ announcer. He is Jon Zaghloul and he goes to Andrew High School. He doesn’t have his diploma yet but he is good enough to beat out experienced adults for the gig. The team had a handful of players head to affiliated organizations in 2017, so the quality of baseball is usually decent, although there are moments. Plus, on Thursdays when the Thunderbolts play, they host wrestling shows after the game with a special guest. One of the special guests this year is the Iron Sheik. Decades ago, I interviewed Mr. Sheik and learned that the guy who made his money getting booed while singing the Iranian national anthem and spitting on the American flag actually helped coach United States Olympic wresting hopefuls. That ranks up there as one of my favorite columns. Although Standard Bank is probably too busy to do this now, it was cool that in March it was able to host several high school games. When Andrew and Sandburg needed a park on March 28 for their rivalry game, the two District 230 teams were able to use the turf field in Crestwood. Back in Joliet, Silver Cross Field is now known as Route 66 Stadium and, before I get to chatty about what is happening there, we have to see when the field will actually be ready for play. Field Turf was supposed to replace the grass field and as of early April, the weather was not cooperating and the field was not draining properly. No turf was laid down. The May 15 Slammers home opener could be in jeopardy. Let’s hope that these setbacks don’t interfere with the Illinois High School Association Class 3A and 4A baseball state championships. Toyota Park is the home of the Chicago Fire. Yes, the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and now Sister Jean’s Loyola Ramblers have a higher profile in the Chicago area than the Fire but Bastian Schweinsteiger is an international star and Nemanja Nikolic is an amazing goal scorer. So, we will keep an eye on some of these places in the coming months. It should be a fun spring and summer ahead. LISTEN UP “I really don’t see us losing many more times. We have to get the energy and the momentum up.” Jake Ostema — Sandburg’s middle hitter on his volleyball team’s 5-8 start What 2 Watch Baseball - 4:30 p.m. April 18 • Tinley Park visits Sandburg on an afternoon that the Eagles will honor former coach Doug Sutor in a retirement ceremony. INDEX 43 - High School Highlights 42 - Athlete of the Week Compiled by Sports Editor Jeff Vorva,