Girls volleyball: Barrington enters postseason on a roll
The race to Normal for the state girls volleyball championship is underway.
For many teams from Cook and Lake counties, the road to reaching Illinois State's Redbird Arena begins with the Class 4A Warren Class 4A sectional, one of the toughest in the state.
"It's very loaded," said Barrington coach Michelle Jakubowski, whose Mid-Suburban League champion Fillies have been ranked as one of the top teams in the state all season and enter the postseason with a sterling record of 34-1. "Any of the top seven teams could win it. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks we can be on the winning end. The girls are playing hard and working hard. I'm proud of them."
All regional semifinals begin at 6 p.m. with the second matches at about 7 p.m. and the championships are set for Thursday at 6 p.m.
The top-seeded Fillies, who were fourth in Class 4A last fall, will host their own regional, facing either No. 16 Waukegan or No. 17 Zion-Benton in Tuesday's opener. The second semifinal features No. 8 Palatine against No. 9 Mundelein.
No. 2 Glenbrook South (29-1) also hosts its own regional, and opens up on Tuesday against the winner of No. 14 Wheeling and No. 18 Round Lake. The second semi matches No. 7 Stevenson (24-11) and No. 10 Buffalo Grove.
"Barrington (only loss to Huntley in 3 sets on Sept. 21) and Glenbrook South (only loss to Loyola in 3 sets on Sept. 7) have set themselves apart with only one loss during the regular season," said Patriots coach Tim Crow. "Both are hosting regionals which will make it a tough road for other teams. There are many teams in this sectional that have 20-plus wins which could make things interesting. This sectional is deep and the four teams who make it to sectional will have definitely earned it."
Another one of those 20-match winners is Libertyville (27-8), the No. 3 seed which is participating in the Lake Zurich regional.
Coach Greg Loika's Wildcats open Tuesday against No. 13 Glenbrook North while the host Bears (21-10), seeded No. 6, take on No. 11 Prospect in the second semifinal.
"We have a tough assignment playing at Lake Zurich," Loika said. "And Prospect is also playing great lately."
The fourth regional is hosted by Highland Park.
No. 4 Warren (26-9) faces the host and No. 15 seeded Giants in the opener while No. 5 Hersey (23-9), the Mid-Suburban East champion, meets No. 12 Grant in the nightcap.
The Huskies (23-12) lost a two-set match to Barrington for the MSL title in which they led 22-17 in the second set.
"We are playing well and should be ready to go," said first-year Hersey coach Laura Gerber, the former Prospect coach. "We'd like to get a chance to see them (Barrington) again but there's going to be great competition in this sectional."
"There is a ton of strength at the top of the sectional in Barrington and Glenbrook South," the veteran Libertyville coach said. "Then there are great teams in the next several slots who can compete for a regional title."
The final four playing for a spot in the Dundee-Crown supersectional on Nov. 4 will be power-packed.
"I would be hard pressed to pick winners in regionals this time around depending on who's playing well," Loika added. "Just about anyone in this sectional in the top 7 teams can win a regional for sure. Stevenson is a dangerous 7 seed, Warren and Hersey should be a battle at 4 and 5."
Class 4A Fremd sectional:
Fremd (22-9), which took fourth in the 2001 state finals, is hosting the Class 4A sectional which feature No. 1 seed Loyola (27-8) from Wilmette.
First-year Vikings coach Pete Gavin will send his No. 5 seeded team out against No. 11 and regional host Evanston in Tuesday's opener while No. 4 Niles West and No. 13 Maine West meet in the second semifinal.
No. 6 Rolling Meadows competes at the Lake Park regional and faces No. 12 Niles North in Tuesday's second semifinal. The opener matches No. 3 Lake Park and No. 14 Taft.
Loyola hosts its own regional with No. 16 Elk Grove and No. 17 Von Steuben as the play-in rivals.
Tuesday's second semifinal matches No. 8 Maine South and No. 10 Hoffman Estates (18-15).
No. 9 Conant hosts its own regional and opens against No. 7 Schaumburg in Tuesday's second match. The opener matches No. 2 New Trier and No. 15 Maine East.
Class 3A Vernon Hills sectional:
Coach Chris Curry's Cougars (27-5-2-) are top seeded in their own sectional and face No. 16 Resurrection or No. 17 Senn in Tuesday's semifinal. The second semi matches No. 8 Lakes against No. 9 Carmel.
Coach Charlie Curtin's St. Viator Lions (26-9) earned the top seed in the Wauconda regional and plays the winner of the No. 13 Wauconda and No. 18 Mather play-in match.
No. 7 Cary Grove and No. 10 Antioch face off in the nightcap.
Grayslake North, seeded No. 6 in the Lake Forest regional, meets No. 11 Ridgewood in the second semifinal on Tuesday. No. 3 Lake Forest is the highest seed in its own regional.
No. 5 Grayslake Central (24-10) hosts its own regional and meets No. 12 Amundsen in Tuesday's second semifinal. The winner meets either No. 4 Deerfield or No. 14 Northside.
Class 4A Proviso West sectional:
Coach Danielle Sitkowski's No. 15-seeded Leyden Eagles face No. 2 St. Charles East in Tuesday's opener of the Saints' regional. No. 7 Hinsdale Central and No. 10 West Chicago meet in the second semifinal.