By Phil Brozynski
The Illinois High School Association released its 2007 girls volleyball tournament assignments today, and anyone who wanted a quick lesson in Illinois geography lesson sure got one.
Just how close to Naperville is Pekin?
Among a flurry of moves that will surely create some second-guessing, the IHSA’s decision to assign Class 3A and 4A teams to regionals based on geography rather than seeding if they were located outside the seven-county Chicago metropolitan area will raise a few eyebrows.
Two of the best Class 3A teams south of I-80, Bloomington and Morton, find themselves in the same five-team regional at Normal West. Meanwhile, just to the north and west, Metamora, Pontiac, Streator and Washington will vie for some regional hardware.
As usual, most of the best teams in the western suburbs find themselves in the same sectional field. Downers Grove South, Benet Academy, Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley, Plainfield North, Providence and the hosts are among the teams assigned to Naperville North.
Can you imagine one of those teams not winning a REGIONAL?
There was some good news. Annual sectional combatants Barrington and Prairie Ridge, with five straight Class AA semifinal appearances between them, will not stumble all over each other on their way to state this year. They are headed in opposite directions.
The bad news? Both are rebuilding, and likely will not have to worry about reservations in Normal anyway.
Meanwhile, somebody is living right at Wheaton Warrenville South. Not only do the Tigers avoid the Naperville North sectional, they will not even see another serious state title contender until they get to Illinois State.
The IHSA did get one thing right. Barring a major injury or serious coaching guffaw, four of the top six teams in Class 3A – Belleville Althoff, Bloomington, Sycamore, Crystal Lake Central, Joliet Catholic and Wheaton St. Francis – should advance to the semifinals in Normal.
Jeopardy applies to either St. Francis or Joliet Catholic, who could meet in the St. Francis supersectional, and Bloomington or Sycamore, who should collide at Galesburg.