By Phil Brozynski
The statewide sectional seeding meetings will be held Wednesday, and coaches will have some interesting decisions to make.
Four teams can make a legitimate argument for the No. 1 seed at the Class 3A Crete-Monee sectional, which features Lemont (15-1), Joliet Catholic (18-2), Oak Forest (17-1) and Evergreen Park (18-0). Joliet Catholic may get the nod based on reputation, but Lemont may be the best team in the field.
On the other hand, after Payton (26-1) snags the top seed at the Class 3A (River Forest) Trinity sectional, who will round out the top four?
Five teams are top-four worthy at the Class 4A York sectional - St. Charles East (19-1), Geneva (18-1), York (20-4), Bartlett and Wheaton Warrenville South. Wheaton South has played the toughest schedule, but will that impress the voters?
Hersey (18-3), Lake Zurich (18-2) and Fremd (16-5) should be the top three seeds at Barrington, while Benet (19-0), Naperville North (18-1), Naperville Central (18-2) and Downers Grove South (17-6) should go Nos. 1-4 at Downers South.
The nod at DeLaSalle should go to a steadily improving Lyons team over St. Ignatius, while Mother McAuley's sectional title at Andrew is mere formality.
Is there a hotter team in Illinois than Mother McAuley?
After losing their season opener at Downers Grove South, the Mighty Macs reeled off 17 consecutive wins including a victory over Nike Challenge champion Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) before faltering late against St. James (Kansas City, Kan.) at the Nike Challenge.
The streak helped catapult Mother McAuley into the 18th spot (up 23 spots) in the October 2 PrepVolleyball.com national rankings. The Mighty Macs leapfrogged both Naperville Central and Naperville North.
Benet Academy remained the highest ranked Illinois team, checking in at No. 3 after last week's big win over visiting Downers Grove South. Ariana Mankus had 17 kills for Benet, while Jessica Jendryk added eight kills and two blocks.
Naperville North checked in at No. 22, down two spots from the previous week, followed by Naperville Central (25th, down three spots), St. Charles East (35th, up two spots), No. 63 Lemont (ranked for the first time), No. 90 St. Francis and No. 93 Downers Grove South.
Teams on the bubble include: Bloomington, Breese Mater Dei, Burlington Central, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Edwardsville, Freeburg, Geneva, Hampshire, Joliet Catholic, Lemont, Metamora and St. Francis.