By Phil Brozynski
It's been a bad week for ranked teams.
No. 3 Buffalo Grove, No. 5 Neuqua Valley, No 6 Hinsdale Central and No. 7 St. Francis all went down this week.
Buffalo Grove (26-5) was stunned in three games Wednesday by Fremd (28-6) in the Mid-Suburban League championship game, snapping a streak of 15 consecutive league wins by the Bison.
Neuqua Valley (31-3) was derailed Monday by Minooka, whose only previous claim to fame was a 25-10, 25-21 whipping by Hinsdale Central earlier this year. Neuqua Valley and Minooka should meet again next Wednesday in the regional title game at Neuqua.
Hinsdale Central (30-4) lost Thursday at Morton (25-5), which got 15 kills from 5-11 outside hitter Jonathan Hernandez Hernandez had 10 kills in Morton's win over Addison Trail on Tuesday which clinched the Mustangs' second West Suburban Gold title.
St. Francis (28-7) was upended by Lyons, but setter Mike Segneri sat out for precautionary reasons. Segneri has been battling illness the last couple of weeks, but is expected to be well enough to play in next week's regional.
Meanwhile, the Catholic League tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at St. Ignatius, and unlike previous years when it was a mere formality and the crowning of Brother Rice was a given, any of five teams has a legitimate chance to walk off with the league title.
Loyola (26-4), with junior Reis Foster on the outside, is the No. 1 seed, followed by Brother Rice, despite its 16-14 overall record. St. Rita (18-9), which played so well early in the season, is seeded fifth behind St. Ignatius (23-6) and Providence.
The championship is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Finally, here are my picks (you can add your own) for the state quarterfinals June 5: Neuqua Valley vs. Wheaton Warrenville South, St. Patrick vs. Morton, Buffalo Grove vs. Fremd, Loyola vs. Marist.
Semifinal pairings? Who knows, but WW South and Marist should meet in the finals. And if WW South plays anything like it did when the two teams met at Richards earlier this month, the Tigers will win their third consecutive state title.
Let the drama begin.