Top-seeded Vernon Hills (10-1) and No. 2 seed Barrington (10-2) will try to evade a minefield of upset-minded contenders when 16 teams from throughout Lake County converge on Vernon Hills, Antioch and Lakes Friday and Saturday for the annual Lake County Tournament.
Vernon Hills' pool on its home court Friday includes Zion-Benton, Libertyville and Waukegan , while Barrington will try to navigate Carmel, Mundelein and host Antioch.
Stevenson (7-2) is the third seed and must get past Deerfield (5-3) in its pool at Lakes while Highland Park is No. 4 and is headed for an encounter with Warren (7-3) at Vernon Hills.
Pool play is at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Championship play begins Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Vernon Hills and the final round is slated for an early 10:15 a.m. tipoff.
Six-foot-6 freshman setter Graham McIlvaine (Hinsdale Central) and Ball State will wrap up the regular season this weekend when they host the Don Shondell/Active Ankle Challenge featuring No. 9 Penn State and St. Francis (Pa.).
Ball State is 17-10 overall (7-5 in the MIVA) and ranked just outside the top 15 (behind Lewis) after losing to Loyola (Chicago) and beating Indiana Purdue- Fort Wayne last week.
McIlvaine, a Chicago Sun-Times All Area selection in 2010, is sharing starting duties in Ball State's 6-2 offense and is averaging 9.84 assists per game.
"He is doing real well," said Hinsdale Central coach Len Serwat, who watched his former standout play recently. "He doesn't look like a freshman out there. He looks like a junior. He touched 11-6 on his jump test at Ball State. He's getting up in the air.
"He's the real deal," Serwat said.
Former Lake Forest star and Sun-Times All Area selection Larry Wrather is Ball State's leading hitter, averaging 2.84 kills per game. He has Led Ball State in kills in four of its last seven matches.
One of Minooka's two losses this season came at the hands of Plainfield North. Minooka coach Janel Grzetich gushed about Tigers' setter Matt Guerrieri, who has guided the Tigers to a 13-1 record.
Grzetich knows a thing or two about setters. Her brother, Doug Burchett, currenty coaching the freshman team at Metea Valley, led Wheaton Warrenville South to back-to-back state titles in 2004 and 2005.
Congratulations to former Libertyville star and Chicago Sun-Times All Area selection Catie Steffen, who signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Rhode Island next fall.