Timothy Christian will host a Class 3A regional referred to in many circles as the "Regional of Doom" because of the presence of defending state champion St. Francis and powerhouse teams from Montini and Nazareth.
Let the football folks complain all they want about seeding. They ain't got nothin' on volleyball.
Take Timothy Christian, for example. The Trojans are a respectable 27-8 and co-champions of the Metro Suburban Conference. Yet they are no better than a No. 5 seed in a six-team regional that they host beginning Monday.
St. Francis (32-3) is the No. 1 seed. Nazareth (28-6) is No. 2. Montini (28-3) is No. 3.
That's like putting Mt. Carmel, Lake Zurich and Glenbard West in the same four-team bracket of the Class 7A football playoffs. Or Loyola, Bolingbrook and Glenbard North in the same 8A football foursome. Three of the best volleyball teams in Class 3A in the same regional. Ridiculous.
But you won't hear volleyball coaches complain. Why? It wouldn't do any good. Glenbard South coach Chad Grant got so tired of butting heads with St. Francis in a regional every year that he opted to move up to Class 4A. At least there the Raiders have a shot to win a regional, he thought.
Lo and behold, Glenbard South not only has a chance to win a regional, the Raiders are the No. 1 seed in the Morton sectional. Meanwhile, Geneva and Batavia, which beat Glenbard South, are the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds at Geneva.
But the "Regional of Doom" is just one example of the folly that is the IHSA volleyball tournament.
How about the Antioch Class 3A super-sectional, where the top five seeds are Burlington Central, Johnsburg, Lakes, Regina Dominican and (Chicago) Latin? Montini and Nazareth would gladly hop a bus north to join that group.
Or the Gordon Tech regional, which could come down to Westinghouse or Gordon Tech (I didn't even know Gordon Tech had girls?). Timothy Christian won't even get a thank-you note for hosting and one of those two teams can walk home with a regional plaque?
Remember last year's Class 4A girls volleyball sectional at Neuqua Valley? The 23-team sectional that was overnight converted into four ridiculously unbalanced regionals?
The IHSA claimed the move was necessary to accommodate Yorkville, which was bumped up to 4A by the association's new 25-25-25-25 enrollment split when assigning schools to certain sports. The IHSA said that Yorkville was not located in the "Chicagoland Box."
The move sent Oswego East, Oswego, Plainfield East, Plainfield North and Yorkville to Plainfield North; Bolingbrook, Lemont, Lockport. Plainfield Central. Plainfield South and Romeoville to Romeoville; and Aurora East, Metea Valley, Rosary and West Aurora to Waubonsie Valley.
That left Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South, Benet, Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley and Naperville North in one regional at Central. Three of the top four teams in the sectional - Benet, Central and Naperville North - in one six-team regional.
There was thought at the time that the IHSA would not treat boys basketball similarly, thus incurring the wrath of dozens of athletic directors and coaches and hundreds and hundreds of fans, and lo and behold, it did not.
But apparently, one year later, girls volleyball is still being treated like a second-class citizen.
Last weekend, Crystal Lake Central shocked Rockford Boylan 25-12, 25-22 to win the Doug Blundy Memorial Tournament. Central also beat Sycamore, Marian Central, McHenry and Richmond-Burton, none of which broke the 20-point barrier against the Tigers.
"Our team played some pretty great defense the entire match (against Boylan)," Central coach Lisa Reddish said. "I would say that our defensive players really stepped up this weekend."
Leading the way for Crystal Lake Central offensively was Lauren Leverenz, a 6-foot senior middle hitter who has committed to St. Louis University.
"Lauren is having a great season," Central coach Lisa Reddish said. "She's surrounded on the court by her best friends, most of which happen to be her teammates since we have 10 seniors on this year's varsity roster."
Leverenz had 19 kills Thursday in the Tigers' regular-season finale, a 25-23, 25-21 loss to rival Crystal Lake South. But the two teams should meet again next week in the championship game of the Dundee-Crown regional.
Look out for St. Charles North. The North Stars have put their mid-season slump behind them and won the Minooka Invite last weekend, beating Minooka 25-15, 25-23 in the semifinals and Normal West 25-17, 25-16 in the finals.
Taylor Krage led the North Stars with 37 kills, seven aces and 20 digs. Daley Krage added 23 kills, Sophia DuVall had 26 kills and 10 blocks, while Emily Carroll had 14 kills, 12 blocks, and 5 aces. Alex Seavey led the defense with 23 digs, Sydney Wohlert dished out 42 assists and Taryn DalDegan had 47 assists.
Joining MVP Courtney Joyce of Mother McAuley on the all-tournament team at last weekend's Autumnfest tournament hosted by Glenbard East were Ryann DeJarld (Mother McAuley), Meg DeMaar (Glenbard West), Natalie Schilling (Glenbard West) and Rachel Minarick (Waubonsie Valley).
Also, Carly Nolan (Crystal Lake South), Anne Hughes (St. Charles East), Katherine Mahlke (Downers Grove North), Caroline Wolf (Benet), Kelsey O'Neill (Loyola), Phoebe Havenaar (Naperville Central), Allie Marthaler (Providence) Julia Shemaitis (Joliet Catholic) and Emily Casaletto (Barrington).
Making plans to go watch some volleyball? Here are some matches you might like to go see (providing the top seeds win out, of course, which never happens):
Monday, October 28 (regional quarterfinals)
Plainfield East vs. Joliet West at Plainfield East, 7:00 p.m.
Yorkville vs. Aurora West at Yorkville, 7:00 p.m.
Bolingbrook vs. Joliet Central at Boingbrook, 7:00 p.m.
WW South vs. Romeoville at Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m.
Timothy Christian vs. Wheaton Academy at Timothy, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 29, (regional semifinals)
Benet vs. Plainfield East at Plainfield East, 6:00 p.m.
Lockport vs. Naperville Central at Plainfield East, 7:00 p.m.
Naperville North vs. Yorkville at Yorkville, 6:00 p.m.
Neuqua Valley vs. Plainfield Central at Yorkville, 7:00 p.m.
Waubonsie Valley vs. Bolingbrook at Bolingbrook, 6:00 p.m.
Lemont vs. WW South at Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m.
Plainfield North vs. Oswego East at Metea Valley, 6:00 p.m.
Metea Valley vs. Oswego at Metea Valley, 7:00 p.m.
Whitney Young vs. Riverside-Brookfield at Proviso West, 7:00 p.m.
Oak Park vs. Kennedy at Reavis, 6:00 p.m.
De La Salle vs. Reavis at Reavis, 7:00 p.m.
Sandburg vs. Andrew at Andrew, 6:00 p.m.
T.F. South vs. Richards at Andrew, 7:00 p.m.
Marist vs. Oak Forest at Marist, 6:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Way East vs. Shepard at Marist, 7:00 p.m.
McAuley vs. Crete-Monee at TF North, 6:00 p.m.
Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Oak Lawn at TF North, 7:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Way North vs. Marian at Marian, 6:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Way Central vs. Stagg at Marian, 7:00 p.m.
St. Charles East vs. Glenbard East at York, 6:00 p.m.
York vs. Elgin Larkin at York, 7:00 p.m.
St. Francis vs. Timothy Christian at Timothy Christian, 6:00 p.m
Montini vs, Nazareth Academy at Timothy Christian, 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 31 (regional finals)
DeKalb vs. Huntley at Rockford Jefferson, 6:00 p.m.
Crystal Lake South vs. Crystal Lake Central at Dundee-Crown, 6:00 p.m.
Benet vs. Naperville Central at Plainfield East, 6:00 p.m.
Naperville North vs. Plainfield Central at Yorkville, 6:00 p.m.
Waubonsie Valley vs. Lemont at Bolingbrook, 6:00 p.m.
Plainfield North vs. Metea Valley at Metea Valley, 6:00 p.m.
St. Ignatius vs. Lyons at St. Ignatius, 6:00 p.m.
Downers North vs. Whitney Young at Proviso West, 6:00 p.m.
Glenbard South vs. Hinsdale Central at Hinsdale South, 6:00 p.m.
Oak Park vs. De La Salle at Reavis, 6:00 p.m.
Sandburg vs. T.F. South at Andrew, 6:00 p.m.
Marist vs. Lincoln-Way East at Marist, 6:00 p.m.
McAuley vs. Homewood-Flossmoor at TF North, 6:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Way North vs. Lincoln-Way Central at Marian, 6:00 p.m.
St. Charles East vs. York at York, 6:00 p.m.
St. Charles North vs. Wheaton North at South Elgin, 6:00 p.m.
Geneva vs. Batavia at Addison Trail, 6:00 p.m.
Glenbard West vs. Schaumburg at West Chicago, 6:00 p.m.
Joliet Catholic vs. Providence at Aurora Central Catholic, 6:00 p.m.
St. Francis vs. Nazareth Academy at Timothy Christian, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 5 (sectional semifinals)
DeKalb vs. Warren at Belvidere North, 6:00 p.m.
Boylan vs. Crystal Lake South at Belvidere North, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Zurich vs. Libertyville at Conant, 6:00 p.m.
Carmel vs. Stevenson at Conant, 7:00 p.m.
Benet vs. Waubonsie Valley at Plainfield South, 6:00 p.m.
Naperville North vs. Plainfield North at Plainfield South, 7:00 p.m.
Glenbard South vs. Lyons at at Morton, 6:00 p.m.
Downers North vs. De La Salle at Morton, 7:00 p.m.
McAuley vs. Lincoln-Way North at Sandburg, 6:00 p.m.
Sandburg vs. Marist at Sandburg, 7:00 p.m.
Glenbard West vs. Geneva at Geneva, 6:00 p.m.
St. Charles North vs. St. Charles East at Geneva, 7:00 p.m.
New Trier vs. Niles North at New Trier, 6:00 p.m.
Loyola vs. Maine South at New Trier, 7:00 p.m.
Joliet Catholic vs. St. Francis at Coal City, 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 7 (sectional finals)
DeKalb vs. Crystal Lake South/Boylan winner at Belvidere North, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Zurich vs. Carmel at Conant, 7:00 p.m.
Benet vs. Plainfield North at Plainfield South, 7:00 p.m.
Glenbard South vs. Downers North at Morton, 7:00 p.m.
McAuley vs. Marist at Sandburg, 7:00 p.m.
Glenbard West vs. St. Charles North at Geneva, 7:00 p.m.
New Trier vs. Loyola at New Trier, 7:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Way West vs. St. Francis at Coal City, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 9 (supersectionals)
DeKalb vs. Crystal Lake South/Boylan winner vs. Lake Zurich winner at Huntley, 6:30 p.m.
Quincy vs. Benet at Normal Community, 1:00 p.m.
Glenbard South vs. McAuley at Lyons, 1:00 p.m.
Glenbard West vs. New Trier at St. Charles East, 7:00 p.m.
St. Francis vs. Chicago Christian at Joliet Catholic, 7:00 p.m.