Can super sophomore Molly Haggerty lead St. Francis to another state title with older sister Maddie sidelined with a torn labrum?
Mother McAuley held on to the No. 7 spot in Prepvolleyball.com's latest Century Club National Rankings after taking down Crete-Monee and Homewood-Flossmoor in the Class 4A regional last week.
St. James (41-0) of Lenexa, Kansas, which is shooting for its sixth consecutive state title, retained its hold on the No. 1 ranking after defeating Blue Valley Southwest in a sub-state meeting.
St. Francis remained No. 15 after surviving a three-setter in a regional semifinal against host Timothy Christian and a strong challenge from Montini in the championship at last week's Class 3A regional in Elmhurst.
Plainfield North dropped 25 spots to No. 80 from No. 55 after losing to Oswego East during the final week of the regular season, and Glenbard West moved up five spots to No. 69. Crystal Lake South also broke into the rankings for the first time at No. 99.
Naperville North, which did not lose, fell out of the rankings.
Teams on the bubble (listed alphabetically) are: Benet, Bloomington, Rockford Boylan, Breese Central, Crystal Lake Central, Dakota, DeKalb, Edwardsville, Geneva, Keith Country Day, Lake Zurich, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Marist, Mater Dei, Montini, Naperville North, Nazareth, New Trier, Sandburg, Springfield, St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Stevenson and Waubonsie Valley.
Mt. Pulaski coach Donna Dulle joined some exclusive company Thursday when the Hilltoppers outlasted Hartsburg-Emden 27-25, 28-26 to win the Class 1A regional at Mason City Illini Central.
The win was No. 1,000 for the 32-year veteran, who has taken teams to state 12 times in her career and won two state titles (1989, 2007). Only St. Francis' Peg Kopec and former Breese Mater Dei coach Fred Rakers have won more games than Dulle.
Cady Lowery, one of only three seniors on the team, understatedly mastered the moment.
"I was a freshman when she got 900, and I never really put two and two together, that she could get 1,000 while I was in high school," she said.
Mount Pulaski was scheduled to face Roanoke-Benson in the Hartsburg-Emden sectional on Tuesday.
Sophomore Gabby Pethokoukis (Benet) registered a career-high 19 kills on 35 hits (.429) and added seven blocks, but Villanova (12-11, 4-6) came up just short November 2 in a 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 12-25, 16-14 loss to Georgetown in a Big East Conference battle in Washington, D.C.
Six-foot-1 junior middle hitter Mary Boken of St. Francis recently committed to Clemson. Boken is the second area athlete to commit to Clemson, joining Plainfield North setter Kate Federico. The Tigers are currently 12-11 including 6-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Oak Lawn varsity boys volleyball coach Matt Hunt is looking to fill a few openings on his team's schedule this spring. He is also looking for a sophomore tournament to add to his program's schedule. If interested, contact Hunt through the school's athletic department at (708) 741-5624.
It's not too early to think about girls basketball.
Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, two teams that will be in the top five when the Sun-Times rankings come out later this month, headline the 2013 Mac Irvin Diabetes Awareness Classic at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at Elgin Larkin.
Young returns 6-5 senior center Khaalia Hillsman and 5-11 senior forward Taylor Brame from last year's third-place Class 4A finisher and welcomes 5-8 sophomore guard Kiara Lewis, who missed all of last year with injury.
Rolling Meadows returns six of its top seven from last year's Class 4A runner-up including point guard extraordinaire Jackie Kemph, sharpshooting Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow and 6-2 forward Jenny Vliet.