Volleyball postseason play begins Monday and many observers will be keeping an eye on the loaded Class 4A Bartlett Sectional that features many of the area’s teams.
How good is the 22-team field?
Sitting at the No. 10 seed is Yorkville, a team that had just one loss on its ledger nearly two weeks ago when sectional coaches cast their votes that ended with Benet, Glenbard West, St. Charles East and Geneva grabbing the Nos. 1 through 4 seeds, respectively.
“It’s the toughest time I’ve ever had trying to figure out the top 10 teams,” said Waubonsie Valley coach Kristen Didier, whose UEC Valley runnerup Warriors landed at No. 11.
“Out of the 22, I think you had to go down to the 15th or 16th seed to find a team with a losing record,” Oswego East coach Adam Thurlwell said.
His Wolves are No. 13 and host a regional that will feature Glenbard West, No. 7 Wheaton North and Yorkville.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Foxes coach Mike Dunn said when he learned his team’s fate. “We’re 26-1. We weren’t expecting top four, but to get a 10? We’re not in the Upstate Eight or DuPage Valley but we have good volleyball our side of (the Northern Illinois Big 12 East).
“My biggest disappointment, though, is with the IHSA and the moves it made with some of the teams in this area. You just kinda question what’s going on.”
Since moving up to Class 4A, Yorkville has usually found itself grouped in the sectional featuring schools from Aurora, Naperville and Plainfield. The Plainfield schools were moved to the Joliet area sectional. St. Charles East and North, Glenbard West and Glenbard South were moved into the Aurora-Naperville field.
Also being questioned is the decision to pair the sectional winners from Bartlett and Mother McAuley in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central Supersectional.
“That’s a state championship match there,” Dunn said.
He looks for his team, which will enter the playoffs 29-2 after being upset last week by Kaneland, to play with a chip on its shoulder. The Foxes open Tuesday against No. 7 Wheaton North and need to win to likely play Glenbard West for the title.
“The only way for Yorkville to get respect is to beat people in the regional and then some,” Dunn said. “We hope to use it as motivation.”
Kaneland (23-8-1) grabbed a share of the conference championship with its upset of the Foxes and moves on to the Class 3A Hampshire Regional, where coach Cynthia Violett’s Knights are seeded No. 1.
The hosts have the top seed in the Class 3A Rosary Regional featuring Plano, ACC, IMSA and Sandwich.
Aurora Christian (4) and Somonauk (5) meet Monday at Class 2A Seneca for the right to play the top-seeded hosts.
Little Ten regular season and tournament champion Newark heads the six-team field at Class 1A Paw Paw that features all league foes.