Girls lacrosse playoffs look to future

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This year’s state girls lacrosse playoffs provide a glimpse into the future.

One year away from joining the IHSA, coaches from the Illinois High School Women’s Lacrosse Association have adopted the IHSA’s sectional seeding format in state playoff pairings released Friday. In the past, the entire state tournament was seeded.

Glenbrook South, Fremd, Hinsdale Central and Evanston are sectional hosts for the tournament, which begins Monday with ninth-seeded Naperville Central playing at eighth-seeded Nazareth at 5:30 p.m. in the Hinsdale Central Sectional preliminary round.

Defending state champion Loyola (19-1) is the No. 1 seed in the Evanston Sectional. The Ramblers’ only loss was 10-8 to Saints Stephen’s & Agnes April 10 in Arlington, Va. Loyola is attempting to win back-to-back state titles for the first time since 2005-06.

The other top sectional seeds are New Trier (15-3-1) at Glenbrook South, Barrington (11-6) at Fremd the host Red Devils (9-5-1).

The tournament’s only Downstate team, O’Fallon near St. Louis, plays St. Charles at 7 p.m. May 21 at Schaumburg in the Fremd Sectional.

The semifinals will be held June 2 at Evanston. The championship match will be held June 4 at Northwestern University’s Lakeside Field in Evanston.

Last year’s semifinals were held at Lakeside (pictured, above). Northwestern will host the state final for the third time, but the home of Northwestern’s five-time NCAA championship women’s lacrosse team will host the championship match for the first time.

“Given all that Northwestern and (coach) Kelly Amonte Hiller have done for lacrosse, not only on a national scale, but all that she has done to support, promote and teach lacrosse to the high schools in Illinois, it is really fitting that the showcase game of the year be played at the home of the top college lacrosse program in the country,” Loyola coach John Dwyer said.

One girls lacrosse coach said he hopes Lakeside remains the state championship home for the IHSA final, but that would appear doubtful. The IHSA usually uses high school sites for state tournament play for minor team sports.

Eastern Illinois (badminton, track and field) and North Central in Naperville (girls soccer) are the only collegiate hosts for state tournaments held in the spring.

Laxpower.com has computerized state ratings.

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