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  By Aaron Brown

  May 2013




The following previews for each sectional site contain pertinent information about the state playoffs in addition to a variety of truly random facts. Note #1...the team listed as The Favorite is the #1 seed, the teams listed as The Contenders are the #2, #3, and #4 seeds, and the teams seeded #5, #6, and possibly #7 are considered Sleepers. Note #2...This section contains NO predictions.



The Favorite: Fenwick

The Contenders: Lyons, Oak Park, Maine South

Sleepers: Morton, York, R-B, Resurrection

The Play-In: None

Best First-Round Game: (3) Oak Park vs (6) York, (4) Maine South vs (5) Morton

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The Outlook: The Friars were perfect through eight weeks of the regular season against Illinois teams, but a loss in last weekend's Catholic League semifinals to St Ignatius shows they aren't invincible. That should give a bit of hope to their main challengers this week, with Lyons leading the charge to dethrone the defending champions. The Lions lost a heavy amount of production from a team that took Fenwick to double overtime in last year's sectional finals, so they'll be hoping to present just as much of a challenge in this year's edition (Fenwick won the regular season meeting between the two teams 9-4). Katie Appell will hope to propel the Huskies past LT if they can survive until the semifinal round; OPRF lost twice to Lyons this season but have been steadily improving throughout the season and could have a major breakthrough this postseason. The Huskies can't overlook a well-balanced York team in the opening round, as the Dukes are a team that is much better than their sixth seed would indicate. The opening round battle between Maine South and Morton could be quite a contest, with the winner hoping to catch Fenwick by surprise in the sectional semifinals. Riverside-Brookfield and Resurrection round out the field, with both teams hoping their regular season gains translate into postseason success. By the way, the Bandits did beat Fenwick in their only meeting this year, so they should go into their quarterfinal matchup with confidence.


Artistic Alumni: The voice of Homer Simpson, Dan Castelleneta (Oak Park). OK Go drummer Dan Konopka (York). D-List actress Kathy Griffin (Oak Park). Trauma and Spanglish actress Aimee Garcia (Fenwick). Reno 911 actor Thomas Lennon (Oak Park). Actor David Hasselhoff (Lyons). Umphrey McGhee keyboardist Joel Cummins (Lyons). Joe Mantegna, actor and voice of Fat Tony on The Simpsons (Morton).


The Favorite: Barrington

The Contenders: Fremd, Hersey, Elk Grove,

Sleepers: Conant, Schaumburg, St Viator

The Play-In: (8) Hoffman vs (9) Meadows

Best First-Round Game: (4) Elk Grove vs (5) Conant

Sectional Final Time: 11:00am


The Outlook: Barrington was rolling along with a perfect record in the MSL until the last week of the conference season, when a surprise loss to Fremd left the Vikings and several other teams in the Fremd Sectional believing they could make a run at a state tournament berth. The Fillies bounced back with an 8-6 win over third-seeded Hersey in the MSL title game, so they should be back on track and won't overlook any of their sectional opponents. The hosts, meanwhile, would like to keep their sectional title-winning streak alive, but they'll have to deal with Laura Foss and St Viator in the opening round. Fremd technically has the postseason experience needed to win another sectional title, though most of the starters from their sectional-winning streak were lost to graduation. They also have the advantage of playing in their home pool.  The Huskies will hope to parlay their MSL East-winning success into the postseason, but they can't afford to overlook Ashley Johnson and the sixth-seeded Schaumburg Saxons in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Finally, two teams that are more than capable of pulling off an upset or two are Elk Grove and Conant; whichever team wins that battle on Wednesday night could make some waves against the top-seeded Fillies in the semifinal round.


Artistic Alumni: Actress Marlee Matlin (Hersey). Tim McIlrath, lead singer of Rise Against (Meadows). Mystic River, Flags of our Fathers, and Letters from Iwo Jima producer Robert Lorenz (Fremd). Smashing Pumpkins' guitarist James Iha (Elk Grove). Rock musician Ted Nugent (St Viator). Midwest underground rapper Double A (Hoffman). Plain White T's drummer De'Mar Hamilton (Conant). Office Space and Pineapple Express actor Gary Cole (Meadows). Horror film actor Bill Moseley, who starred in House of 1000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects (Barrington).


The Favorite: New Trier

The Contenders: Loyola, Glenbrook South, Maine East,

Sleepers: Glenbrook North, Prospect, Maine West, Highland Park

The Play-Ins: None

Best First-Round Games: (4) Maine East vs (5) Glenbrook North

Sectional Final Time: 11:00am


The Outlook: The rivalry between New Trier and Loyola could add another chapter at the Glenbrook North Sectional if both teams can navigate through a difficult eight-team field. The Trevians won the lone meeting against the Ramblers earlier this season by a one-goal margin, and whichever team advances to the state tournament is stacked and has the potential to earn a state trophy if they can claim a sectional title. Five of the six other teams in the sectional come from the Central Suburban League, which saw a variety of surprising results at their conference tournament last weekend that could make for some interesting playoff contests on both Wednesday and Friday night. Glenbrook South has had an impressive season, but they'll need to get things back on track after losses to Evanston and Maine East last weekend. They will also have to deal with an unfamiliar Prospect team that they did not face during the regular season. That fact could benefit the underdog Knights, who had an up-and-down 2013 campaign but notched a handful of impressive wins that should give them a bit of confidence on Wednesday night. Maine East has the type of weapons and the capability to put a scare into New Trier in the semifinals if they can get past GBN in the quarterfinal round. The Blue Demons lost by one to the Spartans in last week's CSL Tournament quarterfinals, so they'll be looking for a bit of revenge on Wednesday night. Glenbrook North has been red-hot down the stretch of the regular season, however, so they could very easily be playing deep into the weekend if things continue in their favor. Carly Romano and her Maine West compatriots are hopeful they can catch Loyola off guard in the opening round, while Highland Park has the tough task of trying to get their third win of the season against the top-seeded Trevians.


Artistic Alumni: Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight on The Office (New Trier). Actors John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Jeremy Piven (Evanston). Famous 80's film director John Hughes (GBN). Harrison Ford (Maine East). Actors Chris O'Donnell, Bill Murray, and William Petersen (Loyola). Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz (New Trier). Workaholics actor Anders Holm (Evanston). Tron actor Bruce Boxleitner (Prospect). American Idol winner Lee DeWyze (Prospect). Actor Gary Sinise (Highland Park).


The Favorite: Lincoln-Way Central

The Contenders: Lincoln-Way North, Bradley, Marian

Sleepers: Lincoln-Way East, Lockport, Lincoln-Way West, Homewood-Flossmoor

The Play-In: None

Best First-Round Game: (3) Bradley vs (6) Lockport; (4) Marian) vs (5) Lincoln-Way East

Sectional Final Time: 11:00am


The Outlook: The top-seeded Knights looked practically invincible throughout the SWSC season until the final week, when a loss to Sandburg derailed their hopes for a full share of the Blue division title. However, late season tournaments in Michigan and at Stevenson should have the Danijela Jackovich-led Knights ready to defend their sectional title. Their main challenger will likely be second-seeded Lincoln-Way North; the Phoenix dropped a pair of two-goal losses to Central but finished 22-4 in 2013 and have the potential to make their first state appearance if they can navigate through a tough field. A potential stumbling block for the Phoenix could be a significantly-improved Bradley team that has shown the capability of winning big games throughout their best season in team history. The Boilers face an exceptionally tough opening-round challenger in Lockport, however, as the Porters late-season surge could propel them to a surprise appearance in the sectional finals. One of the best games of the opening round is the contest between Marian and Lincoln-Way East; whichever team emerges with a first-round win could present a problem for Lincoln-Way Central. Lincoln-Way West and Homewood-Flossmoor are quite possibly the best seven and eight seeds in the entire tournament, so it would be wise for the top teams in the sectional not to overlook their respective upset bids on Wednesday night.


Artistic Alumni: Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer Chad Smith (H-F). Hip-hop artist Shawnna (H-F). Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes (Marian). Armando Estrada (Andrew) is a professional wrestler working for WWE. CM Punk (Lockport), current WWE superstar and possibly WWE champion (I don't know, I don't watch...seriously. For real).


The Favorite: Mundelein

The Contenders: Stevenson, Wheeling, Palatine

Sleepers: Libertyville, Buffalo Grove, Lake Forest

The Play-In: (8) Vernon Hills vs (9) Deerfield

Best First-Round Game: (4) Palatine vs (5) Libertyville

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The Outlook: It's been quite a turnaround for Mundelein this season. They enter their own sectional as the top seed after compiling an impressive 23-6 record after bowing out of the sectional playoffs in the semifinal round last season. They enter this year's edition as the favorites after earning a 7-5 victory over second-seed Stevenson back in early April. Meanwhile, the Patriots always seem to know how to get through a sectional tournament, plus they are coming off an impressive showing at their own tournament last weekend where they beat Lincoln-Way Central and Naperville Central. Wheeling could prove to be a thorn in the side of the Patriots if they can get past Buffalo Grove in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats are battle-tested after a tough 2013 schedule and are looking to repeat last season's run to the sectional finals. Another dangerous team that has come on strong in the second half of the season is Palatine; the Pirates are a young group hoping to make an impact with an opening round win over Libertyville before a potential matchup with the sectional's top seed. On the flip side, the Wildcats will be looking to better their performance from last year, when they bowed out in the quarterfinals in a thrilling overtime game. If they can claim a win over Palatine, they know the Mustangs well and could pull off an upset if things work in their favor. Lake Forest and Vernon Hills both went through up-and-down seasons but will be hoping to spring an early round upset on Wednesday evening.


Artistic Alumni: Actor Gary Sinise (Highland Park). Actor Vince Vaughn (Lake Forest). Actor Marlon Brando (Libertyville). Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello (Libertyville). Kill Hannah lead singer Mat Devine (Lake Forest). Adam Jones, a three-time Grammy Award-winning guitarist for the band Tool (Libertyville). Brian McBride (Buffalo Grove) is a professional soccer player. Judd Sirott,a radio broadcaster on WGN (Buffalo Grove).


The Favorite: Naperville North

The Contenders: Naperville Central, STC North, Hinsdale Central

Sleepers: Neuqua Valley, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley

The Play-In: (8) STC East vs (9) Hinsdale South

Best First-Round Game: (4) Hinsdale Central vs (5) Neuqua Valley

Sectional Final Time: 11:00am


The Outlook: The Neuqua Valley Sectional is up-for-grabs in 2013, as the top two teams are about as evenly matched as it gets and several challengers in the field have the potential to make a surprise state-qualifying run. The Redhawks beat the Huskies back in the opening week of the season, while North returned the favor with a 12-11 win over their rivals on April 3. With more than a month passed since their last meeting, it remains a mystery of who will win the rubber match if the two teams can survive to play in Saturday's final round. Third-seeded STC North is coming off a 19-win season and could be a thorn in Naperville Central's side if they can get past Metea Valley in the quarterfinal round. The Mustangs do know what it takes to win in the postseason after a remarkable run to the sectional finals last season, so the North Stars would be wise to bring their "A" game to their quarterfinal matchup. Hinsdale Central and Neuqua Valley meet in an intriguing quarterfinal round contest on Wednesday. The Red Devils beat the Wildcats 11-5 back in March and are probably the last team the top seed would want to face in the semifinal round. Meanwhile, Neuqua Valley has struggled through an injury-plagued season but have the potential to make a deep postseason run if they can get past the quarterfinals. Waubonsie Valley and STC East will also hope to spring a major upset in the opening round against the top two seeds.


Artistic Alumni: Mr. Show actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk (Naperville North). Matt Walsh, actor in films that include Step Brothers, Role Models, The Hangover, Due Date, and Bad Santa and the TV show Veep (Hinsdale South). Parvesh Cheena, actor on NBC's Outsourced (Waubonsie Valley). Meredith Monroe, actress in films such as Minority Report and Transformers (Hinsdale Central).


The Favorite: Mother McAuley

The Contenders: Sandburg, Bremen, Andrew

Sleepers: Stagg, Richards, Argo

The Play-In: None

Best First-Round Game: (4) Andrew vs (5) Stagg

Sectional Final Time: 11:00am


The Outlook: Mother McAuley has plenty of reason for optimism heading into the postseason after they capped off a 25-4 regular season by winning the Catholic League Tournament. Still, the Mighty Macs need to be wary of a Sandburg squad that won a share of the SWSC Blue division title and has been on a late-season surge after beating several Top 25 teams in the latter stage of the season. McAuley won the first meeting between the two teams 9-5, but that was back in mid-March. Neither team can afford to overlook a Hannah Schultz-led Bremen team that is chomping at the bit to pull off an upset or two in order to get to their first state tournament. Andrew is another team that shouldn't be overlooked, as Megan Hofer and company will look to give the state's top-ranked team headaches if they meet in the semifinal round. Stagg, Richards, and Argo round out the relatively small field, which includes a quarterfinal round bye for the Mighty Macs.


Artistic Alumni: The Mentalist, The Craft, and Prison Break actress Robin Tunney (Sandburg). Irish dancer Michael Flatley (Brother Rice). Step Brothers and Talladega Nights actor John C. Reilly (Brother Rice). REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin (Brother Rice). Apprentice Season 1 winner Bill Rancic (Sandburg). Dick Portillo (Argo) is a restaurateur and founder of the Portillo Restaurant Group, the most notable business of which is Portillo's.


The Favorite: St Ignatius

The Contenders: Lane, Northside, Evanston

Sleepers: Whitney Young, Payton-Jones, Westinghouse

The Play-In: (8) Latin vs (9) DeLaSalle

Best First-Round Game: (4) Evanston vs (5) Whitney Young

Sectional Final Time: 6:30pm


The Outlook: Top-seeded St Ignatius nearly won the Catholic League title last weekend after knocking off Fenwick in the semifinal round, so they should come into their own sectional with a great deal of confidence. They enter the event as the favorites, but who they could face in either the semifinal or final round remains a mystery. Lane had the best regular season performance of the eight other teams, finishing with a 22-6 record. Northside has shown numerous times that they can hang with or beat most of the schools in the nine-team field, and they could present a major challenge to the Indians on Friday in the semifinals if they can get past Payton-Jones in the opening round. Evanston comes in as a potential wild-card team among mostly CPS schools, as their improvement throughout the 2013 season was showcased last weekend when they finished in third place in the competitive Central Suburban League Tournament. The scariest matchup for anyone could be Whitney Young, as the Dolphins closed out an up-and-down regular season by winning the CPS Tournament over Lane on Saturday. Meanwhile, Westinghouse posted a 10-3 record in the CPS during the conference season; don't be surprised if they can provide a scare to Lane in the quarterfinal round.


Artistic Alumni: The Wachowski Brothers, directors of The Matrix and V For Vendetta (Whitney Young). The founder of House music, Chip E. (St Ignatius). Andre Braugher, actor on Homicide and the film Glory (St Ignatius). Craig Robinson, who plays Darrell on The Office and was in Hot Tub Time Machine and Pineapple Express (Whitney Young). Bob Newhart (St Ignatius), actor on Newhart and The Bob Newhart Show.








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