The first week of any season is definitely an eye-of-the-beholder equation.
The games certainly matter, but the aesthetics and beauty are not always moving directly or proportionally in concert with the results.
With the boys basketball state championships moved to a single weekend, it meant spring sports had their moment in the sun a week earlier.
With baseball and softball sidelined by the berserk weather, soccer led the way.
A cold and rainy opening week meant, as usual, there were more uncertainties than ever before.
Of the ranked teams this week, never again are we likely to see such variance relative to the schedule. Some teams played three games, and a couple of ranked teams have yet to start their seasons.
Data is naturally up and down, present and available for some teams, and a work in progress for others.
The teams at the top looked very good. Barrington posting sharp victories against ranked opponents in Naperville North and St. Charles North. Metea Valley had two strong victories.
The Kickoff Classic, hosted by Wheaton North, takes center stage this week with top showdowns – Plainfield North meets both Metea Valley and Benet.
It will create some early highlights and perhaps clarity to strengths and weaknesses. But as they say, no team ever won a state championship in March.
Early games are important, but less crucial than middle- or end-of-the-season games with regard to predictors and evaluations of strengths and weaknesses.
The weather wreaked havoc the opening week, with shifts, postponements and alterations of tournament schedules.
With the three Lincoln-Way schools, especially defending tournament champion Central, leading the pack at the Windy City Ram Classic, the south shows strength.
The other big showdown is the Rose Augsburg-Drach Invitational in St. Charles. The ranked host schools could again decide the championship.
The North Stars have eight returning starters, the Saints seven. Last year the North Stars won the two regular-season games. St. Charles East dominated the sectional championship game.
Chicagoland Soccer now produces four polls to better cover the entire state and the three IHSA divisions: the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, the Illinois 10 of the top teams outside of the coverage area, and the Class A Super 7 and Class AA Super 7.
Teams are only eligible for one poll. Any Chicago-area team, regardless of class size, listed on either the Top 25 or its 15-team honorable mention are not considered for either the Class A Super 7 or the Class AA Super 7.
Like the First 50, the opening week polls are provisional and subject to wild swings. As more games play out, the best move to the top of the chart.
|1||1||Metea Valley||2-0-0||Jordan Lange orchestrates the attack|
|2||2||Barrington||2-0-0||Piper Lucier is faster, quicker, stronger|
|3||3||Plainfield N||2-0-0||Showdown looms with Metea Valley|
|4||4||Lyons||2-0-0||Caroline Mortonson is an elite sophomore|
|5||6||LW Central||3-0-0||Dominant in Windy City Ram Classic|
|6||7||Oswego E||2-0-0||Anya Gulbrandsen off to a fantastic start|
|7||8||St. Charles E||2-0-0||Grace Williams is an elite scorer|
|8||5||New Trier||1-0-1||Annie Paden is great on set pieces|
|9||10||Benet||2-0-0||Anna Casmere is a dangerous attacking piece|
|10||11||Deerfield||2-0-0||Emily Fox is a born scorer|
|11||9||St. Charles N||1-1-0||Bella Najera is an elite talent|
|12||12||Naperville N||1-1-0||Maggie Fitzgerald is a natural leader|
|13||13||Evanston||1-0-0||Jocelyn Leigh is an elite offensive threat|
|14||14||Naperville C||2-0-0||Megan Norkett is a force of nature|
|15||18||Glenbrook N||1-0-0||Spartans make statement against Loyola|
|16||17||Lockport||3-0-0||Porters reach Windy City semifinals|
|17||19||Libertyville||1-0-0||Wildcats start season with solid victory|
|18||22||Carmel||2-0-0||Forward Emily Fix is dynamic|
|19||50||Prospect||1-0-1||Strong opening performance against New Trier|
|20||NR||Glenbrook S||3-0-0||Claire Baim is a midfield presence|
|21||31||Hersey||1-1-0||Abi Beck a two-way standout|
|22||20||Stevenson||0-1-0||Patriots are undergoing a new era|
|23||NR||St. Ignatius||2-0-0||Wolfpack avenge regional loss to Lane|
|24||29||Neuqua Valley||0-0-0||Lauren Milani headssuperb junior class|
|25||30||Geneva||0-0-0||Rilee Hasegawa is an elite|
Watch out for:
Warren, Lane, Loyola, Fremd, Lincoln-Way East, Burlington Central, Morton, Glenbard East, Saint Viator, Lincoln-Way West, Andrew, Wheaton Warrenville South, Plainfield South, Downers Grove South, Oak Park and River Forest.