Now the real race is on.
The drive for state for the larger classes advances to a higher level of excitement with the full state slate of regional semifinal action on Tuesday and Wednesday for Class AA (enrollments of 685.01-1,636) and Class 3A (1,636.01 and higher).
Below is the final poll of the campaign for the Chicagoland area. It is published in addition to the Illinois 10 for the top teams outside of Chicago and the Class A and Class AA Super 7 polls, which showcase programs that didn't rise to the Top 25 or Illinois 10 levels per the poll-maker's opinion.
Following the conclusion of the Class AA and Class 3A state tournaments on June 3, Chicagoland Soccer will publish the Final 50 , its poll that ranks the best teams in the state regardless of class or region.
Using the final regular-season poll as a jumping off point, it is possible to survey and gauge the strength of the eight sectionals that make up the Class 3A bracket.
In both high end-quality and quantity, East Aurora clearly hosts the strongest sectional.
It showcases three of the top five teams, topped by top-ranked defending state champion Metea Valley, no. 4 Naperville North and no. 5 Plainfield North. No. 11 Lockport, no. 21 Oswego East and no. 23 Naperville Central round out the formidable group.
Glenbrook North follows with five-ranked programs, although just one in the top 10 – no. 10 Fremd.
West Chicago could feature a reworking of the DuKane Conference standings, with no. 6 St. Charles North, no. 13 St. Charles East, no. 14 Geneva and no. 15 Wheaton North.
St. Charles North has two victories over St. Charles East, and beaten Geneva and Wheaton North.
Geneva has beaten no. 5 Plainfield North and Wheaton North and lost to St. Charles East.
Wheaton North just ended regular-season play with a victory over St. Charles East. The Falcons have also beaten no. 7 Evanston and no. 11 Lockport.
Evanston has four-ranked teams—the seventh-ranked host; no. 9 New Trier, which ended strong with a victory over 10th-ranked Fremd; eight-time city champion and 17th-ranked Lane; and battle-tested no. 19 Loyola.
Reavis features the top two teams out of the West Suburban Silver — no. 3 Lyons and no. 22 York. Fast-climbing league-mate and defending sectional champion Glenbard West is the dark horse.
Harlem and Shepard have one, ranked team apiece: no. 2 Barrington in the former; and no. 8 Lincoln-Way Central in the latter.
Those two are overwhelming favorites to advance to the supersectional.
The Edwardsville Sectional is bifurcated into two parts in order to account for its broad geographic range.
The Edwardsville part of the bracket is going to be intense, with the host Tigers, who are the defending sectional champions and top-ranked in the Illinois 10.
Third-ranked O’Fallon won the state championship two years ago. Fifth-ranked Granite City has beaten O’Fallon.
The poll also features two Class AA ranked teams — no. 15 Benet, which is, top-ranked at Nazareth; and 20th-ranked sectional host Deerfield, which is seeded just behind top sectional seed and honorable mention choice Carmel.
Not coincidentally both Benet and Deerfield battled in the state finals last year. Benet beat Deerfield in the semifinals en route to a second place finish; Deerfield beat Fenwick for third place.
Triad, ranked seventh in the Class AA Super 7, aims for its third-straight state championship.
Class A will have a new champion this spring. The small-school division moves into the sectional round without Notre Dame (Quincy), which fell to host Sacred Heart-Griffin on Friday.
Stay close to ringside and Chicagoland Soccer. The next three weeks are going to be a knockout.
|1||1||Metea Valley||15-0-3||Top-seed at East Aurora|
|2||2||Barrington||17-0-2||Top-seed at Harlem|
|3||6||Lyons||18-1-1||Top-seed at Reavis|
|4||4||Naperville N||11-5-1||No. 3 seed at East Aurora|
|5||7||Plainfield North||19-1-2||No. 2 seed at East Aurora|
|6||3||St. Charles N||13-3-2||No. 2 seed at West Chicago|
|7||8||Evanston||17-2-1||Top-seed at own sectional|
|8||9||LW Central||16-1-2||Top-seed at Shepard|
|9||11||New Trier||19-3-1||No. 2 seed at Evanston|
|10||5||Fremd||14-3-1||Top-seed at Glenbrook North|
|11||13||Lockport||19-2-1||No. 5 seed at East Aurora|
|12||10||St. Charles E||17-3-0||Top-seed at West Chicago|
|13||12||Geneva||15-6-1||No. 3 seed at West Chicago|
|14||16||Wheaton North||13-5-2||No. 4 seed at West Chicago|
|15||14||Benet||15-4-0||Top-seed at AA Nazareth|
|16||15||Libertyville||13-2-2||No. 2 seed at Glenbrook North|
|17||20||Lane||12-4-2||No. 5 seed at Evanston|
|18||18||Glenbrook N||12-3-2||No. 4 seed at own sectional|
|19||22||Loyola||9-6-3||No. 3 seed at Evanston|
|20||25||Deerfield||14-5-2||No. 2 seed at own AA sectional|
|21||19||Oswego East||11-6-2||No. 6 seed at East Aurora|
|22||21||York||13-3-2||No.2 seed at Reavis|
|23||24||Naperville C||8-5-1||No. 4 seed at East Aurora|
|24||HM||Hersey||11-7-1||No. 6 seed at Glenbrook North|
|25||23||Warren||9-5-3||No. 7 seed at Glenbrook North|
Look out for: Stevenson, Lincoln-Way East, Prospect, Hinsdale Central, Carmel, Glenbard West, Minooka, Downers Grove South, Morton, Riverside-Brookfield, Oswego, Lake Zurich, Lake Forest, Glenbrook South, Huntley
Tag(s): CSL North CSL South CPL Premier North DuKane DuPage Valley ESCC GCAC Red Metro Suburban Blue Mid-Suburban North Suburban Upstate Eight West Suburban Gold West Suburban Silver South Elgin Deerfield Hersey St. Charles East Benet Fremd Barrington New Trier Downers Grove South Lake Forest Warren Loyola Morton St. Charles North Geneva Glenbard West Lane Glenbrook South Wheaton North Riverside-Brookfield Carmel Evanston Southwest Prairie Metea Valley Naperville Central Naperville North Oswego East Hinsdale Central Lyons Polls