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Local Sports

Postseason competition heats up for area athletes

While two individual sports have already completed their seasons and girls track and field wraps up its campaign this weekend with the IHSA finals in Charleston, things start heating up this week for the team sports, which will all be involved in postseason play next week.

Lincoln-Way East advanced to this weekend’s state finals in Lincolnshire in both boys and girls water polo. The Griffins boys play Conant on Thursday, while East’s girls meet Naperville North on Friday.

In girls soccer, Joliet Catholic Academy played in Tuesday’s Class 1A Herscher Sectional against the hosts. The winner advanced to Friday’s finals.

Most of the area’s Class 2A and 3A soccer teams played in regional semifinals on Tuesday, while Lockport plays Wednesday at home with title matches all scheduled for Friday.

According to the seeds, No. 2 Providence Catholic is favored in the St. Laurence Regional, and No. 1 Lemont is the team to beat in its own regional among Class 2A teams.

In Class 3A, teams from the Naperville area are seeded ahead of the likes of Plainfield North, Plainfield South and Lockport in regionals in the Plainfield North Sectional.

In one sub-sectional of the Normal Community Sectional, No. 2 Bradley-Bourbonnais got the nod over No. 3 Minooka at the Joliet Central Regional, while No. 1 Normal Community was favored over No. 4 Joliet West at Pekin.

In the Reavis Sectional, No. 3 Lincoln-Way Central was a slight favorite over No. 6 Lincoln-Way East. No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor was seeded ahead of No. 5 Lincoln-Way West in the latter’s regional. No. 1 Stagg and No. 2 Andrew are other regional favorites.

The baseball playoffs got underway this week in the Class 1A and 2A. The highest seed in Class 2A is Wilmington, which is the No. 2 seed in its half of the Seneca Sectional. The Wildcats are slight favorites over No. 3 Chicago Christian in the latter’s regional.

In the Ottawa Sectional in Class 3A, No. 1 Joliet Catholic Academy is favored over the hosts at Morris. In the other sub-sectional, No. 1 Lemont is favored over Illiana Christian in Lemont and No. 2 Coal City draws the nod over host Manteno.

And in Class 4A, several teams are favored to advance to the Hinsdale South Sectional. No. 2 Plainfield East is the team to beat at Hinsdale Central, No. 3 Plainfield North is favored in its own regional and No. 4 Plainfield South and No. 5 Plainfield Central should battle for the regional title at Naperville Central. No. 1 Neuqua Valley is favored at Yorkville.

Advancement could be tougher in the Lockport Sectional, where No. 1 Lincoln-Way East is the favorite at Lincoln-Way West, but No. 5 Providence Catholic, No. 6 Lockport and No. 7 Lincoln-Way Central all are lower seeds in the regionals that they are in.

Softball’s smallest classes start this week. In Class 2A, Seneca is the favorite in its regional, and Beecher is favored over the hosts at Reed-Custer.

In Class 3A, Tinley Park is favored over host Joliet Catholic, and Ottawa is the slight favorite over host Providence in another regional.

It will be interesting in the Class 4A Joliet West Sectional as No. 1 Lincoln-Way Central is favored at Thornwood, No. 2 Lincoln-Way East gets the nod over No. 7 Joliet West at Romeoville, No. 3 Lockport is favored over
No. 6 Lincoln-Way West at Lockport and No. 4 Plainfield South and No. 5 Plainfield East should battle it out at the latter’s regional.

The area also has the favored team in the Oswego Sectional where No. 1 Plainfield North is expected to win its own regional before joining the likes of No. 2 Downers Grove North, No. 3 Oswego East and No. 4 Downers Grove South in the sectional semifinals.

And in the first IHSA playoffs for lacrosse, Lincoln-Way’s girls are the top-seed at the Minooka Sectional, and its boys are second-seeded behind Neuqua Valley at Lockport, which both start next week.

Two other individual sports qualify for state later this week. Athletes in boys track and field will compete at six sectionals with the largest group of six schools competing in Class 3A at Homewood-Flossmoor on Thursday. Boys tennis players will take part in six sectionals, with the largest contingent of seven schools competing at Joliet West.

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