Class 3A Mendota
When: Tuesday, Thursday
Where: Mendota High School
Teams: Dunlap (18-14), Freeport (11-20), LaSalle-Peru (29-7), Rock Falls (27-10)
Players to watch: Ashley Alexander, Freeport; Bryn Buckwalter, Freeport; Jordan Giddings, Rock Falls; Morgan Mammosser, Rock Falls; Danielle Peterson, Dunlap; Jessica Suarez, LaSalle-Peru; Brittany Zawacki, LaSalle-Peru
Outlook: The two tops teams at this sectional will meet Tuesday in the semifinal in Rock Falls and LaSalle-Peru. The Cavs beat Rock Falls in two sets at the Dixon Invitational, but the Rockets proved against Sterling at the regional that previous results don’t matter. Rock Falls will need to play around the block set by a tall front line of the Cavaliers. The Rockets have enough hitters both in the middle and outside to do this. They also have the defense to handle the Cavaliers’ offense.
SVM pick: Rock Falls
Advancement: Winner advances to Galesburg Supersectional vs. Normal University Sectional winner, 6 p.m. Saturday.
Class 2A Byron
When: Tuesday, Thursday
Teams: Dakota (32-4), North Boone, Oregon (26-11-1), Westmont
Players to watch: Ashley Adams, North Boone; Jessica Boeldt, North Boone; Rachel Buck, Dakota; Cydney Long, Oregon; Delaney Mahoney, Oregon; Sarah Thompson, Dakota
Outlook: Dakota is coming off a Class 1A state title in 2011. The Indians are ready to show they can do the same in 2A. North Boone hadn’t won a regional since 1990, and information is hard to find on Westmont. Could leave the Hawks as the favorite to knock off Dakota. Oregon has a strong volleyball traditon, but it has been a few years since they’ve made a lot of postseason noise.
SVM pick: Dakota
Advancement: Winner advances to Pecatonica Supersectional vs. Christ the King Sectional winner, 6 p.m Saturday.
Class 1A Polo
Teams: Erie (26-9), Keith Country Day, Newark (29-4-1), Stockton (29-4)
Players to watch: Madalyn Dower, Stockton; Angelique Goswick, Stockton; Iman McGary, Keith; Kristina Nichols, Newark; Alex Nunez, Keith; Paige Rus, Erie; Peyton Rus, Erie; Lauren Tollefson, Newark
Outlook: Newark is a traditional power in 1A volleyball, but this is a loaded sectional field. Erie has been solid all year and is primed to make a run. The Cardinals feature several strong hitters, including sisters Peyton and Paige Rus. Stockton also is making a rare run in volleyball. The winner of this sectional will be a favorite to advance to the state tourney.
SVM pick: Newark
Advancement: Winner advances to Eastland Supersectional vs. Harvest Christian Academy Sectional winner, 7 p.m. Saturday.