Saints, Royals claim top spot in final poll -- From the beginning of the season, the St. Charles East girls volleyball and the Larkin boys soccer teams dominated the area, each winning an Upstate Eight Conference title.
The Saints finished the regular season 31-4 and will begin postseason play on Thursday. The Royals were upset on Saturday by St. Charles North for a regional title -- well short of what the team had hoped to accomplish. Nonetheless, Larkin had a memorable regular season and its ending 20-2 overall record reflects that.
Perhaps no other team in the area will be hit hardest by graduation than Larkin, which started an all-senior lineup. But insiders say the Royals have some talent at the under levels and the "rebuilding" mode shouldn't last long.
St. Charles East has shown it can still reload. After losing two Division I athletes from last year's third-place team in Class 4A, the Saints are knocking on that same door again and have been tabbed the No. 1 seed at the Elmhurst Sectional.
Note: Rankings are based on competition against like-sized schools
1) St. Charles East (31-4): Saints are just happy Joliet Catholic (3A) isn't a possible opponent down the road. Just kidding.
2) Hampshire (34-2): Whip-Purs certainly have easier path than Rockets in the postseason.
3) Burlington Central (29-6): In my book, the Rockets deserve to be a No. 1 regional seed.
4) Huntley (21-14): Top-seeded (DeKalb Regional) Red Raiders in line to play Rockford Boylan in sectional semifinal.
5) St. Edward (18-17): Green Wave will have to beat two higher seeds (ACC, Harvard) to nab a regional title. Could happen.
On the bench: Bartlett, St. Charles North, Jacobs.
1) Larkin (20-2): Crappy ending, but Royals had a great season. Winning the Pepsi Showdown and the program's first conference title (UEC) is something to be proud of. Way to go boys! Fernando Alvarez, Raul Sandoval, Danny Hinterlong and Michael Berruquin all deserve to be playing college soccer somewhere next season.
2) Streamwood (17-5-4): Another feel-good team. The Sabres did some things, but also came up short of a regional title.
3) Jacobs (13-7-4): There's something about the postseason and the Golden Eagles. For second year in a row, they win regional title as a higher seed.
4) St. Charles North (12-8-2): North Stars pulled off the upset of the year in win vs. Larkin. Or was it?
5) Hampshire (9-9-1): I overlooked the Whip-Purs all season long. Congrats goes out to first-year coach John Gosling after his team claimed the program's first regional title.
On the bench: Genoa-Kingston, Huntley, Dundee-Crown, St. Charles East.