Playoffs? Yes, we’re talking about the playoffs.
It’s what everybody plays the regular season for; to earn good seeds, polish their games and attempt to remain healthy. The IHSA finally released the seeds and matchups for all spring sports, so let’s take a look at what the future has in store.
Girls’ soccer and girls’ track and field already began. Unfortunately for the Metro East Lutheran and Father McGivney girls’ soccer teams, the season is over.
MELHS won its first postseason game since 2013, a 3-0 win over East Alton-Wood River in the play-in game of the 1A Marquette Regional, but then was beaten 9-0 by top-seeded Marquette. The Griffins lost 7-0 to Roxana in the semifinals of the Marquette Regional to end their first varsity campaign.
The Edwardsville Tigers are part of the 3A Granite City Regional. They are the No. 2 seed in the Normal Community Sub-Sectional. EHS opened Tuesday vs. No. 8 seed Quincy in Granite City following press time.
A win propels Edwardsville into the regional finals against either No. 3 Belleville West or No. 6 Granite City. The Tigers, which earned a share of the Southwestern Conference this season for only the second time in program history, then could advance to the Normal Community Sectional. They would get a likely rematch with SWC co-champ Collinsville, the No. 1 seed. That game will be played locally. They tied with the Kahoks 1-1 during the regular season.
The Joliet Central Super Sectional is set for May 31 and state is at North Central College in Naperville on June 3-4 if EHS can advance that far.
As for girls’ track and field, the state tournament is scheduled for Thursday through Friday at Eastern Illinois’ O’Brien Stadium. MELHS is in the 1A pool, which begins Thursday. Edwardsville, in 3A competition, begins preliminaries on Friday. The championship rounds are set for Saturday.
Metro delves into the 1A softball and baseball playoffs today and Thursday. The No. 5 seeded MELHS softball team meets No. 3 Valmeyer at 4:30 p.m. today at the Lebanon Regional. The title tilt is set for 11 a.m. Saturday with the Metro/Valmeyer winner facing the victor between No. 2 Lebanon and No. 6 Christ Our Rock.
The Knight baseball team is the No. 5 seed at the New Athens Regional. They open vs. No. 4 Marissa at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with the championship scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. The opponent in the finale likely will be No. 1 Valmeyer. No. 6 New Athens and No. 9 Madison had a play-in game Monday to earn a date with Valmeyer.
Edwardsville dives into regional action next week in baseball and softball.
The EHS softball team is enjoying another successful season. The Tigers garnered the No. 1 seed out of the Normal Sub-Sectional. They play host to the 4A Edwardsville Regional, opening vs. No. 8 Quincy on May 24. The title tilt is on May 25 against either No. 4 Belleville East or No. 7 Granite City.
The winner advances to the Normal Sectional, where they will play the champion of the Collinsville Regional. Alton is the No. 2 seed and likely should come out of there. That sectional semifinal game would be played locally. EHS has defeated the Redbirds twice this season.
If the Tigers continue to advance, the super-sectional will be at Illinois State on June 6 and state is set for East Side Centre in East Peoria on June 10-11.
As for Edwardsville baseball, it finds itself in the 4A Belleville West Regional. EHS earned the No. 2 seed out of the Illinois Wesleyan Sub-Sectional.
The Tigers meet the winner of No. 6 Collinsville and No. 10 Granite City on May 25 at West. The regional finale is on May 28 with either No. 3 West or No. 5 East advancing there.
The Illinois Wesleyan Sectional semifinals are scheduled for June 1 and will be played locally. The Alton Regional winner goes there, which could be top-seeded O’Fallon.
The Panthers have short-gamed Edwardsville twice this season. Prior to this season, the Tigers hadn’t been short-gamed since losing to Normal Community West 16-3 on May 23, 2011, in five innings during a regular season game. They went on to beat West 10-6 in the sectional finals.
O’Fallon did beat Edwardsville three times during the 2012 season: twice during conference play and at a meeting in the sectionals.
The super-sectional will be at University of Illinois on June 6 and state is at Silver Cross Stadium in Joliet on June 10-11.
Boys’ volleyball gets going on May 24 with the Tigers and Knights squaring off in a rare crosstown rivalry game. No. 3-seeded Edwardsville meets No. 6 MELHS at the MELHS Regional.
The victor catapults into the regional finals on May 25. No. 2 Belleville West faces the winner of No. 7 Granite City and No. 8 Alton to decide the other regional finalist. EHS has split four meetings with West this year. It took the Maroons three games to down the Knights in their lone meeting in 2016.
The regional champ advances to the Lincoln-Way East Sectional against the O’Fallon Regional winner, which will likely be the top-seeded Panthers. The Tigers have lost to O’Fallon in three games twice this season.
Finally, there is boys’ tennis and boys’ track and field.
EHS plays host to the eight-team Edwardsville Sectional in tennis on Friday and Saturday, which will include MELHS. It’s the last season of a one-class tennis system in the IHSA, as the Tigers look for their 16th consecutive sectional championship. State is set for May 26-28 in Chicagoland. Tournament central will be at Hersey High in Arlington Heights.
As for boys’ track and field, the Knights head to the 1A Gillespie Sectional on Thursday and Edwardsville is cast in the 3A Collinsville Sectional on Friday. State is set for May 26-28 in Charleston at O’Brien Stadium.
The Tigers will be looking to defend their 3A team state championship, while junior A.J. Epenesa is the favorite to win his first discus state championship along with a possible crown in the shot put. EHS will make a push in the team standings again for sure.
So there you have it, a playoff overview for the spring. Now let’s hope some hardware can be brought back to Edwardsville.
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