When it comes to boys soccer, the Joliet area has more than its share of quality teams.
Some, in fact, have earned recognition as being among the best the state has to offer.
In one preseason poll, Plainfield North was ranked No. 1, and the Tigers have a 13-3 record this season. According to chicagolandsoccer.org – which gave North its preseason No. 1 ranking – Plainfield North is ranked No. 9 in the state. Southwest Prairie Conference rival Romeoville currently has the highest win total in the area at 16-0-1 and is ranked No. 11 in the same poll. Lockport, which finished third in the state in Class 3A last season, is ranked 20th with its 11-2-1 record, and also avenged its lone regular-season loss from last fall with a 2-1 win over archrival Lincoln-Way Central last week.
On maxpreps.com, Lockport currently is ranked No. 7 and Plainfield North is No. 8, with Romeoville at No. 17.
Both the Southwest Suburban and Southwest Prairie Conference races promise to be nail-biters straight to the end.
Lockport and Lincoln-Way Central are two of the top teams in the Southwest Suburban Conference, along with Sandburg. Romeoville, Plainfield North and Joliet West appear to have the upper hand in the Southwest Prairie.
In the Southwest Prairie, however, don’t overlook teams such as Oswego East, West Aurora, Plainfield South and Minooka. West Aurora hung with Plainfield North until the Tigers won with a goal in the 78th minute. Minooka did the same against Joliet West, scoring the game’s lone goal with only :33 remaining. Oswego East beat Plainfield North 2-1 last week, while Plainfield South has a 4-1-1 conference record that includes a 2-1 win over Oswego East.
Both conference races will provide plenty of excitement and will prepare teams for the postseason.
Speaking of the postseason, the seeding meetings take place later this week. The assignments are set, however, and local teams will have to fight their way through each other in order to advance.
In Class 3A, Lockport will host a sectional, with the winner advancing to the Bloomington Supersectional. Teams involved will be Eisenhower, Reavis T.F. North (Co-op), Bloom Township, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way East, Thornton (Co-op), Lockport, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West, Oak Lawn, Sandburg, Shepard, Stagg, Rich Township, Romeoville and Andrew. Regional hosts are Reavis, Homewood-Flossmoor, Stagg and Rich Township.
The other sectional that feeds into the Bloomington Supersectional will be held at Moline. In Subsectional B will be Bradley-Bourbonnais, Decatur Eisenhower (Co-op), East Moline, East Peoria (Coop), Joliet Central, Joliet West, Minooka, Moline, Normal Community and Pekin. Joliet West and Pekin will host regionals in that subsectional.
Bolingbrook also will host a sectional that will feed into the East Aurora Supersectional as well as the winner of a sectional whose site has yet to be determined. Taking part in the Bolingbrook Sectional will be East Aurora, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, West Aurora, Batavia, Bolingbrook, Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley, Naperville North, Oswego East, Oswego, Plainfield Central, Plainfield East, Plainfield North, Plainfield South, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Yorkville. Regional hosts are Metea Valley, Batavia, Naperville North and Plainfield North.
In Class 2A, Lemont and Providence Catholic will take part in Subsectional A of the Glenbard South Sectional, along with Illinois Math and Science Academy, Marmion Academy, Hinsdale South, Glenbard South, Nazareth Academy, Plano and Wheaton St. Francis. Regional hosts are Hinsdale South and Wheaton St. Francis.
Morris takes part in Subsectional B of the Washington Sectional, along with Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Orion (Coop), Ottawa, Rock Island, Sterling and Streator. Geneseo and La Salle-Peru are regional hosts.
In Class 1A, all of the area teams are in the Manteno Sectional.
In Subsectional A are Beecher, Reed-Custer, Coal City, Illinois Lutheran, Grant Park, Herscher, Grace Christian Academy, Bishop McNamara, Manteno, Momence and Peotone, with Reed-Custer and Coal City as regional hosts. In Subsectional B are Bridgeview Universal, Chicago Acero/Soto, Chicago Carver Military Academy, Chicago Catalyst/Maria, Chicago Gage Park, Chicago Horizon/Southwest Chicago, Chicago Morgan Park Academy, St. Francis de Sales, Joliet Catholic Academy, Chicago Christian and Unity Christian Academy. Acero/Soto and Chicago Christian are regional hosts.