NAPERVILLE – If Neuqua Valley is the fifth-best soccer team in the country – as one national poll suggests – Centennial's Chargers on Friday were left wondering exactly where they fit in.
The Chargers nearly stunned heavily favored Neuqua Valley in a Class 2A state quarterfinal match before falling 3-2 on Bret Hruby's goal with 8 minutes, 37 seconds remaining.
NAPERVILLE – Centennial's magical postseason run ended Friday at the Class 2A state soccer tournament. Nequa Valley, ranked fifth nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, defeated the Chargers 3-2 in the quarterfinals at North Central College.
TOLONO – Unity had been to the playoffs in each of coach Scott Hamilton's first 13 seasons as coach.
But after a 3-3 start this season, that streak appeared to be in jeopardy.
TOLONO – For coach Annie Camacho and her Monticello Sages, this season was quite the success story.
The Sages finished the regular season 27-1 and followed it up with a regional title.
CHATHAM – Centennial started quickly but finished too soon.
The best summation for the Chargers' volleyball season is also an accurate description for the team's final match.
CHAMPAIGN – A year ago, Daniel Wiggs was a standout goalkeeper for the Centennial boys' soccer team.
But a Jan. 2 car accident in which Wiggs was driving has forced the senior to take a different role this season, a sparkling campaign that the Chargers will complete this weekend by playing in the Class 2A state tournament in Naperville.
CHAMPAIGN – His team has won a school-record 32 matches. It captured a regional title after missing out on winning one last year for the first time in five seasons. And it's on the verge of capturing its first sectional crown, so forgive Centennial volleyball coach Stan Bergman if he's speechless.
"I don't know how to describe it," Bergman said. "I can say that I'm not surprised because every year we should be competitive. It's just really nice that it came together for these girls this year."
WESTVILLE – With 10 consecutive wins and senior Caleb Pratt rushing for more than 2,100 yards – while setting the state record for career rushing – there have been plenty of big performances to choose from when searching for a storyline for Westville's football team.
But no one on the Tigers' squad would claim this season has been a one-man show. One of the unheralded athletes is senior Jordan Barney.
ST. JOSEPH – When St. Joseph-Ogden linebacker/fullback Zach Becker missed the Week 7 game against Watseka with a slight shoulder separation, there was probably some panic among the Spartan faithful. How bad is it? How long is he out? Will he be back for the playoffs?
Truth is, if the Spartans needed their senior stud, he probably could have taken the field in Week 7, but he and coach Dick Duval were thinking long term. And with Tri-Point forfeiting in Week 8, Becker got even more rest.
If the football seasons for Westville and Salt Fork are to continue, the road to success will take them outside of Vermilion County. Both teams will travel to their second-round sites Saturday.
For Westville, the path is drastically different than last year, when the Tigers didn't play outside of Vermilion County until the Class 2A state championship game at Memorial Stadium. This week, the 10-0 Tigers play at Tremont – located between Bloomington and Peoria – for a berth in the Class 2A quarterfinals. Tremont, coached by Champaign Central graduate Lou Wicks, is 6-4.