Arriving early for Thursday night's varsity volleyball match at Urbana between the Tigers and the visiting Centennial Chargers provided reason for me to pause and reflect.
As the two JV teams battled one another, one point became clear. If our weekly volleyball rankings truly listed the area's top teams, these two squads would deserve some mention, at the least, and consideration for inclusion among the Top 10. I won't say they'd beat all of the small schools around the area, but they would both beat a lot of team and compete well with many others.
It's certainly a sign of where these school's varsity programs will be in the foreseeable future.
One other point was abundantly clear. Even though Centennial won the varsity match by decisive 25-12, 25-15 scores, Urbana is a vastly improved team. The outcome was not a reflection that the losing team couldn't do anything. Rather, it was an example of how strong and dominant the winning team was.
Centennial has an outstanding team. I may be proven wrong, but it seems to me to be the most complete varsity high school team I've seen in my three-plus decades on staff. Urbana has a team on the rise.
At least, that's the way I see it.