Time to serve

Time to serve

Sports editor Matt Daniels looks at one regional to watch in each class as the volleyball postseason starts today — Full pairings, B-4.


The only two area teams, Centennial and Danville, playing in the largest class will play each other at 6 p.m. today on the Chargers' home court. Centennial (11-22) is the regional host, but the sixth-seeded Chargers will need to pull off a few upsets this week if they want to win their first regional since 2013. Eighth-seeded Danville (9-23) comes into today's match on a bit of a roll, having closed the regular season with five straight wins. Centennial swept Danville on Oct. 10 and today's winner meets No. 2 Pekin at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in a regional semifinal match.


The five-team regional field that will descend upon Champaign Central's Combes Gym will feature at least one area team taking home hardware since all five are local programs. The host Maroons (21-13) are the second seed and are in line to meet No. 3 Mahomet-Seymour (17-14) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the regional title match. If they do, it'll mark the fourth meeting between the programs. Along with M-S, No. 6 Unity (19-16), No. 9 Urbana (13-19) and No. 11 Rantoul (5-25) will try to deny Central from winning its second straight regional title.


A pair of teams with 20-plus wins could meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday to vie for a regional title in Westville. Oakwood, the second seed, had its nine-match win streak snapped this past Thursday with a loss at Schlarman, but the Comets (21-5) are still full of confidence after winning the Vermilion County Tournament earlier this month. Ditto for No. 3 Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond. The Knights (26-3) won the Little Okaw Valley Southeast regular season title. Don't discount No. 5 Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (20-6) or No. 7 Georgetown-Ridge Farm (17-8) from causing havoc in this regional.


Blue Ridge is fresh off a consolation championship at the McLean County/Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament. The Knights are familiar with postseason hardware, too, since the program has won four consecutive regional championships. They'll look to add to that collection as the favorite at the LeRoy Regional. Standing in their way is likely Armstrong-Potomac. The third-seeded Trojans (18-13) have put it all together at times this season, particularly during wins against Oakwood and Georgetown-Ridge Farm.