Girls water polo / Elite Eight preview
Where: Stevenson High School
Thursday's quarterfinal matchups: Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Fenwick, 4:30 p.m.; Mother McAuley vs. Fremd, 5:45 p.m.; Stevenson vs. Naperville Central, 7 p.m.; St. Ignatius vs. Loyola, 8:15 p.m.
Saturday's schedule: Semifinals at 9 and 10:15 a.m.; third place at 3:30 p.m.; championship at 6:30 p.m.
Tournament outlook: Last year Lyons topped two-time defending champion Fenwick, but the Friars (23-8) have still won five of the last seven state titles and look to be in top form again this season. H-F (24-4) finished fourth last season and ought to provide a stiff challenge. Fremd (24-4) relies on offensive chances predicated on airtight defense, which partly explains its balanced scoring (five players have 29 or more goals). The Vikes' quarterfinal foe, McAuley (17-14), has a roster that feature only five seniors, but the Mighty Macs must be learning quickly, as they ousted defending champ Lyons in the sectional final and have only allowed their opponents to reach double-digit scoring four times. Naperville Central (32-1) has the No. 1 ranking from illpolo.com and features the staggering offensive skills of Abbey Kerth (128 goals). The Redhawks' quarterfinal foe, Stevenson (25-8) has been a top-10 team all season and survived a tough sectional by beating Mundelein behind standouts Karen Lowry and Cheyenne Montijo. The toughest quarterfinal of the day figures to be the last one, where No. 3-ranked Ignatius (24-4) meets No. 4 Loyola (23-6). The teams recently met in the MCAC championship game and Ignatius won 9-6.