The dust is about to settle.
The girls volleyball playoffs begin in all four classes Monday. Here's a look at what Fox Valley area teams face this week in regional play, highlighted by multiple rematches between conference rivals.
Class 4A: The goal for each the five teams from Elgin Area School District U-46 is to advance to the Larkin sectional, whereas area teams from the Fox Valley Conference vie for advancement to the Jacobs sectional.
The Crystal Lake South regional is essentially a mini-FVC tournament. The field includes No. 1 Prairie Ridge (26-9), No. 2 Crystal Lake South (26-9), No. 3 Jacobs (26-8), No. 4 Cary-Grove (18-15), No. 5 Crystal Lake Central (26-9) and No. 6 Dundee-Crown (14-21).
2011 state runner-up Cary-Grove opens the postseason Monday at 5:30 p.m. against CL Central, a team the Trojans swept in 2 games early in the season. The winner advances to Tuesday's semifinal against Prairie Ridge, which has played lately without leading hitter Caitlin Brauneis (ankle). Cary-Grove has dropped three matches to the Wolves, but two went the distance.
"I believe in our team so much," Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis said. "It's just a matter of getting over this hump of winning the big match. We'll see if we can do it now."
Jacobs takes on Dundee-Crown in Monday's second play-in. Jacobs swept two matches from the Chargers this season, most recently last week, 25-19, 25-21.
"It's hard to beat a team three times," Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer said. "We have to stay focused, serve tough and play good defense throughout the entire regional." The winner gets CL South on Tuesday. CL South beat Jacobs in 2 games twice, including last Tuesday.
If seeds hold, Gators would face Prairie Ridge a fourth time. The FVC Valley co-champions split two conference matches and PR won on a neutral court last week at Autumnfest.
"You know what to expect, but they know what to expect from you," CL South coach Jorie Fontana said of facing conference rivals in regional play. "If Crystal Lake South plays Crystal Lake South volleyball and plays with all the cookers going, we should be competitive and do well."
No 3. Huntley (13-18) was shipped west to the Rockford East regional. The Red Raiders open against No. 2 Belivdere North on Monday at 7 p.m. A victory would advance Huntley to a semifinal against No. 1 seed DeKalb on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
No. 11 Larkin (18-16) and No. 22 Elgin (2-29-2) renew their rivalry in a Schaumburg regional play-in game on Monday at 7 p.m. The Royals have won five straight against the Maroons, including a 3-game victory on Sept. 18. The Larkin-Elgin winner faces No. 3 St. Charles East on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
No. 15 South Elgin (19-9-3) already has 3 more victories than any team in school history. The Storm will compete in the Batavia regional against No. 18 Glenbard East in a play-in match Monday at 7 p.m. The winner gets No. 2 Geneva (20-9) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
South Elgin enters with a head of steam after knocking off Waubonsie Valley last week. "If we play like that, I definitely think we can win a regional," Storm coach Joni Plach said.
No. 20 Streamwood and No. 21 Bartlett (4-23) will compete in the St. Charles North regional. The Sabres take on No. 13 Wheaton North on Monday at 6 p.m., immediately followed by Bartlett vs. No. 12 Wheaton Warrenville South.
Class 3A: St. Edward (14-17) makes the jump up in class to 3A for the first time. The fifth-seeded Green Wave play No. 4 Genoa-Kingston on Monday at 6 p.m., followed by No. 3 Sycamore vs. No. 6 Hampshire (9-14). Hampshire is the regional host.
No 1 Kaneland and No. 2 Burlington Central (25-10) await the winners on Tuesday.
"We've had a really great year against a tough schedule," Central coach Marv Leavitt said. "I have a lot of faith in my team. We'll play strong."
Class 1A: Harvest Christian Academy (27-5) reached the Elite Eight last season is gearing up for another strong push.
"We definitely want to make a state run," Harvest Christian coach Kim Floyd said. "That has been the goal."
The Lions will try to win the Westminster Christian regional to advance to a sectional they will host in Elgin. Harvest Christian opens Tuesday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Monday's 7 p.m. match between No. 4 Elgin Academy (14-3) and No. 5 Faith Lutheran.
No. 2 Westminster Christian (18-7) is the likely opponent in Thursday's regional final. The Warriors open against No. 3 Alden-Hebron on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Harvest Christian swept 2 matches against the Westminster this season.