Seeds: (1) Valmeyer (24-10), (2) New Athens (23-9), (3) Marissa, (4) Steeleville, (5) Evansville Christ Our Savior Lutheran
Could Surprise: New Athens
Notes: Valmeyer went 7-0 (2-0 vs. New Athens, 2-0 vs. Marissa and 3-0 vs. Steeleville) against the next three lowest seeds in this regional... New Athens is a program on the rise. The Yellow Jackets have four players -- Abby Marlow, Anisa Albori, Denae White and Aleen Dutkanych -- with more than 100 kills.
Mount Olive Regional
Seeds: (1) Bunker Hill, (2) Lovejoy, (3) Lebanon, (4) Mount Olive, (5) Brussels, (6) Madison
Favorite: Bunker Hill
Could Surprise: Lebanon
Notes: Lebanon beat Bunker Hill 25-20, 25-21 on Sept. 23... The Greyhounds have won back-to-back regional tites... Bunker Hill is led by 5-foot-8 Rachel Ude, who has 291 kills on the season.
Seeds: (1) Woodlawn, (2) Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran, (3) Sandoval, (4) Odin, (5) Governor French Academy
Could Surprise: Christ Our Rock Luthern
Seeds: (1) Nashville, (2) Gibault, (3) Red Bud, (4) Carlyle, (5) Wesclin , (6) Dupo
Could Surprise: Gibault, Red Bud, Carlyle, Wesclin
Notes: Nashville has won two regional titles over the last three years, but the top-seeded Hornettes won't have an easy time coming out of this balanced regional... The Gibault Hawks have four players Missy Kimlinger, Courtney Schutt, Lauren Goldschmidt and Katy Gore -- with more than 100 kills. They've beaten Belleville West (twice), Incarnate Word, Normal Community and Valmeyer in October... Red Bud has senior setter-hitter Kalli Hentis, who has tallied a team-leading 176 kills and is second in assists with 147... Carlyle pushed Nashville to three games before succumbing 25-23, 18-25, 21-25 last week. Junior Breanna Smith has 213 kills for the Indians... Wesclin is led by junior setter Ally Isenhower.
St. Elmo Regional
Seeds: (1) Altamont, (2) Metro-East Lutheran (20-13), (3) Flora, (4) Vandalia, (5) St. Elmo, (6) Hillsboro
Could Surprise: Metro-East Lutheran
Notes: Metro-East Lutheran hasn't played any of the other teams in this regonal. The Knights have a balanced net attack with Kessica Green (175 kills), Anna Keller (150 kills), McKenna Judge (135 kills) and Meredith Stratmann (113 kills) sharing the spiking load.
Seeds: (1) Pinckneyville, (2) Sparta, (3) Christopher, (4) Sesser-Valier, (5) Du Quoin
Could Surprise: Sparta
Seeds: (1) Althoff (13-18), (2) Columbia (26-8), (3) Mascoutah (22-11), (4) Freeburg (18-11), (5) Waterloo (12-14), (6) Cahokia
Could Surprise: Columbia
Notes: Althoff beat Columbia twice in two straight sets both timee, but the Eagles' young talent has improved since the start of the season....Other teams should not overlook Mascoutah or Freeburg, two teams with enough firepower to pull an upset or two. Mascoutah outside hitters Liza Gober (249 kills) and Megan Lindsay (201 kills) and middle blocker Amanda Jung (134 kills, 96 blocks) comprise a formidable front line.
Seeds: (1) Mater Dei (32-3), (2) Central (30-5), (3) Triad (19-11), (4) Highland (14-13-3), (5) Salem
Favorite: Mater Dei
Notes: This should be a two-team race, but if either Breese area powerhouses looks ahead to the potential regional final matchup one of the other teams could cause some problems. Highland's height and athleticism are impressive. It's a shame the IHSA puts two state tournament-worthy teams into one regional, but only one can advance.
Seeds (1) Belleville West (23-12), (2) O'Fallon (26-9), (3) Belleville East (18-5-2), (4) Collinsville (14-16), (5) East St. Louis
Favorite: Belleville West
Could Surprise: O'Fallon, Belleville East, Collinsville
Notes: Belleville West enters this mini-Southwestern Conference tournament on a roll having beaten Maine West, Evanston Township, Hersey and Edwardsville in the last week... Defending regional champion O'Fallon closed out the regular season by winning 10 of its last 11 matches. Nzingha Clarke (358 kills) and Aubrey Keilbach (279 kills) are the two big sluggers in the Panthers' net attack... Collinsville knocked off Belleville West 18-25, 25-18, 25-23 on Oct. 17. Senior middle hitter Cathy Schreiber (215 kills, 47 blocks) is a major force at the net for the Kahoks... Seniors Montira Mosby (322 kills) and Jozlynn Brooks (141 kills, 98 blocks) are the leaders of a young Belleville East squad that could be dangerous in the postseason.
Seeds (1) Quincy (25-10), (2) Edwardsville (21-14) , (3) Alton (16-17-1), (4) Pekin, (5) Granite City
Notes: The Tigers enter the playoffs having lost nine of their last 13 matches, but all of those losses were to quality teams... Camrey Saye (223 kills) and Lynsey Wright (220 kills) lead the Tigers' net attack, while libero Katie Shashack (420 digs) leads their defense... The Quincy Blue Devils have 5-foot-11 senior middle hitter Monica Bumbry, who has more than 300 kills this season.
-- Steve Korte and Norm Sanders