The Watch List: Local sports stories to follow in the week to come


Five metro-east teams survived the first round of the IHSA state football playoffs, including two of the three that finished their regular seasons undefeated. Althoff (10-0) will travel to Quincy Notre Dame for a 2 p.m. game Saturday, while Columbia (10-0) heads to Mater Dei (7-3) at 1 p.m. The other round two qualifiers include Triad (9-1), which will host Lincoln-Way West (8-2) Saturday at 3 p.m., and Nashville (7-3), which will welcome Sangamon Valley (9-1) to Trenton Saturday at 2 p.m.


The Waterloo soccer team surprised Columbia in a sectional semifinal then handily defeated Marquette, 7-0, for a 2A sectional championship. The Bulldogs are the last remaining area team still alive for a state soccer championship. The journey continues Tuesday night when they travel to Illinois College in Jacksonville for a Super-Sectional showdown with Springfield High School. The winner earns a berth to the state's 2A final four and a semifinal game with the winner of the Park Ridge Super-Sectional game between Mundelein (Carmel) and Elmwood Park. The state title game will be played Saturday.


It will be another busy week for teams on local volleyball courts as sectional play begins Tuesday for seven surviving area teams. The main event will be the 4A faceoff between O'Fallon, which knocked off Edwardsville to win the Granite City Regional championship, and Mater Dei, which defeated the Belleville West Maroons at their own regional. Mascoutah and Columbia both will be at the 3A Herrin Sectional, Althoff will be at the 2A Nashville Sectional, and Valmeyer and Metro-East Lutheran will be at 1A Sectionals in Norris City and St. Elmo, respectively.


The Freeburg boys and girls cross country teams will be making a return trip to Peoria's Detweiler Park and the Class 1A State Meet Saturday. For the boys, it'll be their eighth consecutive trip and, for the girls, it'll be their seventh. The Mater Dei girls also advanced as did Red Bud's Keri Burmester, who earned a state medal last year. In Class 3A, both the O'Fallon boys and girls teams qualified by placing second and third in their respective fields at the Normal West Sectional Saturday. Granite City freshman Andrew O'Keefe was the lone individual from the area to qualify in 3A.


With the wounds still fresh from Chicago Cubs' National League Divisional Series win over the Cardinals, St. Louis sports fans will be hoping for revenge when their hockey team, the Blues, travel north for a showdown with the rival Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday at United Center. The 8-2 Blues have been racking up points despite a rash of injuries to key players and are in second place in the Western Conference Central Division. The defending Stanley Cup champions, meanwhile, are in sixth place at 6-5. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports-Midwest beginning at 7 p.m.