Archive for April, 2014

Sectional Play-In Game Update

Posted: April 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

Currently, the IHSA lists all of the boys and girls play-in games as having start times at 7:00pm. From prior experience, those are standard times that they initially list but can be changed based on pool availability. In the recent past, game times have been changed to 4:30pm, 5:00pm, 5:30pm, 5:45pm, or have stayed at 7:00pm.

Also, the host of the play-in game is usually the higher seed. However, because of pool availability issues at some schools, I have seen the lower seed end up hosting the game and I have also seen the actual sectional host serve as a neutral location for a handful of games.

I will check, recheck, and update the latest information daily and my advice is to stay alert for any site or time changes in the next two weeks.

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Stagg/TBA Sectional Update

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

When the IHSA announced the state tournament bracket drawing results, they listed Stagg as a sectional host for what had previously been listed as a TBA Sectional. Earlier this week, however, the IHSA still had a TBA listing on their web site and they mentioned that Stagg would not be a host in 2014.

The latest development: Stagg WILL host the TBA Sectional after all, however, the sectional final games will be played at Lincoln-Way Central in their all-deep facility. The play-in games, quarterfinal round, and semifinal round will be played at Stagg leading up to Saturday morning’s final games (which will both be played prior to the LWC Sectional’s two final games).

No Insult To Injury

Posted: April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

There have been multiple teams this season who have suffered from a key player being sidelined due to injury. During that time, the teams have suffered what they would more than likely call “unexpected” losses due to the fact that they weren’t playing at full strength. And while it is a possibility that they would have won with the sidelined player in the lineup, the games and those losses do count and do have an effect on both the team standings and the team rankings. A team does not get a “temporary freeze” on their ranking simply because they do not have their regular starting lineup available each week. Even if we could hypothetically say “well, they probably would have won if Injured Starter #1 was playing”, the end result of each game still has to be considered for each team.

Additionally, it has to be considered that a player sidelined with an injury may not know if and when they will actually return to the pool. It would be extremely difficult to keep ranking a team ahead of ones they lose too without knowing that information.

And just remember…while an injury is temporary, so too are the team rankings. A returning starter back in the lineup plus a few wins likely means a team will end up appropriately ranked when all is said and done.

For those new to the sport or unfamiliar with the postseason process, there is an event that takes place every April that is of the utmost importance to the sport of water polo. The IHSA uses a blind drawing to determine the state final pairings, usually asking a media member or a school official to draw numerical peas from a bottle. Each sectional is assigned a number, and the order of the draw helps set the brackets for the state quarterfinals, semifinals, and final games.

This means that instead of seeding the final eight teams at the state tournament, the teams are randomly assigned to play any of the other sectional winners in the quarterfinal round. While this may seem like a fair way to assign the matchups, the randomness of it all can also lead to opening round matchups where the top-ranked team in the state plays the second-ranked team in the quarterfinals, thus eliminating one of the top two teams from trophy contention before Saturday’s semifinal and final rounds. Over the course of the last decade, there have been many quarterfinal round matchups that featured games like: #1 Fenwick vs #2 Brother Rice (boys), #1 Fenwick vs #2 Mother McAuley (girls), and #1 Lyons vs #3 Naperville North (boys). Hence the importance of the draw.

The IHSA normally does not announce the date of the draw. They just announce the results after it has occurred. If I can pin down a date via one of their executive directors, I will post that information immediately. Otherwise, the draw has been completed on the following dates over the past four years: April 21 (2010), April 15 (2011), April 13 (2012), April 17 (2013). It is definitely “coming soon”.

The IHSA has yet to announce the team assignments for the 2014 water polo sectionals (as of April 2). That is eighteen days beyond their self-imposed deadline, which is stated as “for spring activities, this information is usually posted by March 15” on their own web site. As we await the announcement, here are some interesting details:

  • Schools had to meet the IHSA’s deadline of February 1 to participate
  • Nearly every other spring sport has had their assignments announced
  • To my recollection, the announcements have never been made in April
  • The sectional seeds are determined on April 24, so the assignments surely must be made by then

An e-mail to an assistant director of the IHSA on Monday was met with a response that the announcement “should be this week” with no other information. Meanwhile, there are still two ‘TBA’ sectionals listed on the IHSA site.

And did I post this in hopes that they release the team assignments immediately afterwards? Definitely.