Most high schools would be thrilled to start a seasonal postseason with one or two teams that have a real shot of making a deep run.
At Minooka, I’m not sure I can find one or two teams that don’t appear to have such an opportunity this spring.
I’ll start with a sport in which the Indians just suffered their first loss to an Illinois opponent all season, boys volleyball. Minooka, which had been ranked second in the state, was defeated 23-25, 25-23, 16-14 by Lincoln-Way North Saturday in the championship match at the Lincoln-Way East Invitational.
When you were 28-1 on the season going in, a loss is disappointing, sure. But it’s hardly devastating for the Indians. They did advance to the title match of a loaded tournament. There, they were tripped up in a very close, three-set match. It happens. There’s still plenty of reason to expect big things once the Indians begin their postseason May 21 at the Joliet Central Regional.
Speaking of teams that haven’t lost much, Minooka looks downright scary in track and field for both boys and girls. The boys have had one meet all outdoor season at which they haven’t placed first — an April 22 triad with Plainfield East and Romeoville. They most recently added a title at a 12-team invitational at Conant Friday night.
As for the girls, who will be the first to enter the IHSA postseason at Thursday’s Plainfield North Sectional, they haven’t yet not finished first in any of their varsity outdoor events. Their resume includes invitational titles at Plainfield North, Conant and their own Minooka Invitational.
In baseball, the Indians improved to 16-7 overall Friday with a 6-0 win over Oswego East. They’re 12-3 in the Southwest Prairie Conference.
In softball, the Indians rallied Friday to beat a rival in Morris, 5-3. They improved to 12-6 with the victory.
The girls soccer team has had a roller-coaster of a season — an early three-match losing streak was atoned for when the Indians won seven straight. They’ve struggled a bit lately, but they could get hot again.
It’s also been an up-and-down season for the Indians in boys tennis, but they do have dual wins over Plainfield South, Plainfield East and Coal City to their credit.
So of the seven teams that will represent Minooka in an IHSA state series, more than half, easily, have produced results this season that indicate they could go places. Even better, many of those teams have recent history on their side. Both the baseball and volleyball teams were fourth in the state last year. In track, the boys were 11th at state in 2012 and ninth in 2011; the girls were 58th last year.
The postseason begins Thursday. Don’t expect it to end for Minooka very soon.