Oct. 24—Before regional champions are crowned Thursday evening, Sports Editor Matt Daniels unveils the area's best in our latest weekly poll:
Previous ranking: No. 2
The Bulldogs won their own 15-team invitational on Saturday and carry a 10-match win streak into Tuesday's regional semifinal match against Rantoul. Normal U-High — again — is looming for M-S in Thursday night's regional title match in Normal.
2. Cissna Park
Previous ranking: No. 4
Since losing at St. Joseph-Ogden on Sept. 27, the Timberwolves have rattled off 13 straight wins. Cissna Park carries the top seed in the Class 1A Dwight Regional and will face the host Trojans on Wednesday night in a regional semifinal match.
3. St. Joseph-Ogden
Previous ranking: No. 3
Two more wins and the Spartans hit a couple pretty cool milestones: win 30 matches for the fourth time in the last 10 seasons, win a fifth straight regional title and advance to a sectional semifinal match at home next week. First up: Hoopeston Area on Tuesday night.
4. Judah Christian
Previous ranking: No. 1
The Tribe won't carry an unbeaten record into the Class 1A Salt Fork Regional after last Thursday's loss to Cornerstone. But the East Central Illinois Conference tournament champion is still the favorite, even opening up against the host Storm on Wednesday.
5. Cerro Gordo/Bement
Previous ranking: No. 5
The Broncos handled a challenging regular-season schedulwe well and is the top-seeded team in the Class 1A Casey-Westfield Regional. They start the playoffs on Wednesday night against the host Warriors in a regional semifinal match.
Previous ranking: No. 6
Beating Westville twice in the final week of the regular season is certainly impressive. A third meeting between two of Vermilion County's best teams this season seems inevitable on Thursday night during the Class 2A Westville Regional championship match.
No. 7 Westville
Previous ranking: No. 7
The Tigers, who won their first 16 matches, are putting together one of the best seasons in school history. If they beat Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond on Tuesday night, they'll hit 30 wins and have a chance to win their first regional title since 2005.
Previous ranking: No. 8
The Warriors, who face Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Tuesday night, have had three winning streaks of at least three matches this season. They'll need to go on another roll when they host their own Class 2A regional, especially with St. Joseph-Ogden in the field.
9. Champaign Central
Previous ranking: No. 10
The Maroons have had 12 days to get ready for a third match with rival Centennial on Tuesday night. Beat the Chargers and Central will play for a Class 3A regional title on Thursday night at home, likely against second-seeded Lincoln.
Previous ranking: No. 9
The Bearcats have the ultimate carrot dangling in front of them: a chance to play in a Class 1A super-sectional on their home court. First, though, Milford has to get past Ridgeview on Wednesday night during a regional semifinal match in Lexington.