2. Mother McAuley (41-1) – Defending national champions return Gatorade Player of the Year Charley Niego.
3. Marist (30-9) – RedHawks are loaded with high level talent and are solid at all program levels.
4. Sandburg (27-11) – David Vales’ deepest team ever will be tested by typically difficult schedule.
5. Lincoln-Way East (29-9) – Northwestern recruit Hanna Lesniak leads deep and potent Griffins.
6. Stevenson (33-8) – Junior Sophie Sorenson leads veterans from last year’s third-place 4A finisher.
7. Benet (32-6) – Great defense, solid outsides, but will Redwings get help from the middle?
8. St. Charles East (27-6) – Saints won the Illinois team camp over the summer and are always very talented.
9. Downers Grove North (20-17) – Not many teams have the powerful hitters the Trojans can roll out.
10. Plainfield Central (25-13) – Six-foot-5 sophomore Taylor Landfair could carry team to state title by herself.
11. Waubonsie Valley (22-15) – Surprise team of the year with Gisela Bode, Grace Kloss and Melissa Walden?
12. Geneva (37-2) – Lost a ton, but had a very good summer and won’t fall that far from the top.
13. Loyola (22-12) – Coach Mark Chang has Ramblers poised to make some waves in 2017.
14. Crystal Lake Central (26-9) – Emily, Megan Kelley will lead terrific Tigers in rugged Fox Valley Conference.
15. Normal Community (32-7) – Six-foot-3 Grace Cleveland will anchor traditionally strong downstate power.
16. Belleville Althoff (24-12) – Crusaders, led by 6-foot setter Louis Comerford, make jump to Class 3A.
17. St. Ignatius (19-17) – The long rebuilding process is finally over on Roosevelt Road.
18. Prairie Ridge (20-14) – Wolves will rely on some youngsters to compete with Fox Valley rivals.
19. Latin (29-10-2) – Five starters return for Latin, which gets kicked up to 3A by the success factor.
20. (Sciota) West Prairie (32-6) – Class 1A favorite returns Peyton Bowman, Pema Zellman and Cora Vyhnanek.
Twenty Players To Watch In Illinois
Taylor Baranski, 5-6, Sr., L, Minooka
Emmy Barnhorst, 6-2, Sr., MH, Wheaton North
Holly Bonde, 6-2, Sr., OPP, Minooka
Grace Cleveland, 6-3, Sr., MH. Normal Community
Charlotte Cronister, 5-8, Jr., OH, Latin
Clare Delaplane, 6-1, Sr., OH, Downers Grove North
Nancy Kane, 5-11, Jr., S, Mother McAuley
Laura Katarzynski, 5-8, Sr., L, West Chicago
Samantha LaBolle, 6-3, Sr., MH, Sandwich
Taylor Landfair, 6-5, So., OH, Plainfield Central
Hannah Lesiak, 6-1, Sr., OH, Lincoln-Way East
Hattie Monson, 5-5, So., L, Benet
Charlie Niego, 6-0, Sr., OH, Mother McAuley
Allie Papesh, 6-1, Sr., OH, Minooka
Natalia Pehar, 5-10, OH. Jr. Niles West
Rachel Pranger, 6-0, Sr., OH, Edwardsville
Brittany Robinson, 6-1, Sr., OH, Bartonville Limestone
Kyra Slavik, 5-10, Sr., S. St. Charles East
Temitayo Thomas-Ailara, 6-1, Jr., OH, Marian Catholic
Brittany Welch, 6-1, Sr., OH, Resurrection