Girls soccer sectional outlook
Schedule: Clark vs. Hammond, 5 p.m., East Chicago Central vs. Morton, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, 11 a.m., Saturday
Skinny: The departure of Munster has opened up this sectional. Among this group, only Morton has won a title (four straight from 2002 to ’05); Hammond, Clark and East Chicago each would be a first-time winner.
Next: Winner vs. CP Sectional winner in Valparaiso Regional semifinals, Oct. 16
Schedule: Griffith vs. Lake Central, 5 p.m., Munster vs. Highland, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, 6 p.m., Saturday
Skinny: Any of these four teams has the ability to win the sectional — the champion truly will have earned it. For starters, Griffith and Lake Central played to a 2-2 tie on Sept. 12; and Munster (which shifted from the East Chicago sectional, with Gavit not competing in postseason) topped NCC rival Highland 1-0 on Sept. 24. The Indians have won three straight sectionals, and seven in eight seasons (their 15 total is the second most in the state). The Mustangs bring with them back-to-back titles, and three in four seasons.
Next: Winner vs. Portage Sectional winner in Valparaiso Regional semifinals, Oct. 16
Schedule: Kankakee Valley vs. Merrillville, 5 p.m., Crown Point vs. Lowell, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, 10 a.m., Saturday
Skinny: If the regular-season game serves as any indication — Crown Point edged Kankakee Valley 1-0 on a last-minute goal on Sept. 26, KV’s only loss — a sectional final matchup between the Bulldogs and Kougars would be classic. On its way to consecutive regional titles, Crown Point has ended Kankakee Valley’s season two straight times (5-0 in a sectional opener last season, 6-1 in a 2011 final). But this clearly is a different type of team for KV, which won its only sectional title in 2009, proceeding to win a regional.
Next: Winner vs. East Chicago Sectional winner in Valparaiso Regional semifinals, Oct. 16
Schedule: Valparaiso vs. Hobart, 5 p.m., Portage vs. Chesterton, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, noon, Saturday
Skinny: Chesterton has been the area’s best team this season. The Trojans, who defeated Valparaiso 3-1 back on Aug. 27, are seeking their first sectional title since 2010 (they have lost to the Vikings in a sectional final in each of the last two seasons, including 1-0 last season). Valparaiso has won three straight titles, and seven in the last eight seasons.
Next: Winner vs. Highland Sectional winner in Valparaiso Regional semifinals, Oct. 16
Schedule: Michigan City vs. South Bend Washington, 5 p.m., Tuesday; South Bend St. Joseph’s vs. LaPorte, 4 p.m., Mishawaka Marian vs. Michigan City-South Bend Washington, 6 p.m., Thursday; final, 6 p.m., Saturday
Skinny: Mishawaka Marian moves up to Class 2A from A, after winning a state title last season and finishing as runner-up in 2011, and takes over hosting duties from South Bend St. Joseph’s. Marian and St. Joe, which has won five straight sectional titles, both are ranked in the state coaches’ poll.
Next: Winner vs. SB Riley Sectional winner in Goshen Regional semifinals, Oct. 16
Schedule: Wheeler vs. Washington Twp., 5 p.m., Marquette vs. Andrean, 7 p.m., Tuesday; Wheeler-Washington Twp vs. Marquette-Andrean, 5 p.m., Bishop Noll vs. Westville, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, 2 p.m., Saturday
Skinny: Wheeler won its first sectional title last season. And the Bearcats have been stellar this season, losing only to Griffith and having a tie against Kankakee Valley on their resume.
Next: Winner vs. Covenant Christian Sectional winner in Wheeler Regional, Oct. 19
Schedule: Kouts vs. Covenant Christian, 5 p.m., Hebron vs. Boone Grove, 7 p.m., Tuesday; Kouts-Covenant Christian vs. Hebron-Boone Grove, 5 p.m., Rensselaer vs. Hanover Central, 7 p.m., Thursday; final, 11 a.m., Saturday
Skinny: Boone could be in position for its first sectional title, after another strong season for the Wolves (they did lose to opening-round opponent Hebron in PKs on Sept. 4). Argos, which won back-to-back sectional and regional titles, left this sectional and will host its own (taking Rochester with it). That means the area is guaranteed to have a representative at the semistate level; the Covenant and Wheeler sectionals now consist only local teams.
Next: Winner vs. Wheeler Sectional winner in Wheeler Regional, Oct. 19
— By Michael Osipoff