1. New Trier
The defending champs will return multiple key players from last year's State Championship team. Until they get defeated, they need to remain at the number 1 spot. Even without the star fire power on some of the other teams, New Trier always finds a way to win.
The Ramblers underachieved last year by not winning State. Their roster features players who will be competing for a national championship in a few years. They have some of the top players in the state on their team. The question is, can they win the big one? Due to the new IHSLA playoff bracket this year, New Trier and Loyola will be playing against each other early on in the playoffs.
3. St. Viator
Most of St. Viator's current seniors have been on the varsity team all four years, resulting in a team with more depth than most. And this year, those seniors want results. They have a lot of firepower with their junior and sophomore classes, and the entire team has a great culture and play strategic lacrosse. Their Kool-Aid must taste great since all of the best players from the Northwest suburbs somehow find their way to Viator. Only one team can finish the season with a W, and Viator has all of the tools to get it done.
4. Glenbard West
This team plays with some serious attitude. They love being the underdog and will never back down. West has one of the best face-off guys in the state, which will give them the ball after every goal. If their offense clicks, they have the potential to play "make-it, take-it" for 4-5 goals. I'm not sure what is in the water in Lake Ellyn, but all of West's defensemen are at least 6'2", 185 lbs. Last year, this team played a lot of man-down, which hurt them in close games. If they clean it up, they should be the top team out of the Western suburbs.
5. Neuqua Valley
A number of Neuqua Valley's players from last year's state semi-final team return this year. They score a lot of goals and have some big boys on defense. Neuqua typically does not play the toughest schedule, so they usually get caught off guard by a local sub-par opponent. They need to stay focused and get wins against the teams ranked ahead of them.
6. Hinsdale Central
The Red Devils had an impressive 15-2 regular season record but were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. They could be a top 5 team but need to prove they can make noise in the playoffs. They have some strong offensive and defensive players, but need to get it done in big games and get the W when it counts the most.
7. Lake Forest
The Scouts have continued to reload every year. They have strong players in all positions and will challenge NT and LA in the playoffs. For some reason they always have a shaky start at the beginning of the season. Once they figure out what works, they usually roll through teams in the second half of the season. They have the talent but need to stay consistent. You never know which team will show up.
8. Lyons Township
LT has some of the best players in the state but struggle with depth. They will be relying on some young players to step up this spring. They should be able to get a lot of wins this year but will struggle against strong defensive teams.
9. Grayslake North
Always a strong team out of the North. They lost their top scorer from last year but return their goalie, face off specialist and defensive unit. Much like Lyons Township, Grayslake North will ask for their younger players to step up this year, which will test them but also prepare for the future.
10. South Elgin
This team won the B Cup last year and deserve some love this year. Recently, this team did some damage to a few opponents in a preseason tournament. They know how to win and should be strong again this year.
Watch List: Naperville North, Glenbrook North, Evanston, Stevenson
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