(Last year's records in parentheses)
Players to watch: Jordyn Besk, Sr., S; Skyler Woods, Sr., MH.
Outlook: Beecher coach Jessica Linn is changing the team's formation this year to reflect the return of most of the starters from last year's team. Experience should guide the Ladycats to an improved season.
Bloom Twp. (29-3)
Players to watch: Rhea Palombi, Sr. S; Amber Fryer, Jr., OH; Jasmine Banks, Sr., MH.
Outlook: First-year coach Jason Norberg said the Trojans have a realistic chance at winning their fifth straight conference title, despite losing four all-conference players last year to graduation. Norberg expects the set-kill combination of Palombi and Fryer to key Bloom's fortunes. Norberg takes over for Bob Eskew, who is now the coach at Chicago State, where Becca Dill and Val Desiderio are playing.
Players to watch: Maya Topps, Jr., OH; Bridgette Young, Sr., MH.
Outlook: Coach Kristina Zintak said this is the strongest group of players she has coached, with nine of the 11 players having varsity experience. Zintak believes the experience could transform Crete-Monee from a .500 team in 2009 to one that could compete with Bloom for the conference crown.
Players to watch: Claire Weidman, Sr., OH; Ali Lobue, Sr., DS; Katie Gallagher, Sr., S.
Outlook: Vikings lost only two players to graduation last year, and look to move up in the standings of a strong Southwest Suburban conference on the strength of returning starters Weidman, Lobue and Gallagher.
Illiana Christian (31-2)
Players to watch: Breanna Vanderwall, Sr., L; Justine Postma, Sr., MH; Katie Larson, Sr, S.
Outlook: Coach Nikki Van Dyke said this year's squad is very athletic and should compete for the conference crown with Glenbard South. The team, which features seven seniors, two juniors and two sophomores, has impressed Demik with their chemistry leading up to the season opener. The team lost several players including Times Female Athlete of the Year Jessica Wiltjer.
Illinois Lutheran (22-2)
Players to watch: Tori Scrementi, Jr., OH; Erica Dinnocenzo, Jr., OH; Jordyn Heyn, Sr., S.
Outlook: Illinois Lutheran lost three starters from last year's team, but should have another successful campaign behind a core of experienced seniors and junior hitters Scrementi and Dinnocenzo. Won its opener this season against Crete-Monee.
Luther East (13-6)
Players to watch: Melanie Hudson, Sr., OH; Liz Doe, Sr., S; Jasmine Bass, MH.
Outlook: Luther East lost four starters from last year's team, which won its first postseason volleyball game in the school's history, according to coach Michelle Van Dommelan. This year's team has only three upperclassmen on varsity, which has Van Dommelan spending more time than usual working on basic offensive plays and fundamentals.
Marian Catholic (19-17)
Players to watch: Krista Pollicchio, Sr., L; Caitlyn Furmanek, Sr., S; Morgan Sullivan, Sr., OH; Alyssa Wlodarczyk, Sr., OH.
Outlook: Coach Stefanie Cravens said experience and the play of her outside hitters should key the team's fortune. In addition to Sullivan and Wlodarczyk, Marian also will get finishing power from sophomore Kelly Marcinek, who is slated to return from and injury in the middle of the season.
Seton Academy (9-8)
Players to watch: Janine Sykes, Sr., S; Camella Johnson, Sr., L; Nancy Jeanty, So., MH; Mykel Adams, So., MH.
Outlook: First-year coach Brianna Rising believes Seton has plenty of talent, if not height. The team has shown signs of good chemistry in early scrimmages, with returning backcourt players Sykes and Johnson setting the tone for the team.
St. Francis deSales (15-9)
Players to watch: Amber Malkowski, So., OH; Julia Senteno, Sr., S.
Outlook: Malkowski and Senteno are the returning starters from last year's team, which took second in the GCAC White. Coach Arlene Ramos said this year's squad has 12 seniors and features a variety of talent that should allow Ramos flexibility in terms of situational substituting this season.
T.F. North (8-24)
Players to watch: Sharia Coleman, Sr., OH; Cheyenne Bailey, Sr., MH; China Cordova, Sr., OH.
Outlook: Third-year coach Peg Haney said last year was a learning experience for her team, which had to battle in the tough South Suburban last season. This year, Haney said this year's team has exhibited more court savvy and poise, the byproduct of significant playing time last season.
T.F. South (19-13)
Players to watch: Elise Seufert, Jr., L; Rhiannon Hanft, Sr., OH; Sophie Kessler, Sr., MH.
Outlook: South has a strong core of players back from last year's team, which lost only three games in conference action. Coach Kim Sands said the team's strength is defense and a solid bench. Success on offense will be keyed by the versatile Seufert and finishers Hanft, Kessler and Ashley Olszewski.
Players to watch: Tiarra Tucker, Sr., S; Alex Thomas, Sr., OH; Porshay Lloyd, Sr., OH.
Outlook: Last year was a rebuilding year for the Falcons, who look to inch up the standings in the formidable Southwest Suburban Conference. Fourth-year coach Sara Augustynowicz said passing and service receive will heavily influence the fortunes of the team this year.
Players to watch: Jazjuan Wallace-Sipp, Sr, MH; Jade Gray, Sr., OH.
Outlook: The switch last year to the South Suburban was a learning experience, but this team lost only two starters to graduation, and after a soul-searching 2009 the Wildcats are expected to do better this season.
Players to watch: Malauna Hudson, Sr., MH; Kayla Vaughn, Sr., S.
Outlook: Last year's senior-laden team made a difficult transition to the SouthWest Suburban in 2009. Coach Nancy Lopez hopes this year's young team can improve as the season develops.