Early in the year, LaPorte volleyball coach Erin Parker had a premonition how the IHSAA sectional draw would turn out.
"I told Coach (Katie) Lenard, 'We're going to draw you first, I just know it,'" Parker said. "It's a shame one of these two teams is going to be gone after the first round, but playing the best-of-the-best early is what I'd want."
The IHSAA drew the girls volleyball brackets Monday morning, pitting LaPorte and Valparaiso against each other once again. They have played for the sectional title three of the last four seasons. The Vikings won last year, the fell to Munster in the regional game.
LaPorte beat Valpo in both Duneland Athletic Conference meetings this season, the first match reaching five games and the second match played to four.
"I felt like we played a better match with them the second time, even though the first one went five and the second one went four," Lenard said. "I felt like in a lot of the different skills we improved and I look at that as a positive thing. I'm hopeful for the future of what we can do as we are preparing for them this week."
Crown Point and Chesterton are on the same side of the Valparaiso Sectional bracket. LaPorte and Valpo play in the first game on Oct. 18, followed by Crown Point vs. Chesterton.
Sectional play begins Oct. 16.
Wheeler, which won its 13th sectional title last season and fourth in a row, will open against Greater South Shore Conference foe Lake Station at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the River Forest Sectional.
If the Bearcats are to face conference foe Whiting — the team they beat for the championship last season — it will be in the title game again. Whiting drew the bye and will meet the host Ingots in a semifinal at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.
Sectional play runs from Tuesday, Oct. 16 through Saturday, Oct. 20. The regional matches will be played Oct. 23, with the winners advancing to the two-match North Semistate.
Washington Township, Wheeler, Munster and Andrean enter the postseason as the defending regional champions.