RIVERSIDE — Considering the emphasis Riverside Brookfield boys volleyball coach Dan Bonarigo places on playoff seeding, this upcoming week could be the Bulldogs' biggest of the regular season.
RB entered this week 13-5 ahead of Tuesday's match against Oak Park-River Forest and will compete in the Downers Grove North Invite on Saturday. The Bulldogs will play five matches in the eight-team tournament and face plenty of quality teams that they could see in the Proviso West sectional.
The host Trojans, Willowbrook and Glenbard East represent a few of the teams RB could add to its belt with potentially valuable wins. Metea Valley, a team that beat the Bulldogs in the final of the Joliet West Invite during the first week of the season, and Payton, a 2012 state qualifier that RB beat on April 12, will also be in Downers Grove.
"We've got a good record right now," Bonarigo said. "If we can fare well over the next week and a half I think I can argue for a decent seed. Definitely I'd like to see us in the top eight."
Cracking the top eight would be a notable accomplishment considering the depth of the sectional. RB used to be in a sectional with Chicago schools and other Cook County suburban schools but was moved to a sectional that includes mostly schools from DuPage County.
The much deeper sectional includes teams from Aurora, Naperville and Wheaton and other strong teams like Lyons Township, Glenbard West and the two Downers Grove schools. Playoff seeds will be announced on May 2.
"Obviously there's a lot of high-quality teams in that sectional," Bonarigo said. "We don't need to go 5-0, but if we play Downers North (Saturday) and we're competitive and we can push them to three games or something like that I think we'll get some respect.
"We went to the sectional championship two years ago, but it was not in the same area so none of those teams really know."
Considering the depth of the sectional seeding may not matter that much. The Bulldogs will see at least two quality teams regardless of where they rank.
"I think it matters from a psychological standpoint," the coach said. "I really hope that whatever seed we get that my team just says if we want to advance we've got to beat whoever is here."