Glenbrook South coach Seong Ha tried filling out a Pepsi Showdown bracket last week, then stopped.
"Outside of a couple first-round games, every single game is going to good," said Ha, whose team advanced to the title match in 2010. "This should really be a great tournament with some great matchups."
NCAA-like play-in games. The winners feed into the seeded 32-team, single-elimination bracket, which opens play Tuesday. The Sweet 16 is Thursday throughout the area.
The first big highlight comes Saturday at Olympic Park in Schaumburg, where, from 12-6 p.m., all 38 teams will play at one site.
Metea Valley is the top seed, followed by Plainfield North, Elk Grove, Loyola and New Trier. Lake Forest, York, Lockport, Stevenson and Wheaton Warrenville South round out the top 10 seeds.
One team to keep an eye on is Lane, which plays No. 15 seed Lyons on Tuesday afternoon in LaGrange.
"We think we have the potential to compete with all teams, as we've proven that we can compete with suburban schools," Lane's Vianey Hernandez said. "We look to make a name for ourselves outside the city, and the key to success is playing with a confident mentality, making every game our best game and taking advantage of our strengths."
There also will be a combine Saturday, which will test players' skills in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and agility.
"The Pepsi Showdown isn't anything new to upperclassmen, and it's always been fun for us," Warren's Rachel Walz said. "But for the underclassmen, this is a new experience. It's a chance for them to experience a really big tournament with the school team and, as usual, playing against teams that we don't normally get to see is always really exciting."
All 38 teams return to Olympic Park again April 21. On that day, two teams will earn the opportunity to play for the championship of the largest tournament in the U.S. on April 22 at Toyota Park. The title game will be broadcast on Comcast CS100.
Check out the complete bracket and schedule at pepsishowdown.com.
Here are a few highs and lows from the fourth week of the girls soccer season.
Team gains with impressive play: No. 3 Schaumburg continues to move up the rankings after recording victories against Naperville Central and Geneva last week.
Individual increase: Alex Avers' goal gave Barrington a 1-0 win over Fremd on Saturday, which put the Fillies back over .500 (4-3) this spring. Barrington's losses are to No. 1 Naperville North, Waubonsie Valley and No. 8 Neuqua Valley..
Struggling: Wheaton Warrenville South is 1-2-2 after its first five games, and has allowed nine goals.
This week's best bet: The Pepsi Showdown kicks off with 38 area teams competing.
Email Joe Trost at email@example.com