The playoffs won't officially start for volleyball until next week, but there are still critical conference events set this week to determine who wins bragging rights as league champions.
With so many critical matchups on tap, here are five events you won't want to miss this week.
Boys Soccer Regionals
Division 2 at Cedar Springs
Spring Lake vs. Haslett
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Cedar Springs High School
After struggling for most of the regular season to find consistent offensive production, the Spring Lake boys soccer team erupted for 10 goals in last week's district tournament. The Lakers knocked off rivals Fruitport (3-0) and Reeths-Puffer (2-1) in dramatic fashion and added a decisive 5-0 win over Coopersville in Saturday's district championship game.
Senior forward Charlie Parker has been the team's go-to performer in the postseason, while Tommy Fine, Malachi Mulder and Eli Denslow have also been active on the scorer's sheet. Defensively, freshman keeper Aidan Parker has been solid in net, allowing just one goal through three playoff games.
Haslett knocked off East Lansing (1-0) in overtime of their district semifinal match and held DeWitt off the scoreboard in a 1-0 match in the district title game. The Vikings enter today's match with a 14-6-1 record, after winning the Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) Red Division.
Like the Lakers, the Vikings didn't exactly hit the ground running in the first portion of their season, dropping five of their first nine games. They've gone 10-1-1 since and appear to be riding a tidal wave of momentum into tonight's match.
The winner of tonight's match would face the winner of Petoskey (6-13-1) and Forest Hills Northern (20-0-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m. for the shot at a regional title and a trip to the Division 2 semifinals next week.
Division 4 at Cadillac
Western Michigan Christian vs. Roscommon
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Cadillac High School
The Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team hopes to keep its season alive tonight, as the top-ranked Warriors head to Cadillac High School for the Division 4 regional semifinals.
WMC will face Roscommon (17-4-3), who knocked off Lincoln Alcona 1-0 in the District 63 finals. The Bucks started off the season 2-3-1, but have gone 15-1-2 since that time.
Senior team captain Trey Heliin fuels the Bucks' attack from his midfield position, while junior striker Ethan Flynn, senior midfielder Riley McNamara and senior defender Richard Wilson are also players to watch.
Sophomore Logan Roth is the team's goaltender. Roth has anchored an impressive defensive streak for the Bucks, who haven't allowed a goal so far this postseason.
For Western Michigan Christian, Charlie Alfree and Hayden Hubers have been the top goal scorers, while Brandon Fles has also been a playmaker for the Warriors. Defensively, Jamo Goorman has been rock solid in net, keeping the opponent off the scoreboard throughout district play.
O-K Black Conference Double Dual
When: Thursday, 5 p.m.
Where: Fruitport High School
Teams: Fruitport, Kenowa Hills, Mona Shores, Reeths-Puffer
The Fruitport volleyball squad will host its final O-K Black Conference event of the regular season Thursday, as the Trojans hope to put themselves in a position to at least share conference championship honors with Jenison.
Both squads enter this week with 9-1 marks in league play. Fruitport will go up against Reeths-Puffer (6-4 in conference) and Mona Shores (6-4 in conference) on Thursday, while Jenison will be heavy favorites against Grand Rapids Union (1-9 in conference) and Muskegon (0-10 in conference) in their conference double dual.
The return of senior setter Kailey Carmean to the lineup has helped pack an extra punch to the offense and put the Trojans back on track for conference title aspirations, as well as another long playoff run. The steady of play of seniors Trinity Busscher, Kylie Oberlin, Jordyn Carlyle and Rachel Paulsen helped the squad cruise through the conference schedule and pull off a four-set win over Jenison at last weekend's double dual tournament in Muskegon.
A pair of conference wins would mean a conference crown for Fruitport, as they close out the regular season and prepare for next week's district tournament at Orchard View. The Trojans will face Whitehall in the opening round of district play on Oct. 30 and could meet rival Spring Lake in the district championship game on Nov. 3. If the team advances past a scrappy Vikings squad and upset-minded Orchard View.
Water Polo Regionals at Hudsonville
Teams: Grand Haven, Hudsonville, Zeeland, West Ottawa, Rockford, Portage, East Grand Rapids, East Kentwood
The Grand Haven water polo team is coming off a strong performance at their district tournament, where they finished runner-up to top-seeded Hudsonville.
They kicked off their quest for a title against rival West Ottawa on Saturday morning, taking a convincing 11-5 victory, despite a depleted lineup.
The health issues made for a slow start for the Bucs, but five players netted multiple goals in the game. Nick Wilson led with three assists and shared defensive honors with Mark Wilgenburg, each grabbing four steals.
The win earned Grand Haven a date with No. 1-ranked Hudsonville in the championship game, where they fell, 12-6.
Wilgenburg and Wilson led the offense with two goals each, while Wilson took four steals. Keeper Mark Nordin made 12 saves in the loss.
The Bucs will travel to Hudsonville on Friday for the two-day regional tournament, where they will be hoping to finish in the top four to qualify for the state tournament on Nov. 10-11.
Spring Lake football at Grand Rapids Catholic Central
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Cougar Stadium in Grand Rapids
The Spring Lake football team enters the playoffs with a sigh of relief, after qualifying for the postseason with a 5-4 overall record and being selected by the MHSAA due to playoff points accrued by the Lakers over the course of a daunting schedule this fall.
Now, the Lakers will face a familiar opponent in No. 2-ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Friday in the opening round of Division 4 district action. The Cougars defeated the Lakers 35-12 on Oct. 5, when Spring Lake was without the services of senior standout Caleb Montgomery at quarterback. GRCC took full advantage of a slow start by the Lakers, as the Cougars led 28-3 at halftime.
If the Lakers are going to shock the Division 4 field and upset the two-time defending state champions, they'll need a fast start on offense and the best defensive performance the team has put together all season.
Cross Country Regionals
Where: Allendale High School
Teams: Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport and Western Michigan Christian
Allendale High School will be flooded with talented cross country athletes Saturday, as the school hosts the Division 1-4 regionals for all the local distance runners.
The course opens at 7:30 a.m., followed by a substitution deadline of 8:30 a.m. The National Anthem will take place at 9:20 a.m., followed by the Division 4 boys race at 9:30 a.m.
The Division 3 boys race will start at 10 a.m., followed by the Division 4 girls race at 10:30 a.m. and the Division 3 girls race at 11 a.m. Following that event, there will be a results and awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. for the two divisions.
At 12:05 p.m., the National Anthem will signal the start of the second half of the event. The Division 2 boys race will begin at 12:15 p.m., followed by the Division 1 boys race at 12:45 p.m.
The Division 2 girls race will be held at 1:15 p.m., while the Division 1 girls will close out the event at 1:45 p.m. The final results and award ceremony will take place at 2:15 p.m.