Although most teams have had to rebuild this year, the girls program has upped the par for volleyball this season to give this year’s powerhouses a run for their money. Here are my picks in each part of the sectional brackets.
Easy call. With the semifinals including a matchup between undefeated first seed Andover and fourth-seeded Central Catholic (16-4), it’ll be no challenge for Andover, considering they’ve already taken down Central Catholic twice in the regular season.
Chelmsford has had a bit of a sloppy season in comparison to Reading so we’ll be looking at an Andover/Reading (19-3) matchup for the sectional final.
My call: Considering Andover has already served Reading a loss, they’ll definitely pull through, undefeated, for the state spot.
North Reading (19-2) has had a solid season until recently, dropping two losses and possibly falling under pressure with the tournament, easing Melrose (19-2) into a final spot.
Bishop Fenwick (19-2) should find no problem taking on Bedford (13-9) which hasn’t had as much of a challenging schedule.
My call: Melrose for the state spot since they’ve served Bishop Fenwick a loss and have on-spot hitters Athena Ziavras and Rachel Johnson with a combined 314 kills.
Lynnfield (17-4) has had the most competitive schedule out of both matchups and the least losses so I’m looking at them to have a definite spot in the final.
My call: Lynnfield.
Here’s where the competition gets interesting. D1 South probably has three of this year’s break-out performance powerhouses: North Attleboro, Barnstable and New Bedford.
North Attleboro (20-0) has had an undefeated run and Barnstable (17-2) has had its revival this year, possibly even tough enough to take the states. New Bedford (17-1) has had a solid performance.
Notre Dame Hingham (17-4) has made the jump to D1 and is mixing things up a bit with Meaghan Lee ranking ninth in the states for kills and setter Kelcei Sullivan adding up 205 assists; also having served Barnstable its first set loss.
But, will this be enough against the New Bedford trio Manley, Howard and Thompson?
As for North Attleboro and Barnstable, it’s a tight race. My feeling is Barnstable since its only two losses have been to Medfield and they have lost less set matches than North Attleboro.
My call: We’ll most likely look at Barnstable and New Bedford for the final. I’d like to see Barnstable make a comeback, but it’s a tough call.
Easy call with Fairhaven (17-2) since they’re 2-0 over Bourne. They’ll match-up with Bishop Feehan (14-6) who has the more competitive schedule over Greater New Bedford (16-5).
My call: Fairhaven.
Ultimately, the call will be between undefeated Case and Sacred Heart (16-3).
My call: Case. The team is more competitive and well-rounded.
Central/East Division 1
Another close call. Quincy (20-2) is on an eight-game winning streak. But Newton North (16-2) will definitely be the victor since North Quincy’s (18-4) losses are to less high-seeded teams.
We’re looking at Quincy and Newton North for the sectional final, both evenly matched.
My call: Quincy.
Central/East Division 2
This is definitely another year for state champion Medfield (21-0), so we’ll see their face again in the state tournament. Marlboro (19-0) and Hopkinton (17-2) are even matched so it’s fair game since Hopkinton’s only losses are to Medfield.
My call: Medfield. No Argument.
Central/East Division 3
To play it safe, I’m going with both undefeated teams: Sutton and Ayer for the sectional final matchup since the competition are lower seeds.
My call: Sutton and Ayer.
Central/West Division 1
Another easy call: Lincoln-Sudbury making its 12th tournament appearance so they know the game. My guess is Westford since their losses are to top competitors Lincoln-Sudbury and Chelmsford.
My call: Lincoln-Sudbury.
Check out all of the volleyball brackets on the MIAA's website.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.