In preparation for this Saturday's state finals, here's my take on how things will pan out.
Division 1: Barnstable vs. Lincoln Sudbury
We've seen this matchup in ’08 when the Red Raiders overpowered Lincoln Sudbury 3-0 in the state championship, the last state title Barnstable saw before its state record 110-game winning streak came to an end.
Since then, Red Raiders coach Tom Turco has been rebuilding and showcased his girls’ drive and skill this season in the state semifinal against Andover where his team came back from a 2 game deficit to take down one of the best teams in the state. The Red Raiders (20-2) were the second team to deliver a set to the Golden Warriors (24-1) loss all season.
Now that previous Division 1 champion New Bedford is out of the running, defeating both Lincoln-Sudbury, in the state semis, and Barnstable, in the D1 South semis, the final round is fair game. The Warriors (22-1) have looked at a solid season with balance and senior leadership hauling the team’s success.
However, the turf might be in favor of the Red Raiders who have brought back that fire that landed them, 12 state championships, 6 consecutive titles from ’03-‘08, in addition to having one of the, if not the toughest schedule in the state. Also, we’ve seen Kaylee Deluga who has been unstoppable.
My call: Barnstable will come back to give Turco his 504th victory.
Division 2: Fairhaven vs. Medfield
Defending state champion Medfield has had no problem repeating its undefeated record from last year with two-time Globe coach of the year Jack Hastings. The Warriors have five titles from ’98, ’05, ’06, ’08, and ’09.
Fairhaven (20-2) has made it to the tournament for the past 4 years but hasn’t been able to make it past the sectionals, making this the first year in the school’s history for any volleyball team to make it to the state final.
The difference in this matchup is the Warriors have taken on perennial powerhouse Barnstable whereas the Blue Devils have fallen to the dynamic programs of state champions Case and New Bedford.
With the Warriors’ expertise at this level, they could bring in another title but it’ll definitely be a tough with Kendall Mccurdy and Natalie Dickinson to compete against the Blue Devils’ Division 2 fifth-ranked hitter Kara Charette and Kayli Moniz leading the pack in digs.
My call: Medfield for its third consecutive state title.
Division 3: Case vs. Frontier
This will be a matchup to look out for. Returning state champion Case took on Frontier 3-1 in last year’s state semifinals and is ranked eighth in the state.
Frontier has been stuck in the semifinal pit for the past three years, last winning a state title in ’06 and is ranked 11th in the state.
This year, the Red Hawks are piling up the stats in Division 2 with Cassidy Stankowski ranking second with 173 kills and Katy Daniels following her in sixth place with 163 kills. Setter Tori Daniels is ranked second with 377 assists.
Case’s performance isn’t ranked too high on the stat board but hitter Shannon Orton will definitely show her presence on the court.
My call: Although I’d like to root for the underdog, Case has taken down Frontier and has a good chance of doing it this season. But … I don’t see Frontier going down without a fight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.