This is the year of the unbeatens, with four top-seeded teams -- Boston English, Lynnfield, Barnstable and Marlboro -- remaining untouched as they head into the MIAA state tournament.
The MIAA released the 2011 girls volleyball brackets with playoff action set to start Friday Nov. 4.
Fellow contenders Case, Frontier, Longmeadow, Andover, Franklin and Cardinal Spellman will also carry the top seed in their respective brackets.
Here are my predictions for the first few rounds:
Andover and Central Catholic will be competing for the driver's seat in the Div. 1 North. Central Catholic served the Golden Warriors its only loss of the season. Reading will be in the backdrop with a solid chance to advance to the semifinals until they meet Central Catholic.
Although Div. 2 Boston English's Yabriela Perez has a killer hit, Melrose should fly by to the final while Lynnfield strides to the Div. 3 North final.
Without a doubt, undefeated Barnstable will see a Div. 1 final appearance with a hopeful knockout of No. 2 seed North Attleboro. Meanwhile, Div. 2 should ultimately come down to Cardinal Spellman and Fairhaven. In Div. 3, Case will have an easy run.
Central will feature triple threats in Newton North, North Quincy and Brookline in Div. 1. Originally, I would have said Medfield would have snatched Div. 2 without a flinch, but the Div. 2 State champion had a falling out this season, dropping four games. Their biggest competition will be undefeated Marlboro.
The West will be a won by either Lincoln-Sudbury or top-seeded Franklin.
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 @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.