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A hard look at the volleyball sectionals

Posted by Metro Desk  November 10, 2010 03:15 PM

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Quincy High School girls volleyball coach Jacqui Niosi (left) talks to her players before a match against Whitman-Hanson earlier this season. Quincy figures to be in the hunt for a state tournament berth in Central/East Division 1. (Debee Tlumacki / For the Globe)

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.

D1 North

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.

D2 North

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.

D3 North

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.

D1 South

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.

D2 South

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.

D3 South

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.

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Check out all of the volleyball brackets on the MIAA's website.

Originally published on the blog high school sports.

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