Although most teams have had to rebuild this year, the girls program has upped the par for volleyball this season to give this years 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), itll be no challenge for Andover, considering theyve already taken down Central Catholic twice in the regular season.
Chelmsford has had a bit of a sloppy season in comparison to Reading so well be looking at an Andover/Reading (19-3) matchup for the sectional final.
My call: Considering Andover has already served Reading a loss, theyll 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 hasnt had as much of a challenging schedule.
My call: Melrose for the state spot since theyve 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 Im looking at them to have a definite spot in the final.
My call: Lynnfield.
Heres where the competition gets interesting. D1 South probably has three of this years 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, its 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: Well most likely look at Barnstable and New Bedford for the final. Id like to see Barnstable make a comeback, but its a tough call.
Easy call with Fairhaven (17-2) since theyre 2-0 over Bourne. Theyll 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 Quincys (18-4) losses are to less high-seeded teams.
Were 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 well see their face again in the state tournament. Marlboro (19-0) and Hopkinton (17-2) are even matched so its fair game since Hopkintons only losses are to Medfield.
My call: Medfield. No Argument.
Central/East Division 3
To play it safe, Im 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.