September 6, 2021 – By NJP
The Girl’s high school volleyball season starts tomorrow in New Jersey and there is a quiet sense that the Fall season will be back to normal for the most part. With a Spring season that saw numerous team shutdowns and stoppages due to COVID and even a cancellation of a Sectional final with co-winner’s declared, we are all yearning for an incident free season.
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We are updating our “Feed” page daily on third party articles and content on NJ volleyball. The link to the page is https://njpowerranking.com/the-feed/. Lots of rich NJ content covering high school, college, club and pro.
Coaches use preseason scrimmages for a wide variety of exploratory reasons. The scores are not always indicative of real matchups once the regular season starts. But they often provide insights into things to come. You have to revel at the direction Roxbury is moving. NJP has them in the top 20 but we see shades of what Sparta accomplished last season when see what the Gaels are accomplishing. In a tri-scrimmage, #14 Roxbury took down #1 IHA and #12 Tenafly. Maia McNeil, a transfer from Morris Catholic, looks so impressive upfront and Sammy Olander and Victoria Latino make a deep and talented front row. They have all the tools to make a serious run for a state championship. Especially with Mia Capriglione, setter Lorie Horta, and defensive specialist Isabella Chan on the roster. The Gaels are special this year and one of the top teams to watch.
We still feel Mendham will make a big splash this fall. With Sarah Wilcock back, and added to an already powerful squad of seniors and juniors including Poppy Skjonnemand, Annibelle Ernst, Chloe Czop, Katie Webber, and Brittany Giles among other rising underclassman club players, the Minutemaids are primed for another standout season.
The Harrison has come out of the gate hard in preseason and looks very solid. The Blue Tide are in the middle of the pack at #145 in our preseason analysis, but it looks like Harrison may beat that projection handily.
Southern is in our preseason top 5, even after losing some amazing players to graduation. We are still not totally sure who will be the starting setter, but there is a ton of talent on the squad that will keep near the very top.
Williamstown is another team to watch this season. NJP’s #13 team has had a great preseason and nailed Southern in their scrimmage last week in 4 of 5 sets. Lots of non-senior talent here including Schwab, Williams, Andrews and Owens will fire success this year and the next.
It’s awesome to see two NJ high school standouts making such a big impact at NJCU at the college level. NJCU was 1-5 in the Spring and 9-16 during the 2019 season. Now with Sidney Lore, a sophomore setter from Cherokee and new addition Rachel Pharo from the Southern Regional Rams as a freshman, NJCU has started their season at 2-0. Lore posted 39 assists against FDU Florham Park and Pharo added 13 kills playing outside hitter. We will see if the Gothic Knights can keep up the pace against CCNY on the 7th.
There are a number of “power-pairs” at attacker that we expect will drive their team’s success this season. A number of them come to mind but here is our top 10 (in no order)…
Roxbury Latino and Olander
MKA Fouche and Abdur-Rahim
Union City Flores and Karskens
East Brunswick Anania and Benesz
Kent Place Handy and Osuala
St. John Vianney Mayo and Gretzky
Morris Catholic Mattingly and North
IHA Talmadge and Whelpley
Mainland Canesi and Leap
Toms River North Laudien and Spalletta
Let us know if you feel we left any pairs out here. These pairs are expected to combine for 400+ kills with some projected at over 600!
The USA today has both IHA and Demarest in their Top 10 in their Region 2 Rankings. New rankings from them are due out tomorrow for week one but we don’t expect much movement until the week of the 14th.
We have reworked our division preseason analysis based on the just issued new conference and division alignments for the Fall season. Here are the new conference and division alignments for Fall 2021 with preseason ranks and ratings:Division-Alignment-Girls-2021-Fall