October 8, 2021 – By NJP

We are approaching our 4th NJP Ranking of the season on Sunday and each teams portfolio continues to fill up with data that will help us navigate the state playoffs and eventually, the Tournament of Champions.

County tournaments are underway already in Morris, Bergen, and Essex counties with Union starting this weekend. Others will soon follow.

We have an excellent view on which teams will be the favorites in the Sectional State Championship tournaments and a strong sense of TOC participants.

We have progressed through the season with minimal disruptions. Yes, there have been shutdowns for COVID protocols, but so far, it has been manageable with a large majority of teams unaffected by the pandemic. The players have been amazing at protecting themselves and following guidelines that will keep them and their teammates safe.

We have an entire month behind us as our season started on September 7th.

There has been excitement in every school’s gym over the past month. Team performances, player accolades, senior nights, come from behind wins, unfortunate player injuries, upset wins, as well as agonizing losses. Passion and energy are high. We have seen milestones achieved from players, coaches, and teams. We have seen freshman launch their volleyball careers, sophomores and juniors have breakout seasons, and senior players step into leadership roles and succeed.

We have seen players prepare for their future and make commitments to their college choices.

Things are happening in New Jersey, and our volleyball players are setting the tone. We are proud of their achievements and what their future offers. Week 6 starts next week. Continue to enjoy the ride…

It’s the busiest time of the season. We have a number of pending player interviews and want to thank our invitees for their patience as we complete the articles.

Turning to tonight’s scoreboard…

Roxbury jumped out of the gate today and took it to Sparta in the first set, drubbing the Spartans 25-14. But Sparta has shown resilience all year long and wore down the Gaels over the next two sets to take a three set victory. The Spartans poured it on in set 3 and blew out Rox 25-11. Sparta got 10 blocks and 5 kills from Emily Smernoff and 7 aces, 4 kills, 2 blocks and 4 digs from freshman Aralyn Saulys. Bryn McCurry was outstanding as well tonight with 8 kills, 10 digs, and 2 aces for the Spartans. Sparta kept their edge over Roxbury as they have won both matches against them this season.

How about Toms River North! The Mariners work over the Southern Rams and improve to 9-2 and give the Rams their 7th loss on the season. TRN will certainly be moving up the ranks on Sunday!

DePaul used 5 aces and 5 kills from Rilie Mendoza to edge Holy Angels in three sets. This match went down to the last point with set 3 going 25-23. Gianna Panzera had 11 digs, 2 kills, and an ace for the Spartans. DePaul improved to 4-7 and have won 4 of their last 5.

Eight straight wins for Princeton as they dispose of North Brunswick in straight sets. The Tigers have won 11 of their last 12 and are now 11-3. Princeton served their way to the win today notching 26 aces as a team with 8 from Shakthi Sreenivas and 7 from Sarah Villamil.

Jackson Liberty smashed Manchester Township today in straight sets limiting MT to just 19 points over 2 sets. Liberty has quietly risen to 11-3 overall and has some signature wins in their portfolio.

Donovan Catholic got 12 big kills from Dana Welch as they tamed the Barnegat Bengals in straight sets. The Griffins are now 13-1 and possess the best record at the shore. Donovan Catholic avenges their previous loss to the Bengals, their only loss this season. #21 DC will certainly be entering the top 20 in NJP’s new Sunday ranking.

West Morris Mendham and West Morris Central engaged in a thrilling three set matchup today as Central, the best 4-7 team in the state, came this close to bringing down the 10-2 Minutemaids. Sarah Wilcock served up 23 assists along with 4 kills and 8 digs, and Poppy Skjonnemand blasted 15 kills for Mendham. Ava Novello had 9 kills, 2 blocks, 11 assists, and 2 aces for the Wolfpack. Ania Trzesniowski had a great night for Mendham posting 9 kills and 12 digs.

Congrats to Laurel Sarkaria who surpassed the 1,500 mark in career assists and became the all-time leading assist getter in JP Stevens history. Laurel had amazing synergy with Simrin Carlsen her first three years as a varsity player. This season she has spread the wealth in Simrin’s absence but has favored fellow senior Joyce Chen. Congrats to Laurel. Here is a link to an article we did with her in 2020… https://njpowerranking.com/2020/09/05/laurel-sarkaria-sets-the-table-for-hawks-success/

The NJP Predictor is firing on all cylinders and has been averaging winning picks at a rate of 9 of 10 rather than the early season 5 of 6. We have not lost on our lock of the night picks in over three weeks accumulating 117 straight wins as we expanded our selection group every night, with last night covering 30 games without a loss. It has been a reliable source.

Massive schedule this weekend for tourney’s plus some marquis matchups including Southern vs. CHE, Williamstown vs. Pinelands, Brick Memorial vs. Donovan, Southern vs. Paul VI, and much more. Enjoy the weekend.

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