November 6, 2021 – By NJP
WAYNE VALLEY VS ROXBURY
Roxbury and Wayne square off in the North 1 Group 3 championship. One of the premier matchups in the state tournament thus far.
Roxbury has been one of the top teams in the NJAC all season long. They have won 23 of 27 and only have losses to the top teams Sparta, Demarest, and Jefferson. They have strong wins against Mendham, West Morris Central, Hunterdon Central, Bridgewater Raritan, Morris Knolls, Jefferson, Mount Olive and Northern Highlands. They have a ton of talent and one of the top defenses in the state.
Roxbury players to watch:
Setter Lorie Horta is at the top of her game and has some extreme talent to go to in her offensive strategy. Victoria Latino has broken out this season with 225 kills and is a physical specimen and top athlete in NJ as a junior. Maia McNeil has controlled the middle both on the attack and on the block and sophomore Tayla O’Connor has been outstanding as well on both attack and defense. Sammy Olander and Mia Caproglione, both in their senior years are standouts as well and provide stable leadership and valuable contributions to this high-powered offense. Isabella Chan is approaching 300 digs for the season and is a gem on defense. Rox has 5 players over the 90th percentile in the player rater, 2 in the top 1%, and 4 in the top 3%. That is a loaded roster!
Wayne Valley has been amazing this Fall season with just three overall losses in 27 games. Those losses came at the hands of very strong teams #1 IHA, #2 Demarest, and Top 20 Jefferson. They enter the match winning 20 of their last 21 games. They did struggle a bit with Fair Lawn in their last match getting pushed to three sets after a slow start. They have some top notch wins over Paramus, Bergen Tech, Fair Lawn, Sparta, Clifton, and West Morris Central.
Wayne Valley Players to Watch:
The Indians have some top-class talent in Emily Pogorelec, setter Isabella Isaacson, Jen Haworth, and Isabelle Borowinski. They are all in the top 10% of players in the NJP player rater with Emily in the top 2%. They have solid depth and a pair of sisters on the defensive line that is outstanding. Junior Nicole Antonio is approaching 200 digs for the season and freshman Reese Antonio is over the 100 mark. Emily and Ken have over 40 aces on the year. Neary Sofia gets the majority of block for Wayne Valley in the middle.
What a great match up of NJAC vs Big North counterparts. Both teams have been dominant this season and it’s going to be a great match to watch. For Wayne Valley to win, they will need to contain that powerful front line of Roxbury that just keeps coming at you. If Horta can continue to stretch out the Gaels offense and use her multiple options on the offensive attack, it may be a long day for the Indians. Wayne Valley needs to get the ball down on a team that prides themselves on keeping it up. Roxbury is off the chart averaging almost 18 digs per set. Roxbury is a better blocking team statistically and we expect that can be a difference maker in this match as well.
In this awesome match-up, we give the nod to Roxbury in a close three set battle!
UPDATE: ROXBURY WINS 2-0
NORTH HUNTERDON VS COLONIA
North Hunterdon and Colonia match-up in the North 2 Group 3 final.
North Hunterdon has been one of the best teams in NJ all season long. They started the season with 14 game streak and are currently riding an 11-game win streak after their lone loss to Williamstown. The Lions have strong wins against Ridge, Paul VI, Southern, Hunterdon Central, Westfield, WMC, Sparta and Bridgewater Raritan. This team is solid in every aspect of the game and their starters can match up with any team in the state.
North Hunterdon Players to Watch:
Emily Wolters is smart, aggressive, and a leader in her senior year. She has conducted the Lion orchestra into a symphony this season using multiple instruments to achieve her goals. Tori Kuo and Elise Oertel have been great up front and junior Sam Wilton has been outstanding on the back line as she closes in on 300 digs for the campaign. This team has the potential to go all the way!
Colonia has had a good season achieving a 15-12 record thus far, have run a bit hot and cold, but are always scrappy and a tough test. They beat JP Stevens, Cranford, Woodbridge and Iselin Kennedy this season. They lost to some very tough teams like Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Monroe and Caldwell but also slipped against some mid-level squads like Union and Piscataway. This will be a very tough test for them on Tuesday.
Colonia Players to Watch:
Inaya Stanford in her senior year has been a leader and a juggernaut on offense. Morgan Williams has been a leader and pro on defense. It’s a formidable pair. Nicole Sullivan has connected with Inaya for half of her assists and also leverages Lacey Waldron, Mattison Chiera, and Danielle Periera on the attack.
On paper, this is a mismatch. But we don’t play the games on paper. Plain and simple, North Hunterdon should dominate this match. But we will see what game Colonia brings to the table on Tuesday night as they try to steal one.
North Hunterdon has a 10-point rating advantage which typically equates to a 99%+ win ratio. We expect this match to be “All Lions”.
UPDATE: NORTH HUNTERDON WINS 2-0
BRICK MEMORIAL VS COLTS NECK
Brick Memorial take on Colts Neck in the Central Group 3 final. This game features Brick memorial senior Kate Stoughton who is finishing off her stellar career as one of NJ’s best.
Brick Memorial’s fate usually lies in the hands of super senior Kate Stoughton. The Long Beach commit for D1 beach volleyball is having a stellar senior campaign and she is over 350 kills for the season and over 1,000 for her career. Memorial sent an early message on opening day when they defeated Southern that they were going to compete hard this Fall. During their 17-10 season, they have beaten top teams Southern, TRS, TRN, Jackson Liberty, Iselin Kennedy, Princeton and Raritan but have also lost to TRE, TRS, TRN, Donovan Catholic, Pinelands, and Southern. The shore has been so competitive this season with a lot of parity, so this is not a surprise.
Brick Memorial Players to Watch:
Madison Partenfelder has matched up so well with Kate and crew this season. She has 552 assists this season putting her near the very top in the state. Ella Moore has been very strong for the Mustangs. Stoughton leads the team in almost every statistical category including kills, digs, aces, and skipping rock in the ocean. As one of NJ’s best players, she has the ability to take control and influence the outcome.
Colts Neck has won 17 of 20 games and has been an NJP algorithm favorite this season. Their three losses have come at the hands of Donovan Catholic, Toms River East and Freehold Borough. They have beaten Wall, Jackson Liberty, Northern Burlington, and avenged the loss to Freehold Borough.
Colts Neck Players to Watch:
Senior Mary Huegel is a star. Huegel and junior Alex Foley handle the majority of the attack. Maddy McSorley is one of the premier libero’s in the state and Sophia Koval has been so solid at setter in her junior year. Kiersten Geissler and Savannah Butz handle middle duties and have combined for 50+ blocks this season.
This is going to be one of the tightest matches in the tournament. The math is giving Colts Neck the slightest edge and we expect a three-set marathon to decide the victor. One would think the Volleyball God’s would find a way to reward Kate Stoughton for her fantastic career but its a great opportunity for Madison McSorely to show off her skills and get Kate’s attacks back over the net. Mary and Alex will need great performances and this match could come down to who blocks the best. It’s a classic North A vs South A clash at the Shore.
This one is a coin flip. But Colts Neck has the overall tiniest edge to win the crown.
UPDATE: COLTS NECK WINS 2-0
TOMS RIVER EAST VS TOMS RIVER SOUTH
It’s East vs South in a classic showdown in the South Group 3 final.
Toms River East had had a strong season and is 19-4 thus far. They have lost to Donovan Catholic, Southern and TRN while getting signature wins over Donovan Catholic, PPB, Mainland, Brick Memorial, TRS, Barnegat and TRN. This is the best team that the Raiders have had in the last decade.
Toms River East Players to Watch:
With 5 players in the top 5% in our player rater, TRE has a formidable squad that can stay close with any of the elite teams in the state. Meg Currie is the mastermind at setter, makes quick decisions, and jumps in with a kill or on a block to show off her versatility. Rebecca Keith, Shannon Donaway, Claudia Cosme, and Melissa Marvinny are all legit threats on the attack and give Currie a wide variety of options. With 5 players above 30 aces, the service line is a hallmark. Donaway, Laurinaitis, and Donoway get the job done blocking as well.
Toms River South has had a competitive season thus far and have shown signs of being elite at times. Despite having ten losses in 24 games, they put up some big wins at Southern, Brick Memorial, Barnegat and PPB as well as knocking off Absegami and Moorestown in the state tourney thus far. They took TRE to three sets in both of their matches this season so no doubt with the rivalry that this will be a close and intense matchup.
Toms River South Players to Watch:
Amber Gallo is the heart of the defense for TRS. She has put up almost 300 digs over the 24 games. TRS is capable of some big block numbers in any given match with Adia Decasse and Morgan Adams leading the charge at middle. Adia has 70 blocks which pots her among the very best in NJ. Jordan Motyka is a huge part of the attack and has registered over 125 kills thus far this season.
These two teams matched up twice this season with both games ending in 2-1 TRE wins. The cross-town rivalry adds an extra layer of intrigue but both teams are sold and its fitting that they play for the Group 3 championship. TRE is the better digging team and TRS is the better blocking team. They will need to leverage those attributes to get a win here. TRE is very strong on the service side which will work to their advantage in this match. TRE has a ton of firepower on the attack which could be a difference maker on Tuesday.
NJP likes TRE to advance in a very close, emotional and spirited adventure…
UPDATE: TOMS RIVER EAST WINS 2-0