November 14, 2021 – By NJP

Phew… what a day yesterday! I think my average heart rate jumped 25 beats a minute all day yesterday watching the the 6 Group State Championship matches for NJ girls volleyball. What an amazing display of talent, spirit and courage. Let’s assess the damages on the morning after…

The Tournament of Champion participants are set… Here is the Final 6!!! Congrats to these teams players, coaches, and supporters…

Bogota Lady Buccaneers GROUP 1 CHAMPS 28-2

Mendham Minutemaids GROUP 2 CHAMPS 24-4

North Hunterdon Lions GROUP 3 CHAMPS 28-1

Williamstown Braves GROUP 4 CHAMPS 35-0

Paul VI Eagles NON-PUBLIC A CHAMPS 26-2

Newark Academy Minutewomen NP-B CHAMPS 20-6

Amazing efforts from these young lady’s yesterday as they see their dreams of becoming a TOC participant come true.

Here are some key takeaways:

Paul VI win over Immaculate Heart Academy was a major upset in most of the NJ volleyball communities eyes, but probably not to the Eagle’s. Paul VI was just 2 points away from having a perfect season in New Jersey, dropping a three set match to North Hunterdon on the second game of the year in early September. They ran the table with the one exception being a 5 set loss to Padua Academy of Delaware who is the Blue Hen state’s #1 team. They are a power team and will most likely be in the final 4. Senior outside hitter Sadie Arasim has had a lethal campaign in her 4th year at varsity. She is the only senior on this team so the Eagles are expected to be a major power next season as well.

The Paul VI/IHA match was just a nail biter and great for all girls in NJ to have in their archive to learn from. IHA had a few times in the third set where it looked like Paul VI was going to pull away but their fight was spirited and real as they fought back to tie the game at 23. Junior Grace Coughlin was exceptional for the Blue Eagles and will return next season with the vast majority of her current teammates. IHA loses three seniors Deanna Whelpley, Erin Burke, and Marissa Roberge.

Our biggest takeaway from the day was noting who was not in the Tournament of Champions. There will be no representation from the Big North Conference. With IHA, Demarest, River Dell, Ridgewood, Clifton, Old Tappan, and Wayne Valley all having big seasons, and being in the top 20 all season long, not one made it to the final 6.

There are 6 different conferences represented in the TOC with the Tri-County, Skylands, Olympic, NJIC, NJAC, and SEC all having one team.

There are no teams from the Shore Conference, GMC, or UCC in the final 6.

We have done our own calculations of seeding for the TOC. This is unofficial. The matchup’s look like this… Williamstown and North Hunterdon with “BYE’s”. Mendham and Bogota will face each other to see who plays Williamstown. And Paul VI will match up with Newark Academy to see who plays North Hunterdon. We have Paul VI as the 3 seed and Mendham at 4, with Bogota at 5 and NA at 6. Williamstown had 462 power points adjusted to subtract group points per TOC seeding regulations, and were highest by far in the group.

It appears home teams will host the quarter and semi-final rounds. The final TOC Championship match is still listed as a undetermined site.

We have a ranking update scheduled for tonight. We expect Williamstown will be a clear #1.

Ridgewood falling to Williamstown in straight sets is a major statement on the Braves strength. This team has been brought along perfectly by Coach Chris Sheppard and they have progressed all season long. Coach Shepp is the only head coach Williamstown has ever known over the past 24 years and his experience and expertise is truly evident this season. Every Coach in NJ has a dream of a perfect season. The Braves are two games away.

Mendham was so impressive as they battled against Old Tappan today. Hats off to Sarah Wilcock who had one of the best performances of the day. So hard to believe that she is just a junior. What a great competitor but the D1 TCU beach program still has another year to wait for her to arrive.

Just how good is North Hunterdon? They are crazy deep and filled with stars. The way they handled Roxbury in straight sets totally sets the tone for just how good the Lions are this season. Their only loss this season is to Williamstown.They are riding a 14 game win streak into the TOC.

Hats off to Delaware Valley as they stayed point for point with Bogota throughout the entire match. Bogota has proven they are a power this season with just two losses, a loss to IHA on opening day and a three set heart-breaker to Ridgewood in the Bergen County tournament semi-final. But what a great season for Del Val. Kudos to their entire team and staff.

And what a great job by Newark Academy as they defeat Lodi Immaculate to claim their spot in the final 6. NJP has not had the Minutewomen in the top 25 all season. That will change completely if they can get one more win.

One week left… strap in!!! It’s going to be a roller coaster ride for sure… But the TOC is better than a roller-coaster. All great fun and no big risk of throwing up…

In other news:

Voting for the NJP clip of the year continues. It will run through Sunday at noon and the winners will be announced Sunday night. Access voting here… https://njpowerranking.com/2021/11/12/njp-clip-of-the-year-voting/

Once the season concludes, we will be archiving all information under the girls high school menu for 2021 for future reference. We use posts during the season so fans can see all the latest news on the home page.

We will be starting the NJ Men’s college preview this week, highlighting the various men’s programs and their team make-up and expectations for the upcoming season. We are HUGE believers that attendance at local college games is a great learning experience for players of all ages and will have links to NJ college teams livestreams and schedules as well as group ticket information for live viewing.

Thanks

We also wanted to give the team of writers at NJ.com and NJ Advance Media a huge shutout. I think we speak for the entire NJ volleyball community as we commend them on their outstanding coverage of volleyball in NJ. Shouting out PJ Potter, Casey Roland, Anthony Coleman, Nestor Sebastien, Mak Ojutiku, Chris Nalwasky, John Haley, Matt Cosentino, Tom McClain, Mike Byrne, Will Harrigan, Rich Fisher, Greg Patuto, Jason Bernstein, Ryan Patti, Mike Gurnis, Clyde Hughes, Connor Mount, Rob Calloway, and Andrew Borders for all their articles on our favorite sport this Fall.

Also wanted to thank Josh Wilets for his articles this season to support NJP and the NJ volleyball community. Josh has been busy at Morris-Sussex Sports providing podcasts, game color on livestreams, and many other items that support NJ volleyball. You can catch him on Twitter or Instagram at these links: https://twitter.com/josh_wilets and https://www.instagram.com/josh_wilets/

Our NJP awards will follow the season end. These will be individual awards, team awards, coach awards, and a wide variety of other “stuff”.

We wanted to thank all of the NJP player interview club participants that have taken the time to participate in our interviews. It has been so greatly appreciated. We also want to thanks the hundreds of players and coaches that we connect with over the season to help us navigate an immense amount of information flow to the community. We so appreciate the late night conversations and dm’s.

NJP

As many of you have noted, NJP is not perfect. We have tried very hard to create a safe environment for players to have some fun with the game they love. Our sense of humor is surely not for everyone. We like to think of ourselves as the good guys of the sport but we are certainly not perceived that way by all. A lot of fans don’t really know what to make of us when we engage with them. They are not used to people who are willing to help and we get many strange responses and even blockages from people who think we have other agendas. Our agenda is to promote volleyball in a positive way and sometimes we do that one player at a time. We like to go the extra mile for our fans. That might mean doing research on colleges for them, giving advice on clubs, setting up zooms or dm’s with their favorite pro or college players, or spending time to try to cheer up a an injured player or a player who lost or had a bad game. We have facilitated connections to college coaches with players as well as connection to players with college coaches. We try to respond to every email and dm timely although we have to admit it’s been a bit tougher during playoffs.

Most of our statistical analysis is presented to take the subjectivity out of ratings and rankings. We use math and a proprietary algorithm that we have had a lot of success with over the past decade plus. We do the same with our player rater and individual analysis. These are just for fun althugh we do get feedback from time to time about why one team or player is higher than another in our rankings. It’s just math. There are just so many factors that go into our analysis that can be dynamic. The analysis can be improved no doubt as there are many instances that diminish their accuracy such as games scores not being entered, player stats not being entered, games or stats entered late, stats being incorrectly recorded (don’t get us started on that), game scores being entered incorrectly, and much more. But it all comes with the territory.

Most of our blogs, interviews, articles, and analysis are completed very late at night which lends to typos, less than perfect grammar, and or lack of time to confirm every player statement or statistical fact. We are not a news site. Some of information is based on published data or resources that we trust as true. So there are occasions when the home team might be listed wrong, or a player statement is based on what they know as true, or a player is an opposite rather than a middle, or is a junior rather than a senior. All of these things are super important but sometimes impossible to verify with the resources we have to offer. We are a community website and often are only as good as the community around us. Last season we spent hundreds of hours accumulating club rosters as a critical part of our high school pre-season analysis. We are the only site that provides a crossover between cub and high school so you can look at a high school roster and know where what level of club high school players are on for each HS team. We make tons of requests for that data but end up doing it one player at a time. This is less time we can spend on articles and other items that our fans enjoy.

Our main focus in relaunching our site for volleyball was due to COVID. Not only did players have missed games or entire seasons cancelled, but they have endured the long lasting effect on their mental health. We thought we could make a difference for some of the players by having something to take their minds off the news or the events of a particular day that took them to a place that they don’t want to go. That they could have a resource or someone to talk to when the darkness kicks in. We wanted to provide that escape for players who could just jump into a clip contest or laugh at an IG post rather than head to a bad place. Or head to a page that has their face photoshopped as a hero or leader that makes them feel good about themselves. Probably way too ambitious. But if it works for one player, it was worth it.

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage this season. All comments and feedback can be sent to njpowerranking@gmail.com.

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