May 25, 2023
NJP takes a look at each of the sectional and group configurations and gives its insights on which teams will emerge from the tournaments…
Let’s look at Group 3
Four top 10 team in one sectional is really impressive, especially in Group 3. SPF has been the cream of the crop all season long and on paper is the best team in NJ boasting three top 10 players in the NJP player rater. But the games are not played on paper. The Big North brings both Hackensack and Fair Lawn to this party and Ridge and Colonia have been very strong all Spring. Randolph can be the Cinderella here as well. Despite all the potential in this section, let’s remember that SPF is 4 rating points ahead of #2, 5 rating points on #2 and #3, and 8+ at least on the rest of the field.This leaves SPF as a clear favorite for the finals. They will have the easier road as the #1 seed and we predict they will play the winner of FL and Hackensack who we expect will meet for the third time this season after splitting the first two matches and we have Hackensack with a slight edge. Zimmerman, Ennis, Schmidt, and Chung will not be denied here. SPF is our pick.
Northern Burlington earned a top 20 spot in last weeks NJP rankings (#15) and they had almost 100 more power points than anyone in the division. So of course they wind up with the #2 seed for the state tournament sectional. Despite getting #2, we think they will have a much easier road than #1 WWPS who will have to face CBA and Colts Neck in the preliminaries. CBA is not scary based on the algorithm but WWPS should beware the team that is a perennial top 20 team and knows how to win in the playoffs. If WWPS gets past CBA, a WWPS v. Colts Neck would be a classic with each team within .03 rating points and sure to go 3 sets. But the math loves the Greyhounds here who are the only 20 win achiever in the sectional, boasts wins over Vianney, Kingsway, and WWPS but also has 2 three set losses to WWPS. We expect Northern Burlington to prevail.
North vs South
If SPF get out of the North, NJP predicts an easy two set win for the group title for the Raiders no matter who they play from the South.
PREDICTION FOR GROUP – Scotch Plains-Fanwood