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 4
We have a very competitive North 4 sectional with Livingston getting the #1 seed and comes in as the top rated team in NJP’s algorithm. Livingston has breezed a relatively week schedule but has impressed the algorithm with margin of victory success. Despite the seeding, NJP loves Bridgewater Raritan in this scenario. We expect them to upset North Bergen and have a good shot at taking down the #1 seed in the semi-finals. Records against like opponents favors BR and they are coming off a Skyland tournament win the same as Livingston is coming of an SEC title. And yes, BR will have to get through a very good Hudson County team in North Bergen but we expect that will happen. The other side of the grid has Passaic Tech who has just 2 losses on the year and a pretty solid Bloomfield squad that boasts some key wins over top contenders like Fair Lawn. Westfield and PCTI should be a solid test for our #3 seed but we are sticking with Passaic Tech to face BR in the final and the Panthers to continue the unlikely trip to the Group final as a #5 seed.
One of the strongest sectionals with many top teams is South 4. But with #1 Old Bridge and #3 Southern participating, The NJP algorithm has a high level of confidence that both will advance to the final. Last season, Southern was undefeated the entire year and entered the TOC state final looking to close out a perfect season. Just Old Bridge stood in their way and they had their hopes dashed as the Knights rebounded from an opening set loss to win the last two sets of the season and take their 4th straight title. They have beaten Southern in three of those four final matches so there is no love lost here. This season, Old Bridge has the undefeated season on the line as they enter their last three games. And despite not having lost all Spring, Southern took the #1 seed. This is likely to be the game that decides the #1 team in the state. If OB wins out, they will be #1. If Southern wins, they will fight SPF if they win out for top honors. NJP predicts OB will once again prevail and take their fifth straight state championship.
North vs South
We love the South winner here to take the Group final and favor the Old Bridge Knights.
PREDICTION FOR GROUP – Old Bridge