After a (for all intents and purposes) rather dull Thursday, we end the work week with some really exciting matches all across the Lower Hudson Valley. There are nights where it’s really tough to pick just one “match of the night,” and Friday is a perfect example.
All in all, I don’t think anyone could argue with Panas at John Jay-East Fishkill as Friday’s “match of the night,” and for good reason. Both are top contenders to win their respective section titles, and both have (arguably) the top two hitters in the section.
Panas, reigning section and regional champs out of Class A, are coming off a big loss to Yorktown on Wednesday and will be looking to get back on the winning track with a tough road contest against the Patriots. Backed by Brigitte Burcescu, the section’s leader in kills (104), the Panthers can gain a massive confidence boost with a win. According to MaxPreps, the Panthers have not lost back-to-back matches since Oct. 22-29, 2008.
John Jay-East Fishkill, a section finalist out of Class AA and my favorite to win it all this year, will be led by senior hitter Megan Theiller and her Dutchess-leading 98 kills. The Patriots notched wins against Arlington, Haldane and Hen Hud, while dropping their only seasonal contest this year to their namesakes from Cross River.
Neither team wants to lose two matches this early into the season, so I can only imagine the energy that will be on the court in Hopewell Junction. My prediction: Panas takes it in four, 25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23.
Rivalry match: Suffern will head north to Arlington in what will be a meeting between two teams that played each other in the Class AA section final each year from 2008 through 2011, with the Admirals winning three of those contests. If there was ever a class rivalry, let alone section rivalry, this is it. Suffern will be playing its fifth match in five days, completing a gauntlet of a week. Mounties coach Sean Barnes said that Friday’s contest would likely be the first match where setter Julia Hrycyk (hip flexor) plays full-time, or close to it. Hrycyk made her season debut on Monday in a 3-1 loss against Pelham. On almost any other night, this would be the MOTN, for sure. With these two facing each other, along with John Jay-East Fishkill — arguably the top three Class AA schools in the section — in competitive matches Friday, the night should definitely be entertaining.
Friday, September 20
Mamaroneck at White Plains, 4:15 p.m.
Yorktown at Beacon, 4:15 p.m.
Panas at John Jay-East Fishkill, 4:15 p.m. — Match of the night
Brewster at Somers, 4:15 p.m.
Blind Brook at Rye, 4:15 p.m.
North Salem at Putnam Valley, 4:15 p.m.
Carmel at Ketcham, 4;15 p.m.
Ardsley at Nanuet, 4:15 p.m.
Pleasantville at Valhalla, 4:30 p.m.
Suffern at Arlington, 4:30 p.m.
Roosevelt at Briarcliff, 4:30 p.m.
John Jay at Horace Greeley, 4:30 p.m.
Pawling at Peekskill, 4:30 p.m.
Lincoln at East Ramapo, 4:40 p.m.
Harrison at Keio, 6 p.m.
Zacchio’s prediction record this season: 88-26