Well, one thing is for sure — the teams are starting to look more and more familiar with each week. In any case, it still doesn’t make my job any easier. That is another thing I know for sure.
I want to address a correction that I learned of after last week’s rankings were posted and is of significant importance. Kennedy coach Ellen Casey informed me that the Gaels had lost a match last week, falling in five games to Fontbonne. The only saving grace I have is that Kennedy was without standout hitter Caroline Erb, who was on a college visit. Many can argue that Kennedy would/should still be the No. 1 team anyway, but it is something to address.
That being said, here are my LoHud rankings for the week of October 6.
1. Kennedy (11-1) — As I stated above, the Gaels were without arguably their best hitter for a match and it wound up costing them. I said that Kennedy would stay No. 1 until it lost, but given the circumstance, I’m letting this one slide. The way I see it, this wasn’t a playoff match, Erb wasn’t/isn’t injured to where she’ll miss a significant amount of time and given a rematch (with Erb), I think Kennedy wins in four. The Gaels will be at Panas’ Panther Invitational on Saturday, along with Panas, Yorktown and a bevy of other talented teams. A good majority of my rankings will be based off of that tournament. No better way to tell the “better team” than throwing them against each other in a free-for-all tournament.
2. Panas (7-2) — The Panthers notched two nice wins last week — Hen Hud and Arlington — to stay-put at No. 2. Part of me thinks they are a No. 1 team right now, but its so tough to tell when Kennedy doesn’t play in Section 1. We’ll find out what’s what on Saturday.
3. Yorktown (10-1) — I considered having Yorktown at No. 4 last week, but I think you can really interchange the Huskers and the two John Jay squads. Yorktown was a middle-of-the-pack team at the Hen Hud tournament, and the only other big-name team at its home tournament was Panas, so it’s a little fuzzy to gauge the Huskers in tournament-mode. I think Yorktown knows it is at the point in the season where it knows its a contender, it knows who they’ll have to beat to win a section title and now it’s all a matter of execution. I think coach Katy Sherwood’s team will do just fine at Panas on Saturday.
4. John Jay-East Fishkill (11-1) — The Patriots will not be at Panas, but they are still my favorites to win Class AA. I never really get to see them in action since they are out of our area, but from what I have seen and based on the fact that they keep winning, the Patriots will likely be a top-five team the rest of the way.
5. John Jay (8-2) — I thought the Indians were upset by Arlington while I was in Florida, only to find out that it was a simple statistical error and that the scores of the match were reversed. Of course, mere hours after I land back in New York, I find out that John Jay lost to Haldane — a sweep, no less. Now, I’ve said that Haldane is a talented squad all along and that it was only a matter of time until things got going, but getting swept was still a shock. Don’t read too much into it; the Indians are a rock-solid squad and the Blue Devils are just a team that hit a rough patch early on, so their record isn’t really indicative of their talent. John Jay is still most-definitely a top-five team.
6. Ardsley (9-0) — Coach Dave Ponterio’s girls had a massive week — massive. Oh yeah, his week wasn’t all that bad, either. After notching three wins this week, including two over tough Pelham and Scarsdale squads, the Panthers are finally starting to look like the Class B favorites I thought they were at the start of the season. (Yes, I did have Pelham winning that match, by the way.) Beating Pelham has to be a huge confidence boost for the Panthers, who are looking to claim its first section title in awhile (I don’t have the year off the top of my head, I’m sorry). Pelham has won the last two section and regional titles and has looked very good as of late. Tuesday’s match was very likely a preview of the Class B section final.
7. Pelham (7-2) — Well, I said that I was torn between Ardsley and Pelham last week, but that I gave the nod (and prediction) to the Pelicans because I thought they were genuinely the better team at the time. Losing to Ardsley only means I should’ve reversed my ranks (and prediction) last week.
8. Arlington (8-3) — I’ve said all year that Arlington has terrific talent, but they are up-and-down on the consistency scale. Most teams who lose two matches as the No. 8 rank wouldn’t even be in the following week’s rankings, let alone stay in the same spot; but when you lose to John Jay in four and Panas in five, you earn your keep. It’s also worth noting that the Admirals lost the fourth game to John Jay 26-24, so they were clearly right in it. Going five with the Panthers is self-explanitory.
9. Suffern (8-3) — I had a very tough time with my 8-10 picks this week since so many teams are in the mix — Dobbs Ferry is 10-0, but doesn’t play the high-end schedule many of these teams play; same with Blind Brook. Scarsdale and Fox Lane also make solid cases for a top-10 spot. A win over Clarkstown South was enormous, and the Mounties swept Scarsdale at the Clarkstown South tournament last Saturday, so that’s a brief case for coach Sean Barnes’ squad. This team is tall, young and talented. If they can find someway to all stay healthy at the same time, they should contend for the Class AA title, otherwise John Jay-East Fishkill will walk away with the hardware.
10. Haldane (4-5) — Like Ardsley, I have a lot of faith in Haldane this year. Many of these girls from this tiny Class D school (enrollment is 237 students, according to BOCES. For comparison, my graduating class at North Rockland back in the day was 612) have the talent and experience to hang with anyone in Section 1. Up until this week, Haldane was fighting for its section tournament life (you’ll see why in Monday’s feature story), which likely lit a fuse under the 10-time reigning section champs. The Blue Devils downed Hen Hud and then swept John Jay; I don’t care who you are, if you do that, you belong in the top 10.
Photo credit: Matthew Brown/The Journal News