Now we get into the nitty-gritty of the season. Since there are no more power leagues this year, the number of marquee matchups throughout the season this year have been scarce, at best. With the regular season winding down, many of the upper echelon teams will go toe-to-toe with one another.
Although there are a number of changes this week for the first time in about a month, I’m expecting some significant changes next week. Until then, here are this week’s Lohud rankings:
1. John Jay (11-1, last week’s rank: 1): The Indians earned a nice quality win over Scarsdale this week, disposing of the Raiders in four games on Monday. Coach Tom Rizzotti’s squad will be put to the test this week with road matches against Ardsley (14-0) and Panas (10-1) on Tuesday and Friday, respectively.
2. Yorktown (13-1, last week’s rank: 2): The Huskers will also have their hands full this week, with matches against Panas and Haldane (12-1) on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Yorktown will host Panas, but hit the road for Cold Spring at the end of the week, where something will give — Yorktown is 6-0 on the road this year; Haldane is 7-0 at home.
3. Ardsley (14-0, last week’s rank: 3): The Panthers are still the only undefeated team in the section, which is no slouch accomplishment. Ardsley will actually end its regular season this week, playing matches against Ursuline and John Jay. While it’s good that the Panthers will be finishing with a strong schedule, the layoff in playing time — Ardsley’s last match will be Oct. 16 and it may not play again until Oct. 27 — could be a detriment in the postseason.
4. Suffern (13-1, last week’s rank: 4): I really don’t see how the Mounties won’t be the No. 1 seed in this year’s Section 1 Class AA tournament. Suffern already has a better record than top contenders Clarkstown South, Scarsdale and Mahopac, and I don’t see it losing any of its final matches of the season.
5. Panas (10-1, last week’s rank: 5): The Panthers locked up at least a share of their league title on Friday after a sweep of Beacon. Coach Joe Felipe has done a phenomenal job with his team this year, and the girls can silence any doubters — if there are any left, that is — with two massive matches against Yorktown and John Jay on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. If my math is correct — which, if you looked at my high school transcript, means very little — two wins from Panas could lock up that crucial No. 1 seed in Class A everyone is vying for. A sweep this week would hand both Yorktown and John Jay their second losses of the season, while also giving Panas the upper hand in a tiebreaker on both. Huge week ahead for the Panthers, to say the least. The No. 1 seed also means that team won’t have to face two of the other teams, assuming they all advance to the semifinals.
6. Clarkstown South (12-2, last week’s rank: 6): The Vikings really seem to be clicking at the right part of the season, which is the goal of every team throughout the year. Clarkstown South will only have one match this week, then will have nearly a one-week break until its season finale against Ursuline (10-2) next Monday.
7. Haldane (12-1, last week’s rank: 8): Despite the injury to setter Brooke Vahos, the Blue Devils are performing brilliantly this season. Junior Nicole Etta, who is coming off a torn meniscus from last year, has filled in Vahos’ role and Haldane seemingly jelled to the change.
8. Hen Hud (8-2, last week’s rank: 9): The Sailors are now riding a seven-match winning streak with their most recent win over North Rockland on Tuesday. I give the Sailors the bump over Scarsdale by factoring in their tournament game win over the Raiders earlier this year.
9. Mahopac (11-1, last week’s rank: 10): The Indians will have their last true test of the regular season this week when host Haldane on Wednesday to start a streak of three consecutive matches. Mahopac should win out after the Haldane match, if it doesn’t win that, too. I don’t think the schedule this week will burden the Indians too much, since Haldane is the first match. Mahopac is also set up nicely the rest of the way, with matches right up until the last day of the season.
10. Scarsdale (8-5, last week’s rank: 7): It was a rough week for the Raiders. OK, it was a really rough week for the Raiders. Losing all three of your contests will never feel good or leave many silver linings, but the level of competition faced was exceptional. The Raiders fell to John Jay, Ursuline and Ardsley, respectively — teams with a combined 35-3 record this season now. Hen Hud and Haldane proved to everyone last year that regular-season records mean bupkis; it’s all about how you perform in the postseason. Another stat: The combined record of opponents Scarsdale lost to this year is 60-6.
Photo credit: The Journal News