Whether it’s in the NCAA tournament or the Section 1 tournament, most teams who manage to pull off a first-round upset aren’t likely to compete for a championship. They could make a deep run and possibly spoil the hopes of potential contenders, but most of the time, the double-digit seeds are there to prove to everyone that they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are seven first-round games you should really keep an eye on, ranked in ascending order from the highest seed:
1. Class A: No. 4 Lakeland vs. No. 13 Panas: The Panthers will most likely get by No. 20 Beacon, setting up this epic rivalry. Lakeland should win, but when it comes to any Lakeland-Panas match, almost anything can happen.
2. Class AA: No. 5 Ketcham vs. No. 12 Port Chester: I just don’t get Ketcham. We don’t cover the Indians, so we don’t see them, but I hear nothing but good things from up north. Port Chester, on the other hand, I’ve heard next-to-nothing about, except during calls with coach Janine Maiolini. I think people think Ketcham is going to run over Port Chester, but I think it’s going to be a lot closer than everyone expects. The Panthers (11-9) suffered three losses by one run. Port Chester has a strong core of contributors in Skylynn Roman, Cassie Lagana, Marissa Arminio, Brooklyn Ostrowski and Stephanie Gonzalaz that I think could give the Indians some trouble. Lagana is averaging a strikeout per inning, and about half of her runs allowed have been unearned.
3. Class A: No. 6 Eastchester vs. No. 11 Yorktown: Eastchester has been my go-to upset team in volleyball the last two years, but I’m putting the Eagles on upset alert here. The Huskers played a solid schedule and beat or held their own with several quality teams. This is the biggest upset I think we’ll see in the first round, in any class.
4. Class A: No. 7 Nanuet vs. No. 10 Lourdes: The Warriors started off slow this year, but have since put together a good stretch of games. Nanuet has flown under the radar all season, and will have the luxury of a home game. Expect a one- or two-run game here. I’d say Golden Knights win in, 6-4.
5. Class B: No. 7 Dobbs Ferry vs. No. 10 Pleasantville: I’m not quite sure what to make of Pleasantville, but as any NCAA March Madness aficionado will tell you, the 7-10 matchups are always fun to watch.
6. Class AA: No. 8 Arlington vs. No. 9 Scarsdale: The Admirals are another peculiar beast. They’ve showed signs of power, beating Ursuline, then slumped towards the end of the year, losing five in a row. Arlington is stronger than the 8-seed it holds, but I can see this game either going either way.
7. Class A: No. 8 Harrison vs. No. 9 Tappan Zee: I was at the Harrison-Tappan Zee girls basketball game earlier this year, when the 13th-seeded Dutchies upset the Huskies on their home court. I remember that. I’m sure Huskies basketball players like Stevie Carpiniello and students who went to the game also remember it. Harrison finished the season on a 12-4 streak and likely wants to remind the section what it’s capable of doing. Tappan Zee is an extremely solid squad, so I’m expecting a low-scoring grind, maybe like 3-2, but I think Harrison’s momentum and motivation can carry it into the quarterfinals.
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