Today, September 29th, I was able to catch some Fall Ball action over at Newton South High School. The majority of the teams came from the South and North sections. It would have been very nice to see some Western Mass. teams, but the travel obviously makes that pretty difficult. There were a lot of things that caught my attention, which didn’t seem apparent prior to today.
First off, there was Wellesley, who I had written about a few weeks ago. There is no doubt that they have plenty of talent, but today they looked a bit out of system. After graduating senior Michael Youniss, they didn’t really seem to have someone to fill the role of setter.
Another team that I thought had some potential was Andover. At first they looked decent, but they seemed to ware down easily, and let Skyler Kaufman (Needham) and Max Kaklins (a Brookline player on Barnstable) run all over them. They didn’t really have the defense to keep up with others teams.
Natick, Chelmsford and Medfield looked to pick up where they left off last season. Framingham was looking very good today. They’ll look to make some noise in the Bay State Conference this coming year. Cambridge bounced back well after losing Jalen Penrose. They were able to string some good rallies together. Out of nowhere came Barnstable. They do not receive much publicity, but they had great overall play. Lincoln-Sudbury is back on the rise. They still have work to do, but they definitely improved since last season. A little surprising is that Westford did not look that strong. However, I was not able to catch them play a lot.
Overall a common trend was the roles of JV players. The majority of teams didn’t have their regular season rosters, so there were plenty of JV players filling roles that they weren’t used to. This is the first organized play as a team. Some smart teams were able to target these players which definitely hurt a lot of typically strong teams.
It was good to see some players I had only heard about. Brendan Duggan from Newton South had very strong upfront play. In addition, I saw Michael Antonellis from Milford get a few block kills, which was interesting since I had only really heard about his hits. Alex Raskind from Needham also showed a lot of potential. He went on a long run showing off his jump serve against Barnstable. Wellesley’s Ben Cohen was used as a setter for a little bit. This cannot be good for the Raiders, who need him on the outside. Someone to keep an eye on is Brookline’s Max Kaklins, who was playing for Barnstable today. He was hitting and blocking with authority, as Barnstable had some very successful matches.