Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top 10 Fall Ball Teams Rundown

By: Shane Cetlin

Newton South: This is a very interesting team. It seems like every year I’ve seen them they’ve had a drastically different lineup, yet they’ve been very successful in recent memory. 2014 won’t be that different. They appear to have the defense to keep up with anybody they might face. Offensively speaking, they have been known as a team that has a tendency to tip a lot, but Brendan Duggan looks to change that from the middle position. Joe Esbenshade should look to do the same. With Jared Chin moving the ball around and a weaker than usual DCL league they should be just fine.
Newton North/Milford: For the past two months both schools have combined players to form one team. They showed that both squads have a handful of very talented players, they just lacked depth. Both teams are able to put a solid half of a team on the court. As long as they can work out some players into certain roles, both teams will still be quite competitive.
Framingham: Framingham looks to have made significant improvements from last season. In 2013 they were a team that definitely relied too heavily on one player. Andrew Bliss is a great go-to guy, but they needed more offensive options. From what I saw, their younger players have made necessary adjustments to their skills. They should be right up there in the Central and BSC.
Natick: Natick is not a team that impressed me this fall. They certainly have a share of athletic kids, but they were just a little too inconsistent, but with one of the most successful coaches in Massachusetts, I would never imagine counting them out. However, it currently doesn’t look like they have the offense to match up with some of the more powerful teams in their conference.
Andover: I liked what I saw for them. I definitely believe that Alec Dean is one of the most underrated players in the state. He can really do it all. They’re a good group of guys with experience. If I were them, I would be concerned with their lack of height. Overall they struggled to get a lot of strong blocks up. Nevertheless, they are still an above average team with a good work ethic.
Braintree: These guys looked a little awkward out there. There’s no denying that they have a lot of athleticism on their team, but they simply couldn’t compete at a high level. Coming off a two win season, they have definitely made improvements. The lack of chemistry and volleyball intelligence hurt them, though.
Needham: Needham looks to be a team with plenty of experience. After losing just two seniors and a transfer from an already sectional champion, they were impressive. It was awesome to see them compete against Newton South nearly every time. Right now it looks like Needham has to work out a few issues defensively before they can begin planning their postseason run.
Wellesley: Wellesley is probably one of the scrappiest defensive teams there is. They get everything up and always frustrated their opponents. Ben Cohen is still a top player, while Ian Kinney and Andrew Lull look to be improving. Their achillies heal right now appears to be their setting. Over the course of Fall Ball they experimented a lot with different setters while leading candidate for the job Charlie Bolton remained injured.
Barnstable: I am very intrigued by this team. Yes one of their best players during this time was from Brookline, but still they look to have potential. Volleyball is bigger in Barnstable than most towns because of their historic girls program. With most of the teams in the South probably coming from the BSC, Barnstable has a chance with an easier schedule to secure a higher playoff seeding due to their winning percentage. They can be a dangerous team once they get going.

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