St. Joseph High School’s boys volleyball team has been to the Greater Middlesex Conference championship matches five straight years, but have failed to take home the championship trophy since last winning in 2008.
Again this year the Falcons are the top seed and, after eliminating eighth-seeded Edison in the quarterfinals, will once again look to claim the elusive title.
St. Joseph (35-3), led by the Garden State’s leading assist man in Sean Dacey and the state’s leader in digs, Kurt MacDonald, has been on a roll, losing just once since the calendar turned to May.
They’ll take on the darkhorse of the tournament, fourth-seeded North Brunswick, at 4 p.m. in Metuchen. The Raiders received little resistance from fifth-seeded Woodbridge in the quarterfinals, as they cruised 25-14, 25-9. North Brunswick is 16-4 so far this season and has what it takes to hang with St. Joseph, according to coach Jim Biolsi.
“We have to pass well so we can run our offense,” Biolsi said. “From what I can tell, they (St. Joseog) have tendencies to jump serve, so we’re going to figure out a way to handle it. We have to have confidence in ourselves going against the top team, because as good as they are, we have to have the mentality that if we play our best, we can win.”
The two teams did not face each other in the regular season, but they did scrimmage in the preseason back in March. Biolsi doesn’t believe that a lack of game experience against St. Joseph will have an affect on his team.
“We just have to have confidence,” he said. “We scrimmaged them back in March, but that’s a long time ago. We certainly are aware of their libero (MacDonald) and he’s somebody that’s going to have a big impact in this game. We’re going to try and avoid him if we can. We just have to be smart in the terms of the shots that we take.”
In the other semifinal, second-seeded East Brunswick (25-3), whose last title came in 2009, will take on third-seeded Old Bridge at 4 p.m. in East Brunswick. The Bears shrugged off rival South Brunswick 2-0 in the quarterfinals and took both regular-season meetings from Old Bridge this year. East Brunswick, which took home GMCT titles in succession from 2003-07, hasn’t been to the finals since winning their sixth title in ‘09.
Old Bridge, which received little resistance from sixth-seeded Piscataway, has taken the title in two of the last three seasons. Their trio of stars, Adian Albrecht, Steven Bonilla and Junior Oboh, present a big challenge for East Brunswick.