MCPS 2021 Season Preview - "The COVID YEAR"
For the 2021 season, each group will be playing within itself, and "inter-group" play will be limited to the playoffs.
The Sweet 16
Another major change this season is that there are only 16 total teams that are playing boys' volleyball. Schools without teams this year include: Kennedy, Magruder, Northwood, Richard Montgomery, Seneca Valley, Springbrook, and Watkins Mill. It's presumed that this lack of participation is mostly related to the pandemic, and schools not finding enough players who were willing to play. Of those schools, Richard Montgomery's absence is particularly surprising, as they were positioned to have a real shot to finish in the top 5 in 2021.
As unfortunate as all of that is, having 16 teams does make the playoff situation interesting. The county has decided that the playoffs will include all 16 schools, so regular season play will be used for seeding. This should provide for a really exciting post-season, as every team will have a shot at the championship. As we all know, upsets happen, and we fully expect there to be some surprises come end of the season.
Upcounty - The upcounty division should be Clarksburg's to lose. Clarksburg is loaded with several club players, including potential POTY Junior Nathan Goh, and Senior Opposite Hitter Jason Soo. Sherwood will certainly challenge Clarksburg for the top spot behind Seth Kauffman and Brogan Black, but will have a tough time against the depth of Clarksburg's roster. Northwest, despite having another POTY candidate in Andrew Ahn, will likely finish 3rd in this group. As long as Clarksburg stays healthy, the Coyotes should finish with the best record in the division.
Midcounty - From top to bottom, this is clearly the toughest grouping in the county, with returning champions WJ and perennial playoff contenders Churchill having to battle it out for the top spot. Wootton is also a dangerous team, and could end up being the big surprise of 2021 behind Seniors Matthew Hou, Kyle Foster, and Junior Hayden Agan. With those three, Wootton certainly does not lack in size or power, but the question will be if they have the ball control to topple Churchill and WJ. Walter Johnson certainly has the experience to go all the way, lead by Senior Ryan Harper and several young club players, but can they do it without 2-time POTY Francesco Sani? Churchill certainly has the deepest roster of any team in the county, boasting a full lineup of club players including Juniors Corwin Trouteaud, Andy Wang, and Senior Charles Lin, but they also have a history of falling short in the playoffs. Do this year's Bulldogs finally have enough to get past the hump? This exciting division is absolutely full of questions, but when the dust settles, my prediction is that Churchill will finish at the top of the Midcounty division.
Eastern Montgomery - The largest grouping in the county is certainly shrouded in mystery, but based off Coach Alex Theoharis' consistent record of developing tough teams, Wheaton should be the team to beat. However, without a full season in 2020, it's really tough to say what any of these teams will look like in 2021. Will there be a Cinderella story coming out of this group? It will certainly be one to watch closely, especially as we head into the playoffs. Watch for a team to get hot at the right time, and surprise someone in June.
There you have it folks, 1-on-none's first MCPS Boys Volleyball post. As the season progresses, follow us for in-depth updates and analysis! As always, if your team is looking for spirit wear, uniforms, or warm-ups, or if you just want some cool volleyball gear, check out 1-on-none at https://1-on-none.com and give us a follow at @1_on_none!