Big Green Machine, West Essex, Caldwell, Columbia, Millburn, Cedar Grove and Nutley among Essex softball teams to advance into sectional quarterfinals; Big 3 remain atop the latest rankings, Montclair moves up to No. 4; Zullo milestone highlights big year for coaches

Essex County will be well-represented in the NJSIAA, public sectional quarterfinals, on May 25, as West Essex, Livingston, Caldwell, Columbia, Millburn, Cedar Grove and Nutley were all slated to play. The winners would get a long Memorial Day weekend to think about the respective semifinals, next week. In one instance, two teams from Essex, Columbia and Millburn, will play each other in the quarters, so, obviously only one can advance.

Among the Non-Public’s in Essex County are Mount St. Dominic, the second seed in Non-Public A and top-seeded Newark Academy and fifth seeded Montclair Kimberley, in Non Public B.

Montclair did not qualify for the NJSIAA Tournament, but no team was playing better down the stretch. Coach Phil Delgado’s Mounties advanced to the Essex County Tournament final, before falling to West Essex.

Congrats to Nutley coach Luann Zullo, who won her 400th career game, last week. Here’s more on Zullo’s accomplishments. Zullo’s wins have come at West Essex and, for the last 18 seasons, at her alma mater.

luzuNutley players presented coach Luann Zullo’s her 400th career win, last week.(Click on photo for larger image).

It’s been quite a year for coaching milestones in Essex County, as Bob Mayer of Bloomfield and Mount St. Dominic’s Lorenzo Sozio each won their 500th career game, Zullo won her 400th, the Mayor of ShangriLa, Livingston’s Jason Daily claimed number 300 and the Queen of West Essex, Andrea Mondadori, gained number 200.

Here’s a look at the updated FMTC, Top 10.

1-West Essex (23-2): The newly-crowned Essex County Tournament champions are the top seed in its state section, and will take on Wayne Valley on May 25.

garAmanda Garofalo and her parents, Michele and Bill, celebrated a county title for West Essex last Saturday. (Click on photo for larger image).

2-Mount St. Dominic (24-3): The second season for the highly-motivated Lions includes an out-of-conference game on Memorial Day weekend, against Morris Knolls, then full steam ahead to the Non-Public A tournament, and a hope to repeat their marvelous 2014 season.

3-Nutley (22-5): There’s a reason why the Raiders are the defending state sectional champions. They’re tough in clutch time. Nutley is in a really tough section, meaning it will probably have to get through both Middletown South and Middletown North, to claim a second straight title. But with Genuine Risk (Emily Holden) in the circle, and having played a tough schedule all season, why not Nutley?

4-Montclair (10-15): When the post-season honors come around in a few weeks, there’s no question who will be a favorite to gain Coach of the Year honors, within Essex County, at least on this page. The Mounties’ slow start kept them out of the state tournament, but the team was marvelous in the county tournament.

5-Livingston (14-11): The draw in North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 fared well for the Lancers, which was slated to face Kearny in a sectional quarterfinal on May 25. Never count out the Big Green Machine, especially if Syd The Kid pitches like she did in first round game against Passaic Tech.

6-Cedar Grove (16-12):  The Panthers have all the tools to be a repeat state sectional champion. The team’s base is very young, but playing a rugged SEC American Division schedule this year could put them in good stead for the state tourney.

7-Bloomfield (12-14): A loss to Kearny ended the Bengals’ season, and concluded the high school careers of two outstanding players in Courtney Politz and Sam Corio (Pleasant Colony). A young nucleus returns in 2017 for Bob Mayer’s squad, however.

8-Newark Academy (16-7): If ever there was a season for this team to play in a state final, it’s 2016. An excellent group of players and a veteran coach could get the Minutemen a trip to Kean University on the second weekend in June. They are the top seed in the North, Non-Public B.

9-Caldwell (14-9) : The Chiefs are the third seed in its section and will take on a good Lodi squad on May 25. Never discount a Mike Teshkoyan-coached team in the state tournament.

10-Millburn (21-3): An SEC Colonial vs. SEC Liberty matchup is in store on May 25, as Millburn takes on Columbia in the state tournament.

Latest stud watch…

Sami Huetter, Canonero II

Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid

Sophie Rosenberg, Arts and Letters

Alexa Vardiman, Funny Cide

Emily Holden, Genuine Risk

Sam Corio, Pleasant Colony

Jessie Masur, Nyquist

Out of Network:

Olivia Sprofera, Southpaw Slew

Reese Guevarra, Sunday Silence

Emilie Cieslak, Tim Tam

Taylor Kenerson, Point Given

By mike051893

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