Millburn's girls doubles teams
When you consider the fact Millburn had to win back-to-back 3-2 matches in the Group 3 championships and the doubles teams were both unbeaten in those match, they've been the most valuable part of Millburn's team this postseason. Add in the fact they are unbeaten in the state tournament, were unbeaten in the county tournament and are a combined 35-2 this year, I'm not sure anyone has been more valuable than the doubles teams this season, never mind last week.
Tim Swanson, wide receiver, football
With the season that Swanson is having, it's a shame that the Miller football team isn't having a better season. He scored a touchdown on 10 receptions and 152 yards in a loss to Shabazz on Friday, bringing his season total to eight touchdowns.
It's become so common place it's barely news the girls tennis team won its fifth consecutive Group 3 championship. Even in a Group 3 field that seemed about as wide open as it had been in the last few years, Millburn gutted out two very close 3-2 wins to defend their title. Now after winning a group where they weren't the favorites, they'll have to do the same in the Tournament of Champions where they also are not the favorites.
The Miller girls soccer team did not play its best game against Livingston in the Essex County Tournament semifinals. But in fairness, they also did not have the best game plan. I learned a long time ago soccer is about stopping the other team from scoring, not about trying to outscore them. It's very easy to second guess now that we know what happened, but bringing Tanya Sood forward to help the offense as opposed to leaving her back to defend Kate Schwindel was probably the difference in the 4-3 loss for Millburn.
The bottom line for the girls soccer team is they still have a shot at a division title and are still going to be a tough out, whether they are at home or on the road, in the state tournament.
Don't look now but the field hockey team has put together an impressive stretch over the last few weeks and seem to be peaking at the right time heading into the state tournament in about a week. Since Sept. 25 the girls have allowed six goals in 11 games and have not allowed a team to score more than once in a game during that stretch. They've gone 7-2-2 during that time and have turned their season around. Look out for the field hockey team this postseason.
Three most important games of the week:
1. Girls tennis Meet of Champions, Tuesday and Thursday—Once again the Miller girls are in the tournament and have a chance to win it. Should they win it all, it will be their first MOC win since 2007.
2. Girls soccer at Montclair, Wednesday, 4 p.m.—Despite the disappointing loss in the county semis and the 8-5 record, the Millers are still alive as far as a division title goes. They only have two regular season losses within the division. Livingston has two and Montclair has one. If the locals can win over Montclair, they should end up with at least a share of the division title.
3. Field hockey vs. Arthur L. Johnson, Tuesday, 4 p.m.—Just how good are the Miller girls this season? They've had a strong month of October and have improved to 8-6. A win over a very good program like Johnson would be huge for a surging Millburn team.