Josh Brussell, who coaches East Hampton High’s boys volleyball team, said following his team’s sweep of Westhampton Beach here Friday that it’s likely the Bonackers will have a home playoff match.
Kathy McGeehan, the girls’ coach, who was helping to keep score that day, said she’s hoping for a first-round home playoff match too.
“We know how to solve John Glenn,” McGeehan said, “but we’ve yet to actually do it. It has to do with taking care of the ball.”
Glenn is the sole league rival that East Hampton’s girls have not defeated. “Hopefully, we’ll meet them again in the playoffs,” said the coach, who added that her team had begun to come on “after the first round. . . . Defeating St. Anthony’s in the Harborfields tournament was our best outing thus far, though we lost [middle blocker] Christina Cangiolosi for two weeks to a concussion in that match.”
Cangiolosi’s sidelining had hurt, the coach said, “though Carley Seekamp has been stepping up. We have wins over Miller Place, Rocky Point, and Amityville with our new lineup, and we did better against Glenn the second time. The first set was 25-23, in the second set we started out on a 6-0 run, but didn’t maintain the lead. . . . We’re hoping to get Christina back for the playoffs.”
Maria Montoya, McGeehan said, “has been serving and hitting well, Melanie Mackin has been taking off, Katie Brierley [the libero] has been great, and Raya O’Neal [one of Newsday’s players-to-watch in Suffolk] has been a force as an outside hitter when she’s in the front row and as a setter when she’s in the back row. Lydia Budd’s been setting too. The team’s really been developing. I’m hoping they’ll peak in the playoffs.”
The girls were to have played at Westhampton Beach Monday. Although the Hurricanes did not impress when they played here recently, McGeehan said she expected her ancient coaching rival, Lenny Zaloga, would have them ready to play. “We can’t afford a loss to them,” McGeehan said.
Back to the boys, Brussell’s charges pulled out game one in crunch time, after a carry allowed Westhampton to tie the score at 20-20.
A subsequent wide serve by Chris Pesce put the ball back in the hands of East Hampton, whose Patrick Silich served to 23-20 before netting a delivery. A kill by Westhampton’s Matheus Silverio made it 23-22, and an ace by Zac Ellenhorn evened things at 23-all, prompting Brussell to call a timeout.
When play resumed, and with Ellenhorn still serving, Silich made a great save of a Silverio smash after which Thomas King, East Hampton’s star, put the ball away through a double block.
At that point, with East Hampton up 24-23, Peter Shilowich was brought in to serve out the set, which ended when Silverio was called for a carry at the net.
The second set was tied five times before the Bonackers, at 16-all, began to inch away.
Three successive aces by King, whose jump serve is murderous, made it 20-16 East Hampton, causing the Hurricanes’ coach to call a timeout.
King notched another ace when play resumed, for 21-16. The visitors fought back to 24-23 as a line-drive serve by Silverio struck Brock Lownes in the chest near the baseline. A subsequent crosscourt kill by King that landed on the sideline put the Hurricanes away.
The visitors were pretty much done for at that point: East Hampton went out to a 7-1 lead in the third set and never looked back as Silich, King, and Shilowich notched aces, and as Brock Lownes and Dennis Lynch, who had come off the bench, had kills. The game — and match — ended, at 25-17, when Silverio’s kill attempt sailed well over the baseline.
The Bonackers were to have played League III’s top team, Eastport-South Manor, Tuesday. “We lost in five to them the last time,” said Brussell. “If we beat them, we’ll definitely finish second, possibly in first. . . . Essentially, we’re shooting for second place and a home playoff match.”
Questioned further, the coach said, “We’ve got a young team [King, Brock Lownes, and Evan Larsen are seniors] but they’re getting a lot of experience. . . . Thomas is our go-to guy, Brock is versatile. . . .”
When it was noted that his rotations often didn’t feature a lot of height, the coach said, “Height’s not the key — it’s heart and determination.”