Both Bonac Volleyball Teams Were County Finalists

Making the postseason
Carley Seekamp and Maria Montoya were a formidable duo at the net in last Thursday’s county Class B semifinal here with Bayport-Blue Point. Craig Macnaughton

   A number of East Hampton High School teams, namely football, girls volleyball, boys volleyball, and girls swimming, made the postseason in addition to the county-champion boys soccer team, not to forget the strong showings of the tennis doubles duo of Daniella Dunphy and Gillian Neubert and cross-country runner Dana Cebulski who competed at the state level.
    If the boys soccer team defeated Jericho for the Long Island Class A championship yesterday, it will play in the state final in Middletown on Saturday. A Bonac boys soccer team has never been in a state final before. Moreover, Marina Preiss, as the result of winning the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races in the county meet this past weekend, in personal best times, is to compete in the state meet at Ithaca College this weekend. John McGeehan, her coach, said she’s seeded fifth in the 100 free and 12th in the 50.
    Both volleyball teams were strong contenders in the playoffs. The girls lost 3-0 to their nemesis, Elwood-John Glenn, in the county Class B final, though, according to the team’s coach, Kathy McGeehan, “Westhampton’s athletic director, who heads up the county’s volleyball committee, said the match seemed like a five-setter. . . . It was the best we’ve played against Glenn all season. They are the defending state champs, after all. We gave it everything we had, but Glenn was outstanding.”
    Melanie Mackin, one of three seniors (the others being Maria Montoya and Charlotte Wiltshire), “was at the top of her game. She had 14 kills in 35 attempts, 10 digs, and 15 service receptions.”
    The girls finished with a 13-3 overall record, with all of their losses coming against Glenn. “The good news,” said McGeehan, “is that Glenn’s getting younger and we’re getting older. Melanie, Maria, and Charlotte will be missed, but we’ll have a lot of juniors and sophomores coming back.”
    Likewise, Josh Brussell, who coaches East Hampton’s boys team, was proud of his charges, who, in avenging a first-round playoff loss to Sayville last year, upended the Golden Flashes in five before going at it hammer and tong at Eastport-South Manor the next day.
    “L.B. Lownes played out of his mind and Thomas [King] was his usual formidable self. We lost the first set 27-25 and the second 28-26. That ought to give you an idea. We wound up losing 3-0, but it could have gone either way.”
    Bonac’s boys finished at 6-7 over all (6-4 in divisional play). “We’re a very young team — we had five seniors, three of whom [King, Lownes, and Evan Larsen] started. So, we have very high hopes for the future,” Brussell said. “We’ll try to win the county championship next year.”
    The girls swept Bayport-Blue Point in a semifinal played here last Thursday. The team finished with 10 service aces. Katie Brierley, the sophomore libero, who recently was named as the national volleyball coaches association’s player of the week in New York State, had four of them, and Mackin had three.
    In addition, Mackin had 14 kills; Raya O’Neal had 12; Montoya and Wiltshire, five each, and Carley Seekamp had two. Moreover, O’Neal had 15 assists, and Lydia Budd had nine.
    Defensively, Brierley had 24 digs, Mackin 10, and Jenna and Lydia Budd, seven each.
    “We’re really focused,” said McGeehan, “which was nice to see considering that because of the hurricane we hadn’t had school for a week.”
    Going into the final, East Hampton was the third-ranked Class B girls team in the state, “though Glenn,” said McGeehan, with a smile, “is ranked number-one.”
    The coach added that Mackin had set a school record by playing in three county finals. McGeehan also said that Kim Valverde, her former honorable mention all-American libero, now at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., was “the first player I’ve ever had who’ll be in a national Final Four.”
    Neubert and Dunphy, both juniors, sailed through the girls tennis season undefeated, after which they won the division title and finished second in the county tourney.
    After receiving a bye in the first round of the state tournament, they prevailed 7-3 in the tiebreaker of an eight-game pro set to advance to the third round, but “lost,” said Neubert, “to the girls we’d beaten in the county semis, the Hills West team, 8-6, after we’d gone up 5-2. I don’t know what their coach said to them at that point, but they were going for everything when we began playing again.”
    Dunphy and Neubert work out with one of the East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club’s pros, Dennis Ferrando, in the off-season.
    As for Cebulski, her coach, Diane O’Donnell, said, “Dana did well in the state meet, though not as well as she wanted. It was a hard race — a rolling course with a lot of turns and short but really steep downhills. She found herself running in the middle of packs, and she’s not used to that. Still, it was her second straight year running at the states, and she’s only a sophomore. She’s upbeat — she’s already set her sights on next year.”
    Cebulski received a berth in the state meet as the result of winning the team qualifier race in the division meet at Sunken Meadow. “She could have run in the championship race,” said O’Donnell, “but Kevin [Barry, the boys coach] and I believe in running as a team.”
    The team qualifier race was for teams with below .500 records. “She was lucky she ran so well,” said O’Donnell, “because the storm forced them to cancel the state qualifier race, which usually determines which girls go to the states.”
    Cebulski reportedly was hoping her brother, Adam, who leads the boys team here, would make the states too, “but he didn’t have a great race at the division meet,” said O’Donnell. “He needed one more race. . . .”
    Further on the cross-country front, Ashley West, a freshman at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, was recently named the Landmark Conference’s rookie of the year, in addition to being named first-team all-conference by virtue of her sixth-place finish in the conference championships.
    Last weekend, she placed 83rd among 346 competitors in the Division III Mideast Regionals at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.