For the past two seasons, the Hampton Bays girls volleyball team has dreaded going to Bayport/Blue Point High School. The Lady Baymen only lost two matches in the regular season last year and one was at the Lady Phantoms home court.
The Lady Baymen, though, may have turned their fortunes around. They won 3-1 at Bayport/Blue Point on September 10 in what was the League VII opener for both teams. Hampton Bays won the first set 25-16, lost the second set 25-18, but went on to win the final two sets 25-19, 25-23.
There was a lot of back-and-forth play in the fourth and deciding set. Up 24-22, the Lady Baymen were looking for the final point to put the match away, but Bayport wasn’t going down easily. Hampton Bays had about six chances to get the point but the Lady Phantoms eventually scored to bring themselves within 24-23. Junior Alex Maitland-Ward eventually scored the winning point for Hampton Bays.
Hampton Bays head coach Andy Fotopoulos knew that Bayport was going to feature its best hitter, senior Shannon Brady. So Fotopoulos honed in on her with three of his players, his daughter Alexis, a sophomore, junior libero Jean Louise Catena and senior Taylor Link. All three girls, Fotopoulos said, did extremely well, and their statistics prove it. Link had 20 digs, while Fotopoulos had 18 and Catena had 16. Fotopoulos also had 12 assists. Maitland-Ward had 14 kills while senior Tori Laureano had 12.
“Right from the start I knew they had a big hitter,” Coach Fotopoulos said. “Taylor and Jean did a nice job. We just isolated on Brady. And Alexis blocked her a few times.
“Our goal is consistency,” he added. “We didn’t put many balls away but we kept it going and eventually things went our way.”
Fotopoulos added that it was a good sign that his team won after coming off a 3-0 loss at Westhampton Beach in a non-league match earlier in the week. With Elwood/John Glenn back in League VII this year, and Babylon showing marked improvement, Fotopoulos said the league is going to be very competitive this season, so getting the first victory out of the way was key.
“[Bayport] was just as good as Westhampton,” he said. “Alexis stepped in with passing, she did a real nice job passing and getting the offense started.”
The Westhampton Beach girls volleyball team lost its first League VI match of the season in a 3-1 defeat at East Hampton on Thursday, September 12. The Lady Hurricanes rebounded with an easy 3-0 non-league victory at Mattituck the following day.
After winning the first set 26-24, Westhampton Beach dropped the next three sets to East Hampton 25-23, 25-22, 25-10. Westhampton Beach head coach Lenny Zaloga said, while he thinks the match was tightly contested on both sides, he did explain to his players that he thinks their practice habits need to start improving.
“I don’t think we take practice time as time to improve ourselves,” he said. “I think we just come to practice to practice and don’t actually try and individually get better.
“We were a little bit lazy on defense,” in the loss to East Hampton, Zaloga added. “The second time we play them we’ll do a much better job. I have a lot of younger kids on the team who should improve as time goes on.”
Westhampton Beach junior Sarah Culver had 12 kills and eight digs.
In the victory over Mattituck, all 17 Lady Canes got playing time. Westhampton Beach won 25-15, 25-20, 25-23. Culver had five kills while sophomore Sunny Foglia had three. Junior Lauren Lorefice had nine assists and sophomore Bella Recchion had nine digs.
The Eastport South Manor girls volleyball team lost in three straight sets at Kings Park, 25-15, 25-17, 25-13, on September 10.
Lady Sharks head coach Don Consorte simply said his players can’t play okay and expect to win against a very good team such as Kings Park. That said, it was the very first match of the season for his team and Consorte is still trying to figure out the best possible lineup.
“We’re giving away too many points on unforced errors,” he said. “We’ve worked on a couple of strategies since the loss on trying to keep our emotions in check. Sometimes they try and be so fine that it leads to errors. We’ve got to find something in between being aggressive without being so reckless.”
Three players were left off last week’s roster in the season preview of the team. Michaela Cooke, Stephanie Ogeka and Brinna Cunha, all juniors, should see time on the court at various points throughout this season.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Hampton Bays—Thursday, 9/19, at Southampton, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9/21, ESM Invitational, 8 a.m.; Monday, 9/23, vs. Center Moriches, 4 p.m. Westhampton Beach—Saturday, 9/21, ESM Invitational, 8 a.m.; Tuesday, 9/24, at Mount Sinai, 5:45 p.m.; Thursday, 9/26, vs. Miller Place, 4 p.m. ESM—Thursday, 9/19, at Harborfields, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9/21, ESM Invitational, 8 a.m.; Monday, 9/23, vs. Comsewogue, 4 p.m.