The Westhampton Beach boys volleyball team is trying to break a three-game losing skid after starting the season with a win.
The Hurricanes (1-3) fell 3-0 at home to Smithtown West on September 18 before dropping a 3-1 decision two days later at Center Moriches. Prior to those games, Westhampton Beach lost 3-0 to East Hampton on September 10.
After losing the first two sets 25-16, 25-21 to Center Moriches on Friday, the Hurricanes rebounded to win the third set 26-24. But the Red Devils won the fourth and deciding set 25-16.
Jeff Dalder had 11 assists for Westhampton Beach while Chris Peraino contributed with nine. Tom Lambert led the defense with 16 digs. Matheus Silverio had nine kills while Wyatt Richter added six and Collin Carrieri had seven.
Westhampton Beach head coach Jackie Reed said her team usually has a hard time with Center Moriches.
“They do a great job at running a slower offense from the middle, and head coach LisaAnn Zlatniski does a great job with the kids in hitting the deep corners,” she said.
The Hurricanes, who have not won a match since beating Huntington 3-2 on September 9, had a hard time finding a rhythm in what would prove to be a loss to Smithtown West. The Bulls won in straight sets, 25-14, 25-13, 25-18.
It took five sets but the Eastport South Manor boys volleyball team won its first match of the season, 3-2, at home over Walt Whitman on Friday. The Sharks won the first two sets 25-21, 25-12, but then lost the next two sets 25-21, 26-24, before taking the third and deciding set 25-20.
ESM (1-2) thought it had taken the final set earlier in the frame, prompting many of its players to rush the court to celebrate, but one of the officials ruled that a Shark had touched the net on the play, giving the point to Walt Whitman. On the next play, Tyler Brandow made sure the Sharks could celebrate the victory with a big kill and they crowded the court once again to celebrate.
At first, ESM head coach Bruce Stiriz said he did not understand why his players were celebrating in such a way, noting that they are the defending Suffolk County champions and nearly made it to the state tournament but for a tough loss in the Long Island Championship last season. But then Stiriz realized that many of his new players have never won at the varsity level before; there are only four returning players from last year’s championship squad.
“So, I told them to almost act like they’ve been there before,” he said, with a chuckle.
Eric Ferrante had a career-high 46 assists in the win to go along with four aces. John Suarez had a career-high 30 kills with 13 digs and added four blocks. Brandow finished with 14 kills and 12 digs.
Stiriz explained that the victory can be attributed to a new system he installed in which a number of players switched positions. The most noticeable change was moving Suarez from middle hitter to the outside, a decision that seemed to pay off.
“We’re a totally different team from three games ago,” Stiriz said. “John had loved playing the middle, and I liked playing him there, but we were weak at our outside spots. So, I moved John and Tyler to the outside and now we have four guys going for our two middle hitter spots.
“It’s created a healthy competition,” he continued, “and it just makes life simpler for everybody.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Westhampton Beach—Thursday, 9/26, vs. Connetquot, 4 p.m. ESM—Thursday, 9/26, vs. Sachem East, 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 10/1, at Connetquot, 5:45 p.m.