No team likes losing its final two regular season matches with the playoffs looming right around the corner. But that’s exactly what happened last week to the Hampton Bays girls volleyball team.
After falling, 3-0, at home to Elwood/John Glenn on October 22, the Lady Baymen dropped a 3-1 decision at Mattituck the following day.
The loss to Glenn isn’t so surprising, given the fact that the Lady Knights continue to be one of the best teams in Suffolk County, having lost only one set the entire season. The loss at Mattituck was surprising though. Hampton Bays defeated the Lady Tuckers at their host tournament earlier this season and also beat them, 3-0, in a match in which Mattituck could muster only nine points in one of the sets.
“It was our third match in three days, maybe that had something to do with it,” Hampton Bays head coach Andy Fotopoulos speculated this week. “But we lost a tough 32-30 set and couldn’t recover from it. We just didn’t have anyone to put a ball away.”
Mattituck won the first set, 25-17, and the Lady Baymen came back to win the second set, 25-20, before dropping that long, third set, in which the Lady Baymen lost five game-points.
“We would set it to Alex [Maitland-Ward] and she would hit the ball out long. She never does that,” Fotopoulos said. “We had them—we just couldn’t put the ball away.”
Fotopoulos added that it was Mattituck’s senior game and the coach decided to play only two of its nine seniors. The Lady Tuckers needed the victory to make the Class C playoffs; they wound up taking the fourth set, 25-18, to win the match.
Maitland-Ward, a junior, finished with 16 kills and two blocks while junior Samantha Pace had nine kills and nine digs. Jean Louise Catena, another junior, recorded 26 digs and sophomore Alexis Fotopoulos finished with 20 assists, 17 digs and four kills.
Hampton Bays (8-4 League VII, 10-5 overall) played Glenn tough last week, losing 25-14, 25-15 and 25-16. Fotopoulos has figured out, after seeing Glenn twice now, that the big difference between the two teams is serving.
“Their serving is a lot tougher than ours,” Fotopoulos said. “Everything on our end was scrambled just to get the ball over the net. That was the difference. They had a lot of tough, float serves. They pick on people and move the ball around. That’s the difference between them and us, the rest is kind of even.”
It is quite possible that Hampton Bays will see Glenn in the playoffs. While nothing is official, as of Monday, Fotopoulos thinks his team will get the fourth seed in the Class B playoffs and host Mount Sinai in an outbracket game tonight, Thursday, at 5 p.m., in what would be the team’s first home playoff game since 2009, when it won the Class C title. Mt. Sinai defeated Miller Place, 3-2, last week to guarantee its postseason berth and force an outbracket game. Hampton Bays has not faced the Lady Mustangs this season.
The winner of Thursday’s outbracket game would advance to the Class B semifinals against top-seeded Glenn on Saturday, November 2, at 2 p.m.