The Kings Park girls volleyball team showed why it is the top seed in the Suffolk County Class A playoffs as the Lady Kingsmen took down Eastport South Manor in straight sets on their home court on Monday. The victory advanced the Lady Kingsmen to the Class A county final against Islip on Wednesday while the loss effectively ended the season for the Lady Sharks.
ESM didn’t have much of an answer for Kings Park, which won 25-16, 25-13 and 25-20. Every time the Lady Sharks would get close in the first set, the Lady Kingsmen would answer back with three points of their own.
ESM started the second set with a 3-1 lead, but Kings Park rebounded to take an 8-4 advantage before head coach Don Consorte called a timeout for the Lady Sharks. ESM held a long rally late in the match that Kings Park was able to win to take a commanding 19-10 lead.
The Lady Sharks played their best while facing elimination in the third set. Kings Park jumped out to a 4-0 advantage, but a kill by senior Nikki Illuzzi tied the score at 6-6. After an unforced error, though, the Lady Kingsmen regained the lead at 7-6. ESM would only get as close as 22-18 before losing the final set, 25-20.
Kings Park has a much smaller gym than ESM, with a low ceiling directly in the middle of the court. Still, Consorte did not seem to think that had a lot to do with the loss.
“Really, the ceiling didn’t come into play,” he said. “We practiced knowing that we had to play with a low ceiling.
“Our blockers struggled today,” he continued. “We tried to put up what we could. I thought we put up a real good fight. So, I’m real proud of them, they gave us everything they had.”
ESM senior Brittany Little had a team-high six kills in the loss while senior Morgan Johnson finished with four kills. Illuzzi collected 20 assists.
Amanda Gannon led Kings Park with 17 kills, Joelle Goldstein had 18 digs and Kendall Corcoran finished with 40 assists.
Overall, Consorte was pleased with how is team performed this season.
“We always want to make the playoffs as our first goal, then, once you’re in, you want to start winning,” he said. “We played a really tough Westhampton team on Friday that I thought we played real well, and I didn’t think we were too far off from [Kings Park]. They’re just a really tough team, with a lot of weapons, and at times I thought we played well against them, and other times I thought we were just a little bit off.
“Just a little bit off sometimes is enough to topple the game,” Consorte added.
Illuzzi, Johnson, Little, Amanda Rose and Sarah Mulligan will all be graduating in June and Consorte said they have meant a lot to the volleyball program.
“I wish the seniors the best of luck,” he said. “They were amazing to me through all of their years. Their hard work and dedication, the mentoring to the younger kids … I’m going to miss them a lot.”