Lady Baymen, Lady Canes Volleyball Off To Strong Starts

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The Hampton Bays girls volleyball team picked up two victories in its first week of action. After defeating Shoreham/Wading River, 3-0, at home on Thursday, September 4, the Lady Baymen defeated Pierson, 3-0, the very next day. Both were non-league victories.

Hampton Bays took the three sets from Pierson, 25-11, 25-4, 25-17. Everything went well for the Baymen, except for an injury suffered by junior Liz Ottati. She came down hard on an opposing player’s foot, thus rolling her ankle. Hampton Bays head coach Andy Fotopoulos said that Ottati will miss about a week with the injury and that fellow junior Niamh Cantwell will replace her for the time being.

Cantwell wound up tying junior captain Alexis Fotopoulos for the team lead in kills against Pierson with five. Junior Riess Lovett accrued eight assists while senior captain Jean Louise Catena had five digs and nine aces.

Hampton Bays took care of Shoreham, 25-8, 25-22, 25-22. Alexis Fotopoulos and Lovett each had eight assists each, with Fotopoulos also recording a team-high seven digs. Senior Meghan Harris, making the transition from setter to outside hitter this season, had seven kills and five digs. Senior Alex Maitland-Ward had five kills and five blocks. Catena had five digs and Ottati served three aces.

“Alex really dominated the net and got them out of their games,” Coach Fotopoulos said.

With Elwood/John Glenn in League VII, it’ll be tough for the Lady Baymen to expect a league title, but a postseason berth is definitely in the cards. Bayport/Blue Point should be another strong team in the league, while Babylon, Center Moriches, Mattituck and Southampton make up the rest of the group. East Hampton, Mount Sinai and Shoreham/Wading River play in League VI but are Class B teams that will be vying for playoff spots as well.

“Because of John Glenn, everyone is usually playing for second place,” Coach Fotopoulos said. “We’ve given Glenn a scare a few times; we were up 24-21 in that first game of the county semifinals last season, but they somehow came back and beat us in three sets.”

ESM

Even though the Eastport South Manor girls volleyball team graduated a number of strong players, the program’s depth has become evident this season with a number of players returning.

Heather Watson, Morgan Johnson, Brittany Little, Nikki Illuzzi, Amanda Rose and Sarah Mulligan have all since moved on, but returning seniors Brianna Cunha, Stephanie Ogeka, Michaela Cooke, Kristen Bohnenblusch and Gabby Calise should also factor into the team’s success this season. Juniors Daniela Detore, Gabby Giammarino, Alexis Cirko, Jena Nason, Jessica Nicholson and Jessica Edwards will also help the team out.

League V and Class A will continue be highly competitive this season. Kings Park, which knocked off ESM in the county semifinals last season, returns a strong team, with the rest of the league being made up of Harborfields, Huntington, Comesewogue, Rocky Point and Islip. East Islip, West Babylon, Bellport, Deer Park and Hauppauge are Class A teams that play in League IV, while Sayville, Westhampton Beach, Amityville and Miller Place place in League VI and will be attempting to make the Class A postseason as well.

ESM has reached the playoffs each season since 1999 and head coach Don Consorte said this year could be the most competitive in League VI/Class A.

“It’s going to be a long, tough haul,” he said. “From everything we’ve see in the As, it looks like it’s going to be a really tough, evenly matched group of teams. There’s just a tremendous amount of competition out there.

“As always, we want make the playoffs and go as far as we can,” Consorte added. “The girls put the time and effort in just like everyone else and it’ll come down to who is the best that day.”

Westhampton Beach

After getting bounced in the opening round of the Class A playoffs by cross-town rival Eastport South Manor last season, the Lady Hurricanes are reloaded for the upcoming season, and they appear to be in mid-season form after a 3-0 non-league victory at Bellport on September 3.

Though the Lady Clippers, a perennial postseason team, gave Westhampton Beach a strong, competitive match last week, the Lady Canes were still able to come through the match unscathed, winning 25-20, 25-21, 25-23. And the statistics put up by the Lady Canes are just more evidence that they’re ready for the upcoming season.

Sarah Culver had 19 kills while Ariana Brierton had 31 digs. Shea Casey had 17 assists while Lauren Lorefice recorded 15 assists.

Westhampton Beach head coach Lenny Zaloga said that 10 of his players have been playing club ball year round for quite a while now—five of those 10 girls play on the same club team—giving the girls a solid rapport. While Ivonne Grunseich, Brenna Hogan, Ashlyn Kennedy, Zoe Recchion, Alexis Smith and Morgan Tiska have all graduated, the Lady Canes have a number of starters returning. Along with Culver, Brierton, Casey and Lorefice, Sabrina Choi, Alexis Pellechia and Katy Parry are also returning, and Camryn Bancroft is making the jump from junior varsity to varsity this season. Summer Foglia, who would have taken a larger role on the team this season, seriously injured a knee playing club ball in the winter, tearing both her ACL and MCL. Zaloga says she is out at least another six weeks and that it’s doubtful she’ll see the court this season.

“They’ve been playing together for quite a while now as a group and most of are juniors now,” Zaloga explained. “They know each other and they’re meshing very well already.”

East Hampton and Sayville—co-league champs from last season—are the two teams to beat in League VI this season, Zaloga said, with the rest of the league being made up of Amityville, Mount Sinai, Miller Place and Shoreham/Wading River.

ON THE SCHEDULE: Hampton Bays—Thursday, 9/11, vs. Center Moriches, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9/13, at Mattituck tournament, 9 a.m.

ESM—Thursday, 9/11, at Rocky Point, 3:30 p.m.; Monday, 9/15, at Westhampton Beach, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 9/17, vs. Harborfields, 4:30 p.m.Westhampton Beach—Wednesday, 9/10, vs. East Hampton; Friday, 9/12, at Amityville, 4:15 p.m.; Monday, 9/15, vs. ESM, 4 p.m.

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