Following a 3-0 loss at Half Hollow Hills on Friday night, Eastport South Manor boys volleyball head coach Bruce Stiriz had seen enough of his team’s dismal offense. So, he went back to the drawing board.
On the bus ride to Nassau County the very next day, so his team could compete in the Plainview Tournament, Stiriz quickly showed his players his new blueprint on how to win and the initial results were encouraging.
The Sharks (8-4, 124.24 power points) blew past their competition en route to making the finals against host Plainview, which wound up winning the championship, 2-0, by scores of 25-20 and 25-17. ESM had split its match, 1-1, to Plainview, a Division I team, earlier in the day in pool play.
The Sharks—the only Suffolk County team entered in the tournament—had defeated Syosset and Jericho fairly easily, then took care of Bellmore/JFK in the semifinals before facing Plainview.
Stiriz did not offer specific details of his new system, but liked what he saw from his team and now thinks it is heading in the right direction. ESM is expected to be the top seed in the Suffolk County Division II playoffs when they begin this Monday, November 3. The Sharks will host the fourth seed of the bracket, which is expected to be either Sayville or Hauppauge, at 4 p.m. that day.
“To create and to institute a new system this late in the season is kind of like Russian roulette,” Stiriz said. “But Saturday’s tournament couldn’t have come at a better time. What better way to implement something? It’s just a tournament.
“We tried it and it worked very well,” he continued. “It’s definitely the spark they kind of needed and it definitely gives us more offense.”
ESM lost to Hills, a strong Division I team, 25-15, 25-22 and 25-23 on Friday. Josh Undari had 31 assists in the loss, while Kyle Allen Morabito led the team with 11 kills. Tyler Brandow finished with nine kills and Tom Ogeka had seven kills.
ESM defeated Huntington, 3-0, back on October 20. The Sharks took the sets 25-18, 25-22 and 27-25. Morabito led the offense again with seven kills. Brandow, Ogeka and John Porcelli each finished with five kills and Undari had 20 assists.
The Hurricanes suffered back-to-back 3-0 losses last week.
After falling at home to Commack on October 20—which ended the Hurricanes’ three-match winning streak—Westhampton Beach lost at Ward Melville last Thursday, October 23. Jeff Dalder had nine assists against Commack while Collin Carrieri finished with nine kills and three blocks. Steven Nolan recorded seven assists and an ace in the loss to Ward Melville. Tom Lambert had eight digs.
The Canes fell to 3-9 on the season, with 63.79 power points, following the two losses.