ESM, Hampton Bays Girls Volleyball Teams Clinch Playoff Spots

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After a 25-22 victory in the third set on October 8, the host Westhampton Beach girls volleyball team did something that no other team has done yet this season—take two sets from undefeated East Hampton. The Lady Hurricanes needed one more set to win the match, though, and that was a whole different story.

East Hampton came back and won the final two sets, 25-16, 25-22, to come back and defeat Westhampton Beach 3-2 and cling to its undefeated record. Westhampton Beach (5-3 League VI, 9-3 overall) rebounded after the loss with a 3-0 victory at Amityville the next day.

Westhampton Beach head coach Lenny Zaloga said he expected a tightly contested match with East Hampton after his team lost 3-1 to the Lady Bonackers in the season opener on September 12. At that point, before losing one at Sayville on September 24, it was the only time the Lady Bonackers had lost a set.

“It was a great match,” Zaloga said. “We had been getting better and better. I thought it could have gone either way and they won by three points in the final set. It was fun, it was exciting. I think everyone enjoyed watching it.”

East Hampton won the first set 25-17, but Westhampton Beach rebounded nicely with a 25-18 victory in the second set. After the Lady Hurricanes victory in the third set, the boisterous home crowd was looking for a big victory over East Hampton. The Lady Bonackers made quick work of the Lady Canes in the fourth set, though, before hanging on to win the fifth and final set.

“We’re still playing a lot of sophomores,” Zaloga explained. “They’re still learning how to play but they are very good sophomores. East Hampton probably has a little bit of experience over us, but either team could have won.”

Sarah Culver, a junior, led Westhampton Beach with 17 kills and 18 digs while senior Brenna Hogan had 13 kills. Junior Lauren Lorefice had 24 assists and 13 digs while senior Alexa Smith had 44 digs. Arianna Brierton, a sophomore, had 22 digs, senior Morgan Tiska had eight kills, sophomore Shea Casey had 13 assists and sophomore Sunny Foglia had three blocks.

Westhampton Beach defeated Amityville last week by scores of 25-15, 25-17, 25-18. Stats were not available for the match.

The Lady Hurricanes need one more victory to reach the Suffolk County Class A playoffs. Last season was just the third time under Zaloga, who has been coaching since 1985, that the team missed out on making the playoffs.

Lady Baymen Defeat Babylon

Down 2-0 at Babylon on October 9, the Hampton Bays girls volleyball team looked as if it was going to have to wait another game to clinch a spot in the Suffolk County Class B playoffs. The Lady Baymen stormed back, however, and won 3-2, marking the fifth straight season they have made the postseason.

Babylon took the first two sets 26-24, 25-22, but then Hampton Bays won 25-18, 25-17, 25-20, to take the match. Hampton Bays (6-2 League VII, 7-3 overall) had defeated Babylon, 3-0, on September 17 and head coach Andy Fotopoulos said there were a few factors that led to the five-set victory. One was that the team simply does not have one go-to player to get a kill—instead, it is more defensive oriented. The other reason is that Fotopoulos called up sophomore Reiss Lovett to play setter so he could have the flexibility with his daughter, Alexis Fotopoulos, another sophomore, and move her around the court. Coach Fotopoulos thought it took a few sets for his team to get used to the new rotation.

“We also had an hour and 15 minute bus ride there so we started off a little slow,” he said.

Jean Louise Catena had 36 digs while Alexis Fotopoulos had 16 digs. In terms of offense, junior Alex Maitland-Ward had 16 kills, but there was a clear drop-off from there. Samantha Pace, another junior, had eight kills, then two other players had three and two kills, respectively.

Fotopoulos thinks his team will be the fourth seed in the Class B playoffs, which begin on Thursday, October 31, and will play the fifth seed, which could be Mount Sinai. Either way, he is confident his team will be hosting a playoff game for the first time in three years and will avoid powerhouses Elwood/John Glenn and East Hampton. The Lady Baymen had to play at Glenn in the opening round the past two postseasons and lost in three straight sets.

ESM Beats Rocky Point, Loses To Kings Park

The Eastport South Manor girls volleyball team won, 3-2, at Rocky Point on October 11 to clinch a berth into the Suffolk County Class A playoffs. The Lady Sharks have made the playoffs every year since 1999.

ESM did lose, 3-0, at home to Kings Park on Friday.

ESM (6-2 League V, 6-4 overall) lost the first set at Rocky Point last week, 31-29, but then rebounded from that long game with back-to-back 25-18 victories. The Lady Eagles won the fourth set, 25-23, but ESM won the final set 25-18. ESM had defeated Rocky Point at home, 3-1, earlier this season.

“We are pretty evenly matched,” ESM head coach Don Consorte said. “It took a little while to get going but we finally got there.”

Senior Morgan Johnson led the team with 15 kills, senior Brittany Little had 11 kills and junior Kristen Bohnenblusch had seven kills. Nikki Illuzzi, a senior, had 40 assists and eight aces. Senior Heather Watson had 21 digs while Johnson, Illuzzi, and senior Sarah Mulligan all had 17 digs each.

Kings Park appears poised to win the League V title this season and it was evident in its 26-24, 25-9, 25-12, victory over the Lady Sharks last week. ESM was actually leading Kings Park, 24-21, in the first set, but after a service error by ESM, the Lady Kingsmen came back and won. That led to some poor play on ESM’s part the rest of the match.

“They should be able to see that they can play with a team like Kings Park, but inevitably, they have to play tougher even when they lose,” Consorte explained. “They let that first one deflate them too much.”

ON THE SCHEDULE: Westhampton Beach—Friday, 10/18, vs. Mount Sinai, 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 10/22, at Miller Place, 4 p.m.
Hampton Bays—Thursday, 10/17, at Center Moriches, 3:45 p.m.; Monday, 10/21, vs. Shoreham/Wading River, 4 pm.
ESM—Thursday, 10/17, at Comesewogue, 5:45 p.m. ; Monday, 10/21, vs. Huntington, 5:45 p.m.

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