For the second straight year, the Pierson girls volleyball team is in the county final, thanks to a 3-1 win over Mercy at home on November 1 in the Suffolk County Class C semifinals.
It also marked the second straight year that the Lady Whalers defeated Mercy in the semis, a win that set up a rematch and chance for revenge against defending county champion Stony Brook. The Lady Bears rallied from a 2-0 deficit last year to defeat Pierson for the county crown.
The teams were set to face off on Tuesday, November 7. (For results, go to 27east.com).
In the win over Mercy, Leigh Hatfield sent a booming kill down on the court in the clinching fourth set that the Lady Whalers won, 25-21. Pierson, led by strong serving from eighth-grader Sofia Mancino, toppled Mercy in the first set, 25-6, but the Lady Monarchs came back to win the second set, 25-23. The Lady Whalers rebounded to take the third set, 25-15, before going on to win the match in the fourth set.
Junior Celia Barranco’s strong serving helped Pierson, especially late in the match; she served 18 times with three aces. Mancino served the ball 16 times with five aces. Freshman Gylia Dryden had four blocks and junior Hannah Tuma had a pair of kills and a pair of blocks. Hatfield served three aces in 12 serves and had seven kills in 10 attacks.
“It felt amazing, especially when all of my team was so proud of me,” Hatfield said of her match-winning kill. “I was expecting us to win because we’ve been practicing so hard the past week. It’s been insane, and I really think, and hope, we can win on Tuesday.”