As one of Long Island's top volleyball players on a team that has won 31 consecutive matches, Bellmore JFK senior Gary Anderson is a bit of a perfectionist.
So even after a 3-0 road win over West Hempstead in Conference III Tuesday that showcased the outside hitter's ability to dig, set and hit exceptionally well, Anderson was left unsatisfied.
Latest HS sports stories
"It was a little bit less than OK, in my opinion," Anderson said. "Usually we play a lot better than this. It was a down game, all around. My sets were off at times. People weren't always talking. It wasn't up to our standards."
Anderson played a pretty complete game and finished with 20 kills, 14 assists and five blocks in the three-set match, which Bellmore JFK (7-0) won, 25-17, 25-20, 25-14.
Justin Feigeles added 13 kills and five aces, and Andrew Sheehan contributed in a big way with 30 assists and seven digs.
Sheehan, who often plays on the opposite side of Anderson and is therefore able to set him up with a bevy of passes, is a player who has emerged this year and is among one of the county's assist leaders, coach Dennis Ringel said.
"I grew about 4 inches and played constantly over the summer," said Sheehan, who is 6-foot. "But regarding the assist situation, setting up Gary is great because he's such big target."
Sheehan also sets up Feigeles, who is another key player that returned from last year's undefeated state Class B championship team.
The trio looked superb in the opening game, with Sheehan setting up Anderson, who mixed in a handful of soft-touches that befuddled West Hempstead, and Feigeles, whose power made balls seemingly unretrievable.
During the second game, behind the play of Darius Francis and Bryce Cohen, West Hempstead (2-3) gained some momentum and once cut the deficit to only two, with Bellmore JFK ahead, 19-17. Yet behind Feigeles' serves, Bellmore JFK went on a 6-1 run and later won the game, 25-20.
Despite winning the third game handily, Bellmore JFK was still left with a sense of dissatisfaction.
"We were completely complacent at times," Ringel said. "But it's tough to be disappointed because on a day-to-day basis they give so much effort and it was just little fundamental things that we can improve on from this point."
With a focus on perfecting the little things, Anderson believes the biggest goal, that of another state championship, is in reach.
"It's not that hard to live up to," Anderson said. "We do have some pressure on our shoulders being that we are state champions, and everyone wants to take us down, but I think we do a pretty good job living up to it."