Plainedge could not have opened its season any better.
The Lady Red Devils were dominant at times but also proved they could withstand a desperate rally from the opposition Thursday as they swept their first Conference A-II match of the year at Floral Park, 25-11, 25-14, 25-21.
"We were good at passing and good at hitting and we started off pretty well," junior middle hitter Lisa Maybie said. "I think it really doesn't depend on what the score is but how we play the first two games is how we'll be able to play the third."
Plainedge led 16-11 in Game 1 when junior setter Nicole Francisco served nine consecutive points to close it out as Maybie spiked home the final point at the net. The Lady Red Devils were in total control in the second, jumping to an 8-1 lead that was quickly extended to 18-4 with outside hitter Erin Green tallying three of her four kills. Floral Park came as close as 22-14, but a Maybie service ace sealed the game to put Plainedge ahead 2-0.
Junior outside hitter Gabby Baimas took over in the third with three crucial kills -- breaking a tie at 12, strengthening Plainedge's lead to 18-14, and essentially putting the match away at 21-14 to give the Lady Red Devils their largest lead of the game.
Maybie led Plainedge with seven kills and Francisco had 12 assists and five aces. Maybie and fellow freshman middle hitter Devon Hagerstrom also added three blocks, impressing coach Danielle Furka.
"My middles really came through in this game," Furka said. "We dominated at the net and they surprised me with their hits."
For Floral Park, the loss opened its first season in Conference A after finishing as the runner-up to Seaford in Conference B. "We were a top B team and played there for the last five years and now this is A with a larger pool and tougher competition," coach Kathy Crowly said. "We're going to work on setting the ball and really hitting it harder but [Plainedge] had some excellent hitters and an excellent libero, so I thought we did OK."