Massapequa's Justine Abbate goes for the spike during the girls...

Massapequa's Justine Abbate goes for the spike during the girls Class AA final where Massapequa defeated Baldwin. (Nov. 11, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Ahead two games to none in the third game of Tuesday's Nassau Class AA girls volleyball championship, Massapequa (15-0) was looking to sweep its way to its 14th consecutive County title. But Baldwin would not go away.

Behind the serving of Jessica Pullis the Bruins jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the third game. Massapequa, sporting a young roster without the championship pedigree of its previous squads, beared down as head coach Carol Ann Habeeb called timeout to calm the nerves of her players.

“I told them, ‘We lost the first half of this game and it’s not a big deal',” Habeeb said. “We just needed to concentrate on winning the second half.”

Behind 12 kills from Justine Abbate, including four in the final game, Massapequa rebounded to win another county championship, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20.

“It was amazing how we bounced back,” Habeeb said. “It shows that mentally they’re tough.”

The Chiefs had faced early deficits in each of its previous playoff matches, trailing East Meadow 5-1 in the first game of the quarterfinals and falling behind to Farmingdale 6-0 in the opening game of the semifinals.

"People think that having a young team that’s inexperienced hurts a team like this but it can also help a team because they don’t know what it’s like and they’re very care free,” Habeeb said.

Massapequa has gotten contributions from a variety of young players this year, including freshman Jamie Smith, who had six kills in the championship game and sophomore middle Kole Pollock, who finished with five blocks and played great defense against Baldwin’s Loren McKenzie.

Mikayla Porr had 11 digs and helped lead the defense along with Laura Josephson.
Now this Massapequa team has a county championship under its belt and is looking for another Long Island title and the programs first state championship since 2007.

“Everything that happened prior to the playoffs is different for us,” Habeeb said. “It’s a different part of the season and I’ve tried to teach them that.”

One thing that has remained the same the past 14 seasons is Massapequa winning in the Nassau playoffs.

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