Newsday Player of the Year: Sally Tietjen, Smithtown West, OH, Sr.
Tietjen found herself in the most helpless position possible for an athlete in the gymnasium in the 2019 girls volleyball Suffolk Class AA championships — the sideline. This year, she was in a position of power.
Tietjen missed the majority of the 2019 season with what Smithtown West coach Deron Brown described as a "devastating" dislocated ankle at a tournament early in the season. But after a tough rehabilitation period, Tietjen returned to the court this season for the Bulls.
And it’s almost as if the Smithtown West senior was building toward her final high school match. Tietjen had 19 kills with an impressive 48.3% kill efficiency with eight digs and three aces as Smithtown West defeated Connetquot in four sets in the Suffolk Class AA final.
"Without a doubt, that was by far the best match I’ve ever seen her play," Brown said. "She was on fire from everywhere. She was just unbelievable."
Tietjen, who had a strong senior season capped by her championship performance, is Newsday’s girls volleyball player of the year. The five-year varsity player had 179 kills, 120 digs and 57 aces as Smithtown West finished the season 19-0.
"She is a complete player," Brown said. "There is no weakness in her game. She serves well, blocks well, she attacks well, plays great defense. But all that stuff you can look at the numbers and that will prove it. It’s the intangibles that she really, really excels at."
Tietjen will play at Marist next fall. She had 1,029 kills, 695 digs and 208 aces in her varsity tenure. But it’s the images from Tietjen’s final varsity game that will always stick with Brown
"To be able to finish her career on top and in the fashion that she did it — she really dominated in her last match, she was unstoppable that day," Brown said. "And it didn’t look like anything was going to get in her way."
Liv Benard, Kings Park, MB, Sr.
Kings Park coach Luis Sepulveda knows he can always count on Benard to be at her best in the biggest part of the season. Just look at this year for proof. Benard had eight kills and six blocks as Kings Park won its 10th straight Suffolk Class A title. Benard finished with a 42% hit efficiency, 53.5 kill percentage with 122 kills and 22 aces in a shortened season.
Natalie Billet, Commack, OH, Sr.
She had 241 kills and 30 kills, despite missing multiple games this season. She had 25 kills and four digs against a strong Connetquot squad in the playoffs and will play at Springfield College.
Sophia DeBonis, Bay Shore, S, Soph.
If you’re looking for a kill, DeBonis is one of your best feeders. She had 427 assists and 255 digs for an 11-win Bay Shore team that took eventual champion Smithtown West to five sets in the playoffs.
Samantha Green, Mepham, S/OH, Sr.
Green, who is committed to play beach volleyball at Tulane, had 117 kills and 145 digs this spring. Green has been a tough matchup on the service line with 268 aces. She also had 349 kills and 715 assists.
Alessandra Heimbauer, Massapequa, OH, Jr.
She had 172 kills,106 digs and 24 aces in 12 games for the Nassau Class AA champions.
Camryn Hoffman, South Side, Libero, Jr.
She had 260 digs and is one of the most aggressive players on the defensive side of the court.
Carly Kane, Kellenberg, MH, Sr.
She had 86 kills, 15 blocks, 10 aces and 39 digs in 10 games for Kellenberg. Her athleticism shined in the middle of the court throughout the season.
Cameron Montalbano, Bellmore JFK, OH, Sr.
She had 213 kills, and 96 digs for an 11-win Bellmore JFK team. Montalbano also had 40 aces, 11 blocks and seven assists this season.
Kylie Wixted, Connetquot, M, Sr.
The Connetquot senior had 184 kills and 63 blocks for the T-Birds. She added 37 aces and 24 digs and was a major presence at the net for Connetquot.
Coach of the Year: Deron Brown, Smithtown West
He guided the Bulls to a 19-0 record and Suffolk Class AA championship.
The Second Team
Maddie Gamberg, South Side, MD, Sr.
Megan Kirtyan, Massapequa, S, Jr.
Carley McAleavey, Smithtown West, M/OH, Jr.
Hannah Naja, Smithtown West, OH, Sr.
Maggie Neiland, Whitman, L, Sr.
Maggie O’Flynn, St. Anthony’s, OH, Sr.
Shannon Sullivan, Wantagh, OH, Sr.
Kasey Tietjen, Smithtown West, OH, Sr.
Maeve Voltz, Bay Shore, MH, Jr.
Julia Zalta, Great Neck North, OH/S, Sr.