Morgan Reese of Sayville poses for a portrait prior to...

Morgan Reese of Sayville poses for a portrait prior to a Suffolk Class A volleyball first round playoff game on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Sayville. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Whenever the Sayville girls volleyball team is in action, most eyes go right to Morgan Reese and for good reason.

The 6-1 outside hitter demands attention with her athleticism as well as her power striking a volleyball.

But the sophomore remembers a time when hitting a ball wasn’t so easy as a fourth grader for the St. Lawrence (Sayville) CYO team.

"I pretty much served underhand in fourth grade," said Reese with a chuckle. "I finally could overhand serve in fifth grade and took off from there."

Indeed. Reese, Newsday’s Athlete of the Week, is one of the top players on Long Island, and she still has two more varsity seasons remaining.

She has helped top-seeded and League IV champ Sayville advance to the Suffolk Class A final. The Golden Flashes meet No. 2 Kings Park at Hauppauge Friday at 5 p.m.

Reese has 426 kills, 179 digs, 80 aces and 13 blocks this season according to statistics from coach Debra Urso.

Outside hitter, Morgan Reese, of Sayville spikes the ball during...

Outside hitter, Morgan Reese, of Sayville spikes the ball during a Suffolk Class A volleyball first round playoff game on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Sayville. Credit: Dawn McCormick

The 14-year-old had 25 kills and nine digs in a first-round win against Eastport-South Manor on Wednesday. She added 28 kills and nine digs in a victory on Friday against East Islip in a semifinal match.

"Morgan is one of the most dynamic players in the gym," Urso said, "and she is humble enough to understand that she can’t do any of that without the rest of her team."

Reese, who also plays for Academy Volleyball, has a great team at home, too. Both of her parents played collegiate sports at Quinnipiac University. Her mother, Suzanne, was a cross country runner, and her father, Gavin, played basketball.

One of the favorite things that Urso experiences with Reese is when opposing fans ask where Reese is going to college next year.

"I smile and say, 'We have her for two more years,’ " Urso said. "She plays like she’s a senior."

Reese added: "People are usually shocked that I’m so young."

So, where will Reese play volleyball at the next level?

"One never knows where she will end up, but her drive and dedication to the sport of volleyball can take her very far," Urso said. "She will end up right where she belongs playing her highest level of volleyball."

Reese, who has a 3.8 GPA, plans on studying human biology wherever she goes to college, and "wants to play professional volleyball or coach a college team."

"I have really high goals so I don’t mind working super hard," she continued. "If I work hard, all teammates will, too, and that will make us a better team. . . . I just love being in the gym, working hard and giving it my all."

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