Isabella Imbo swung crosscourt and pummeled a ball away from the defense, putting the finishing touches on another chapter of what has been a storybook season for the Bayport-Blue Point girls volleyball team.
A rush of shock and disbelief hit the Phantoms after finishing a 25-15, 25-19, 24-26, 25-22 win over Seaford in the Long Island Class B Championship at SUNY-Old Westbury yesterday.
“They always say, it’s the team you don’t expect to do something like this,” said coach Toni Mulgrave, who danced with her players as they celebrated. “We lost some big players in the last few years, and no one knew what this year was going to bring.”
What it brought was the top seed in the Suffolk B playoffs and a run to the state semifinals in Glens Falls next Saturday.
Setters Imbo and Lauren Wilke were dynamic, distributing the ball to each other and teammates and running a fluid offense in the process.
Imbo, a sophomore, had 18 assists and 12 kills. Wilke, a senior, had 24 assists and 13 kills. When they weren’t assisting each other, they were busy finding Abby Auwaerter (12 kills), Cathleen Farrell (five) and others.
The Phantoms started the first game on a roll, leading by as much as 10 at 17-7. Outside of a competitive loss in the third game, Bayport-Blue Point (14-1) was in control.
“We always talk about how we start strong and end stronger,” Imbo said.
It was Mulgrave and the Phantoms’ first experience in the Long Island championship. After beating Glenn, who had won 16 straight Suffolk B titles, in the previous match, they were in uncharted territory. Mulgrave kept them grounded.
“She just told us that it’s going to be a new experience and we have to take it on and be ready for anything,” Wilke said.
Mulgrave said her message would be the same next Saturday as the Phantoms look to write another chapter in the story of their season.