Whether she’s setting up a teammate, diving on the court for a dig, getting the kill herself or just standing on the court watching her teammates take control of the possession, Brooke Berroyer’s the unquestioned emotional leader for Smithtown East.
The raw emotion on her face after each point tells the story. It’s a rare mix of jubilation, determination and adrenaline.
“I put my heart into every play and I know my teammates are going to have my back no matter what,” Berroyer said, “so I’m not afraid to make a mistake.”
The mistakes were few and far apart as host No. 2 Smithtown East defeated No. 3 Ward Melville, 25-20, 25-12, 25-23, in a girls volleyball Suffolk AA semifinal Monday.
Berroyer, a junior setter, consistently found her teammates with 28 assists and scored the final point in all three sets.
“Best athlete on the court. Just phenomenal,” coach George Alamia said. “She’s all over the place. She’s got so much confidence.”
Smithtown East (14-1) and Ward Melville played an even first 28 points to tie it at 14 until the Bulls scored 11 of the first set’s final 17 points in the 25-20 win. The Bulls’ depth shined in the second set, receiving contributions from players like Jill Pesce, Deanna Downs, Paige Truncale, Delaney Ackerman, Felicity Hoffert, Jaclyn Mara, Morgan Catalonatto and Steph Berdon in a dominating 25-12 second-set victory.
And all those options makes it that much more fun for Berroyer.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “There’s so much talent everywhere you look. We have Haley Anderson, who is one of the best players in the county, and being able to assist her every time is great.”
Berroyer’s favorite target was Anderson, who finished with 14 kills and 14 digs.
But Ward Melville (13-4) wasn’t going away easy in the third set, led by key kills by Lara Atalay and Olivia Hynes. In a back-and-forth set, Berdon provided pivotal points, finishing the match with 10 kills and four blocks.
“We wanted to end it so bad. We just wanted to finish it,” Berdon said. “It was a good match. Ward Melville is a good team and we definitely worked so hard to get where we are.”
Which leads to a showdown against No. 1 Connetquot (18-0) in the Suffolk AA championship at Suffolk County Community College — Brentwood Thursday at 8 p.m. in a rematch of the 2014 final, which Connetquot won, 3-1.
Smithtown East was the only team to defeat Connetquot in a set this regular season but lost 3-1.
“When I was in 10th grade, we played them in Counties and lost so we’ve kind of have that fire in our backs to try to win that game,” Anderson said. “We just have to keep our composure. They’re a good team so we have to work hard.”