Chris Allen has had a number of memorable nights during his four years as a varsity volleyball player, but the Ward Melville senior said Thursday night was extra special.
Allen had 14 kills and four blocks in his final match in his home gym to lead Ward Melville to a straight-set win over Half Hollow Hills in a Suffolk I contest. Fellow senior Tim Specht added 13 kills and junior Matt Lilley added three aces for the Patriots, who won, 25-19, 26-24, 25-12.
"This is a great way to leave this gym. It was a lot fun," Allen said.
"He's just phenomenal," Ward Melville coach Chris Holden said of Allen. "He's the easiest kid to coach. He listens to everything you say and he's a tremendous talent. He makes everyone on the team better around him."
In addition to Allen and Specht's contributions, fellow senior starters Alex Prince and Matt Mulham added five kills and five digs, respectively.
"They've been awesome," Holden said of his senior class. "They love going out and helping one another on the court and off the court. I couldn't ask for a better class of seniors."
That veteran leadership proved to be especially useful during the second set. Ward Melville (9-3) won the first set comfortably, and looked to be on pace to do the same in the second, as it jumped out to a 20-8 lead.
Half Hollow Hills (7-8) responded by winning nine straight points as part of a 16-2 run that made it 24-22 before Ward Melville regrouped and won the set's final four points.
"My captains called the team together, and regained that sense of urgency and we knew we could come back and win," Holden said.
"That's how we're going to win. It's up to us as the Big Three," Specht said of his co-captains.
"We just had to bring it, calm everyone down, back up, and come back," Lilley said.
After the second-set win, Ward Melville controlled the third set from start to finish, clinching the victory on Senior Night.
"It's been an honor to play varsity volleyball for four years," Allen said, "and it's been an honor to be a part of this team."