The Chaminade boy’s volleyball team was up 6-2 at the start of the third set when the lights went out in the Pratt Recreation Center gymnasium at LIU Post during the NSCHSAA championship Monday.
Human error caused the blackout, but if a Super Bowl-caliber team can be distracted by such a disturbance, undefeated Chaminade likely would not be exempt. Except they were.
No. 1 Chaminade won that set, fell in the fourth and won it all in the fifth, making the Flyers NSCHSAA champions for the second year in a row with a 22-25, 25-22, 25-11, 20-25, 25-16 win over No. 2 St. Francis Prep.
“The lights going out was a truly unique experience,” Shawn Connell said. “We didn’t have the greatest first set and we had an OK second set. We got a chance to regroup and really kill it in the third . . . ”
Lights aside, the win wasn’t easy. The Flyers got off to a great start in the first set but St. Francis was relentless. A few bad plays and a lack of communication by the Flyers gave the Terriers the first set.
The second set was similar with pressure coming from both sides. Chaminade’s James Butler, who had 10 kills, hit a soft ball over the net to seal the win and tie the match at a set apiece.
The third set was a breeze when the lamps reignited. The fire remained fueled at the start of the fourth set as well, but again St. Francis came back with a vengeance to tie the match. It came down to the final set.
“It’s all about having faith in your team,” said the Flyers’ Nicholas Aubrey, who had 15 kills. “On the court, we weren’t nervous. We always come through in situations like this. We just had to continue doing what we were doing.”
In the fifth set, Chaminade took the lead and maintained it. Brain Noble had 51 assists for the match, Butler had 10 kills and J.T. Murphy had eight.
Tournament MVP J.P. Lynch had 18 kills for the Flyers.
“I’d like to shout out to St. Francis Prep,” Lynch said. “It’s been fun playing them all year . . . Two years in a row winning this . . . I’m just happy for the team. This was our end goal and we achieved it.”