Lindenhurst didn't get off to the best start in Thursday's League II girls volleyball match at Connetquot.
The Bulldogs were making mistakes early, hitting balls long or into the net, and found themselves down 9-3 in the first game, causing coach Kellie Block to call timeout. Block said she hoped her team would look to its leaders to settle the group down, and that's exactly what they did.
Setter/outside hitter Emily Clemens and outside hitter Rachel Ramirez combined for nine kills in the first game, leading a Lindenhurst surge that resulted in a 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 victory over Connetquot.
"I think everyone worked well," Clemens said. "My job is to pick everyone up and make sure we're working hard and doing what we're supposed to be doing and we had to pick it up but we knew we were going to get there."
Said Block: "[Clemens] decided to be a leader and put the team under her wing and got them going . . . My setter Leanne Casella did a great job and [Ramirez] had some really nice swings."
Lindenhurst (2-0) took its first lead of the first game at 14-13, but eventually it was tied at 20. A kill apiece for Ramirez (11) and Clemens (18) and a lefthanded spike from right hitter Nicole Leitke fueled the Bulldogs' 5-1 run to close the game.
"[Ramirez] is one of my key players, she hits the ball well, she passes well, she's strong," Block said. "She and [Clemens] are the reason we are who we are."
In the second, Lindenhurst led the entire way but again found itself in a tight game late, leading 21-19. After a Clemens kill made it 22-19 and a Connetquot error pushed the lead to four, sophomore middle hitter Briana Koehler came up with a key block to make it 24-19, and another Leitke spike sealed the game.
For Connetquot (0-2, 0-1), seventh-grade libero Mackenzie Cole had 19 digs and setter Olivia Schoeller had 15 assists.