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Girls volleyball week in review

Cameron Montalbano of Bellmore JFK dives to keep

Cameron Montalbano of Bellmore JFK dives to keep a ball in play during a Nassau A-I girls volleyball match against host South Side on Thursday. Credit: James Escher

Recapping the week of Oct. 7-13 in Long Island girls volleyball, including big performances, key wins, Newsday’s Top 10 and more.

(All records are results are through games of Sunday, Oct. 13.)

Sachem East surprises Commack

Stepping to the service line in the deciding fifth set against Commack — the defending Suffolk Class AA champion — freshman Alexa Cheskay proved the stage wasn’t too bright.

The first-year varsity player served 14 straight points (including eight aces), putting Sachem East in the driver’s seat for an eventual 3-2 win. By the time the run was over, Sachem East led 15-1.

“She’s just really difficult to pass,” coach Amanda Katz said. “Even in practice, my girls have a hard time.”

The defensive specialist was pulled up to varsity this year and has established herself as a consistent contributor. Her jump-float serve isn’t necessarily powerful, but it’s accurate and can get teams out of system.

“She’s good at ball placement,” Katz said. “She can put the ball wherever she wants. But she’s very fast. She doesn’t really wait. She doesn’t give the other team too much time to think about it. She comes at you quick.”

In a jumbled Suffolk League I that includes Commack (8-1), Ward Melville (6-3), Patchogue-Medford (6-3) and Longwood (5-6) all vying for playoff spots with Sachem East (6-3), the Arrows picked up a statement win with just three league matches remaining.

Don’t sleep on Manhasset

After an 0-4 start to the season, Manhasset has rebounded and put itself in the conversation as a top contender in Nassau Conference A-I.

The Indians dropped matches in September to Wantagh, Lynbrook, Long Beach and South Side before ending the month with wins against Bellmore JFK and Hewlett. They started October by beating Mineola and playing better against Wantagh in a 3-2 loss.

Then, Manhasset beat Lynbrook, 3-1 — as impressive a win in Nassau A-I as there has been this season.

Hanna Mildt (22 assists, 14 digs) continues to be a force at setter for Manhasset, which boasts an excellent defense led by Ava Paulucci (41 digs) and Ryan Tracy (27).

Offensively, Manhasset (4-5) spreads the ball around and can beat you in multiple places. The Indians are guaranteed a top-eight seed in the playoffs spot because of their membership in Nassau A-I. From there, they could make some noise.

Notable wins

- Cameron Montalbano took over the last two sets of Bellmore JFK’s 3-2 win over South Side in Nassau Conference A-I, finishing with 31 digs and 28 kills after he team trailed 2-1. Grace Angrisani had 43 assists.

- Nicolette Conserve had 32 assists as Malverne defeated Clarke, 3-2, in a matchup of two of the top teams in Nassau AA/B/C-III.

- Jenna Stockfede had 12 kills and six blocks to help Whitman overcome a two-set deficit to defeat Sachem East in non-league, 3-2. Annabelle Novinski had 46 assists.

- Westhampton battled back to force a fifth set, but Kings Park held on for a 3-2 win in Suffolk League VI. Liv Benard had 14 kills, and Arzu Duman had 12.

Top performers

- Kayley Ragazzini had 22 kills, 22 digs, four blocks and three aces in Hewlett’s 3-2 win over Long Beach in Nassau Conference A-I.

- Maya Smith had 15 aces in Valley Stream Central’s 3-2 win over Sewanhaka in Nassau Conference A-IV.

- Chloe Marquardt, quietly one of the top players in Suffolk League I, had 20 kills combined for Longwood in 3-0 sweeps of Floyd and Brentwood. Longwood (5-6) has key matches this week against Ward Melville and Patchogue-Medford with major playoff implications.

- Three stars led Ward Melville to a 3-2 win over Patchogue-Medford in Suffolk League I. Allie Sturgess had 26 digs and 24 kills, Molly Cronin had 36 digs and Caila Low had 30 assists.

- Leah Golbert had 28 kills and 18 digs in Smithtown East’s 3-2 non-league win over Ward Melville.

- Giuliana Abruscato had 30 assists in Hauppauge’s 3-2 win over Deer Park in Suffolk League V.

- Viki Harkin had 29 kills in Mattituck’s 3-2 non-league win over East Hampton.

Newsday’s Top 10

1. Connetquot (14-0)

2. Massapequa (10-0)

3. Wantagh (8-1)

4. Kings Park (8-0)

5. Smithtown West (9-2)

6. St. Anthony’s (7-0)

7. Glenn (9-0)

8. Lynbrook (7-2)

9. Kellenberg (8-2)

10. Commack (8-1)

On the cusp (alphabetical order): Centereach, Eastport-South Manor, South Side, Syosset, Westhampton

Games to watch


Bellport at Eastport-South Manor, 4:30 p.m.

Longwood at Ward Melville, 4 p.m.


Syosset at Seaford, 6 p.m.

Pierson/Bridgehampton at Mattituck, 4:30 p.m.


Mineola at Lynbrook, 6:15 p.m.

Wantagh at Bellmore JFK, 6:15 p.m.

Connetquot at Bay Shore, 5:45 p.m.


Patchogue-Medford at Longwood, 5:45 p.m.

Ward Melville at Commack, 4 p.m.

Hauppauge at Kings Park, 4:30 p.m.


Lynbrook at Bellmore JFK, 4 p.m.

Manhasset at South Side, 11:45 a.m.

Smithtown West tournament, 8 a.m.

Smithtown East tournament, 8 a.m.

Pierson tournament, 9 a.m.


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