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Haley Holmes helps Kings Park defeat South Side in straight sets

Haley Holmes talked about her teammates after the Kings Park girls volleyball team defeated South Side, 3-0, in the Long Island Class A championship at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (Credit: Newsday / Kenny DeJohn)

Some players serve just to get it over the net. But when Haley Holmes is on the service line, the Kings Park girls volleyball team is looking to score.

Holmes had six aces and 31 assists in Saturday’s 25-15, 25-13, 25-16 win over South Side in the Long Island Class A championship at SCCC-Brentwood, lifting the Kingsmen to a seventh straight appearance in the state tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

“It’s a floaty type serve, so as it gets over the net it has some funky action to it,” coach Ed Manly said of Holmes’ serve. “That definitely makes it harder to pass for the serve receivers.”

The knuckleball-like action Holmes gets can be a nightmare for defenders to return, wreaking havoc with their transition to offense. She showed that during a 6-0 run in the second set in which she had two aces.

“It moves back and forth a lot,” said libero Meagan Murphy, who had 14 digs and had little problem returning the serves of South Side (14-4). “It’s really hard to pass.”

Murphy’s passing helped Holmes set up Erika Benson (10 kills), Lexi Petraitis (eight), Kara Haase (three) and Samantha Schultz (three). And although Kings Park beat South Side somewhat handily, Manly wasn’t thrilled with an offense that resorted to rolling the ball over the net instead of swinging aggressively.

“I think sometimes in the flow of a match, there’s ebbs and flows, and sometimes you just get into some bad moments,” Manly said. “When we’re aggressive on offense is when we play some of our best volleyball.”

That’s something to work on this week before heading to Glens Falls, where defending champion Walter Panas is still viewed as the favorite. Kings Park lost in last year’s state final after making it there for the first time in program history.

The undefeated Panas plays Sunday in a regional final to determine if it will advance.

“We’re really excited to go up there, and we know we can actually do it,” Murphy said. “We’ve been looking at [Walter] Panas, and we really think we can beat them and all the rest of the teams up there.”

Kings Park (20-0) is a team that continually puts forth well-balanced efforts, enjoying contributions from nearly everyone in the starting lineup. It all runs through Holmes, though, and her wonky serve is just another weapon in the Kingsmen’s arsenal.

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