After losing two of the first three sets of Monday’s Suffolk Class B semifinal against East Hampton, the collective thought among the Hauppauge boys volleyball team was simple: We cannot lose this match.
“When a team loses energy that’s how they lose. When we lost those two sets . . . we lost our energy,” said Hauppauge middle hitter Lucas Shea. “But once we came back in the fourth set we got our energy back. We got our confidence back and that’s why we were able to finish it out in the fifth.”
Hauppauge is moving on to the finals after rallying to defeat East Hampton, 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-12).
“I said at the beginning, if we get the lead [in the fifth set] we are going to win. We just had to build up our momentum and we did,” said outside hitter Adam Gorgone, who led Hauppauge with 26 kills and six blocks.
The Eagles (8-7) had a tremendous amount of energy in the first set. But botched serves and a lack of communication between the team marred the next two sets.
“We needed to focus,” said setter Anthony Ferrara, who had 46 assists. “We needed to go back to the basic serves so we can get it over and let our defense take them out. We stayed positive and cheered each other on.”
The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle. East Hampton (7-8) took the lead twice but the final scores went to Hauppauge, which then dominated the fifth set. The Eagles never trailed in the deciding set, with Shea serving strongly and middle hitter Nicholas Crociata blocking and returning the ball ferociously.
“I’ve always been taught to be competitive. The competitive one gets the edge,” Crociata said. “And that’s why I stepped up.”
Crociata had 18 kills and nine blocks. Shea had 11 kills and Hauppauge will play Eastport-South Manor (14-2) in the Class B final at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.
The defending champions aren’t worried.
Said Crociata, “We can handle the pressure, as seen today.”