The Chrises of Massapequa are brethren on the front lines, close friends off the court and, Tuesday at Long Beach, temporary answers to that Class A boys volleyball conundrum: Who can stop Nick Smith?
Chris Husmann, the Chiefs' middle blocker, and Christian Smith, the setter, helmed the Massapequa defense as it contained Long Beach (4-3) and its explosive outside hitter for a 3-0 victory in the Conference I/II Crossover. With the win, the Chiefs (8-0) continue their unbeaten streak. Massapequa has yet to drop a game this year.
"We really tried to key in on [Smith]," Christian Smith said. "We stayed on him and double- and triple-blocked him."
Indeed, the two, sometimes joined by outside hitter Jesse Finkel, were close to impenetrable when in the front row - most blocks capped with a high-five or a chest bump. Husmann had five blocks in the game, and Smith had two. Massapequa took the match with relative ease, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16.
While the three, along with libero Vinny DelGiudice, stifled the Marines, Christian Smith's brother, Brian, managed the well-balanced attack. Brian led the way with 10 kills and 27 assists, and Christian had nine kills and six aces.
Using the high-powered jump serve that both Christian and Husmann worked on in their Huntington-based club gym, LIVBC, the two effectively stymied a late-match Long Beach comeback.
Down two games to none, the Marines took an 11-9 lead in Game 3 on three kills by Nick Smith and three blocks and a kill by Andreas Butte. After a Marine fault cut the lead to 11-10, Husmann followed up with two aces in the next three serves to pull Massapequa ahead. Long Beach tied it again at 13, but the Chiefs scored the next six points, including two aces by Christian Smith to put the game out of reach. "You're above the net when you serve," Smith said of the high-flying attack that left Long Beach scrambling on the other side. "That," he said, smiling, "came from club."
With that regroup, the Chiefs retain perfection going into a highly touted match against Plainview JFK Thursday.
"The boys are working really hard in practice," coach Steve Mariano said. "We're working to fix every little thing that's wrong."
The streak is nice, Smith said, but not necessary. "It's in our minds," he said. "But when [Long Beach was coming back], all I was thinking about was the next point."