Regardless of what the scoreboard reads at the time, Wheatley is always in great position with Irene Lountzis taking the serve.
Wheatley trailed by five points late in the second set before Lountzis, a libero, started a streak of eight straight serves, leading the No. 2 Wildcats to a second-set victory in its 26-24, 25-22, 25-19 win over No. 1 Seaford in the Nassau Class B girls volleyball championship at SUNY Old Westbury on Thursday.
“It is the most amazing feeling in the world,” Lountzis said. “I can’t even explain it. It just brings the whole team up.”
Wheatley (17-1) won its second title in three seasons and will play Glenn (13-1) in the Long Island Class B championship/Southeast regional final at Suffolk County Community College at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“I did it in my sophomore year, too, so honestly, the only thing I wanted to do this season was to finish it off like I did my sophomore year,” said senior Jessica Hastings, who had five kills and four digs. “It’s my senior year here, so my goal was achieved tonight.”
Seaford (15-2) nearly pulled off a first-set comeback, trailing 22-17 before tying the score at 24. But Wheatley pulled together at the end, including one of Sofia Greenfield’s 10 kills, for the victory.
“Shows the resilience, battling adversity, just taking it one play at a time,” coach Tom Greeley said. “We got to kind of chip our way back into the game and finish it, thankfully.”
After Lountzis led the victory in the second set, Wheatley swept the match, just as the players hoped.
“We played them twice in the season and our second time we lost so we kind of took that motivation to push us to beat them,” Hastings said. “They beat us in three so we wanted to beat them in three.”
The Wildcats received contributions from nearly the entire team, including Jamie Ryan (18 assists, three aces) and Greenfield, who had four blocks to go with her 10 kills. Mary Ma also was a factor with a strong performance in the middle.
And with Lountzis sparking the defense with her digs, starting the offense with a serve or even finishing with a kill, Wheatley has confidence.
“She’s an unbelievable player,” Greeley said. “She’s a ballhawk. She really just wants the ball all the time and really takes charge of the back row. Her serve has come so far and she works incredibly hard at it and she had a nice touch on the ball and that really helped us.”