No lead was safe against Kings Park's girls volleyball team Wednesday.
Kings Park (6-1) defeated host Westhampton (4-1) in three sets, 25-23, 28-26, 25-22, after losing to the Hurricanes on Sept. 9.
The teams met last season in the Class A Suffolk championship game, won by Kings Park. Both played like championship-caliber teams this time.
Westhampton came out firing in the opening set, leading 3-0. Kings Park took a 4-3 edge but it would not lead again until 21-20. That's when Jaclyn Wilton took over. She recorded two kills in the final moments to seal the opening game. This would be a recurring theme for Wilton, who finished the match with 15 kills on 39 attempts.
"When we need kills, I tell Steph [Cornwell] to get the ball to Jaclyn,'' coach Ed Manly said of his setter, who had 32 assists.
Westhampton had a 4-0 lead in the second set before Kings Park climbed back and took its first lead at 10-9 after Lauren Kloos recorded three kills during a six-point stretch. She totaled 11 kills on 34 attempts.
Kings Park was a point away from losing, at 24-23, until Wilton outdid her earlier clutch performance. She scored her team's final five points to secure a 28-26 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Another 4-0 deficit threatened Kings Park in the third, but Kloos and Erika Benson sparked a comeback. The lead switched hands until Tara Carlin, who had three kills, recorded the final point to seal the 3-0 victory.
The Westhampton attack, led by Sarena Choi, Camryn Bancroft and Arianna Brierton, was strong throughout, but Kings Park libero Meagan Murphy was crucial in preventing points, coming up with 24 digs.
Despite constant pressure, Wilton said her confidence never wavered.
"In every game, I had a feeling in me that we were going to win,'' she said. "We have a lot more mental toughness now . We really wanted this win.''
Manly was not surprised to see his team prevail.
"They believe everything will be OK until the bitter end, unless a team scores 25 points on them,'' Manly said. "They hang out with each other on the weekends. They don't need a break from each other. When you get into tightly contested sets like that, that helps immensely.''