Bellmore JFK’s most important match so far this season ended in appropriate fashion: with Josh Levine teeing up Owen Bradley, who put the ball down with authority.
Levine had 39 assists and Bradley had 16 kills to lead the Cougars past host West Hempstead Thursday in Nassau B-I volleyball. Tyler Anderson added 18 kills for Bellmore JFK (9-3), which won, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24, 27-25.
“Have to thank our defense and our back row players. I got a great pass and that opened things up for Owen, who was ready to put it down,” Levine said of the final point of the match. “No one’s stopping him out there.
“The first time we played them, we lost, so this game has been circled for a long time. With so much on the line, we thought we could make a statement.”
Seiji Clark (34 assists) and Zion Spruill (12 kills) led West Hempstead (8-2).
“Josh has become one of the premier setters in the county,” Bellmore JFK coach Dennis Ringel said. “He makes the whole thing run and Owen has won just about every battle in the middle that he’s had.” Ringel said the 6-foot Bradley uses his speed, quickness and awareness to get an edge over taller middle hitters.
“He basically reads my mind and I read his,” Bradley said of Levine. “I know what he’s doing and he knows what I want to do. He runs this whole offense, and that’s why we win games.”
The Cougars also got a boost from Garrett Krassner, who had five aces, Jeff Lowell (22 digs) and Josh Kaplan (three aces). Steve Carlson (11 kills) and Jordan Kappel (seven kills) rounded out the scoring.
After kills by Carlson and Anderson closed out a tight third set, the fourth began like the three sets that preceded it, with little separating the sides. Even after Bellmore JFK used a 6-2 run to open up an 18-13 lead, West Hempstead went on a 6-1 run of its own to tie it before taking a 24-23 lead.
From there, a big kill from Bradley fought off set point, and two points later, Levine set up Kappel to give the Cougars a 26-25 lead before doing the same for Bradley at match point.
“We have our captains setting the tone and that means a lot,” Anderson said. “Today was huge.”