Josh Levine and Owen Bradley were the main characters in the latest chapter of Bellmore JFK’s boys volleyball dynasty.
Levine had 47 assists and Bradley had 16 kills to lead the No. 1 Cougars to a four-set win over No. 3 Jericho in the Nassau Class B championship Thursday at SUNY-Old Westbury. Bellmore JFK won 17-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 to claim its second straight county title and seventh in the last nine years. The Cougars will play Eastport-South Manor at noon Saturday at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood for the Long Island championship.
“My four years in this program have been a pleasure,” said Levine, who was named tournament MVP. “Last year, we were carried some by the seniors, Mike Ianniello, Jonah Zeitlin and Harrison Ivers, and losing them this year hurt a lot. But myself and Owen, knowing what we had to do, plus some young guys working hard got us here today.”
“It was a year that we returned four total seniors, and so I knew it would be a building process,” said coach Dennis Ringel, but he added that “a couple of core parts” — namely Levine and Bradley — helped ease the transition. “It hasn’t always been a smooth road but in the end, they preserved.”
This seemed to be the case on Thursday, as the Cougars (15-5) struggled in the first set. After falling behind early, Jericho (11-9) won 19 of the final 27 points in the set.
“Jericho came out served very aggressively and took us out of system, and when they did that, we weren’t running as smooth and we were making some errors,” Ringel said.
Bellmore JFK turned things around in the second, dominating much of the second set and finishing it on a 10-3 run. The third set was closer than the previous two, as Jericho led 23-21 before a pair of kills from Bradley leveled the score. The Cougars won the next two points to win the set, and led for the duration of the fourth en route to a five-point win that secured the match.
“We turned everything around,” Bradley said. “We gave all we had in the second, third and fourth sets.”
Tyler Anderson added 16 kills and Josh Kaplan and Jeff Lowell had 21 and 19 digs, respectively, for Bellmore JFK.
Levine and Bradley will now turn their attention toward bringing the Cougars back to the state tournament for the first time since 2013, and giving their careers a storybook ending.
Klein, Kim lead Plainview JFK to Class A title. After a heartbreaking loss in last season’s county final, Plainview JFK flipped the script in a big way.
Ethan Klein had 31 assists and Daniel Kim had 16 kills to lead No. 1 Plainview JFK to a three-set win over No. 2 Massapequa in the Class A final. The Hawks, which fell to the Chiefs in a five-set thriller last year, won 25-16, 25-13, 25-22.
“We brought the energy tonight. That’s all it was,” said Klein, who was named tournament MVP. “It’s an honor to play with this group. It’s been a great ride.”
“After how junior ended, it’s great to finish our senior year this way,” Kim said.
Plainview JFK will play Smithtown West at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood for the Long Island championship.