Julia Lawrence gets one of her 10 kills against Sayville...

Julia Lawrence gets one of her 10 kills against Sayville en route to Long Island Class A championship on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. Credit: Dawn McCormick

They were the comeback Colts until they didn’t have to be. Then, they were the dominant ones. On a normal Friday morning, some on the Calhoun girls volleyball team may have been in history class. Instead, thanks to a Veterans Day off day, they made school history.

Calhoun (14-5) beat previously-undefeated Sayville, 3-0, in the Long Island Class A championship at Hauppauge, capturing their first such title in school history, according to Calhoun coach Christina Strezenec.

The championship, clinched with a 25-21, 26-24, 25-19 win, extends Calhoun’s season, sending the Colts to the state championships, scheduled for Nov. 19-20 at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

Julia Lawrence had 10 kills, five digs, and two blocks. Victoria Zovich had five kills, six blocks, and four aces. Gianna Lucchi had 30 assists and Ella Maldonado had 17 digs and an ace.

Sayville entered winners of 20 straight matches and had only dropped one set this season.

“I think it excited us more than anything,” Zovich said of the matchup. “We’ve always been underdogs. We came from the third seed (in the Nassau Class A playoffs) and here we are, Long Island champions.”

Calhoun found themselves down twice in the first two sets. After a fairly even first 20 points, Sayville took a 14-10 lead midway though the opening set. After a Calhoun timeout, the Colts got back two points to cut the deficit to 14-12. They won four of the next six points to tie the score at 16 and never looked back after taking a 17-16 lead. A kill from Olivia Ruisi pushed the lead to 24-21 and Calhoun took the first set 25-21.

In the second set, Calhoun fell behind 20-16  and 21-19 before taking a 23-22 lead. After Sayville fought back to take a 24-23 lead, the Colts took the next three points to win 26-24.

“That was definitely a little scary,” Lawrence said. “… I think everyone on the court thought  we just beat them, we can do it again.’… We knew they were getting nervous and we used that to our advantage and pushed.”

“Our team is relentless,” Maldonado said. “We never believe that we’re down. We are used to coming out of deficits, so when we’re down, it’s no big deal. It just gives us more chances to celebrate. We like coming back.”

Maldonado continued: “We never, ever believe that there’s a game we can’t win.”  

Calhoun had a much easier time in the third set — until the final point. They were up 20-13 and 24-14 before Sayville rattled off five straight points to cut the Calhoun lead to 24-19. But, when a final Sayville serve went out of bounds, the relief was palpable.

“I don’t even remember it,” Maldonado said of the final Sayville run. “I just remember winning.”

Calhoun, the comeback Colts, had stopped one — and they’re headed upstate.

More High Schools