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Lindenhurst's Chris DeLucie helps his team and his town

Lindenhurst's Chris DeLucie sets the ball during a

Lindenhurst's Chris DeLucie sets the ball during a game against Sachem East. (Oct. 3, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Like many boys volleyball players, Chris DeLucie stands tall.

The senior setter is 6-4 and often took over matches this season with his offense, setting up teammates for kills, and his defense, by blocking balls at the net.

But DeLucie stood out for more than just his 654 assists, 65 blocks, 147 digs, 56 aces and 84 kills.

He was a co-captain on Lindenhurst's first Long Island Division I championship team, guiding the Bulldogs through a grueling county championship match, a thrilling comeback in the state semifinals, and the challenging aftermath of superstorm Sandy, proving to be a leader on and off the court.

Suffolk coaches named DeLucie the county's Most Outstanding Player and its Most Exceptional Senior, and now DeLucie has earned the title of Newsday Long Island Player of the Year.

"Chris is the kind of guy that everyone looks up to and follows," Lindenhurst coach Kevin Muscarello said. "He leads and runs the team and has ice in his veins. He'll never hold back even when the pressure's on . . . and has developed a respect among all these guys because of the way he acts and carries himself."

"I worked hard all season to gain those two awards and could not have done it without my teammates," DeLucie said.

Lindenhurst shared the League I title with Sachem East with 9-2 records. But before the Bulldogs went on their postseason run, their community was wrecked by superstorm Sandy.

Muscarello said that instead of practicing for the upcoming Suffolk playoffs, DeLucie and his teammates went out to help their neighbors clean up and rebuild, including helping one teammate whose home was badly damaged.

"As a team we all participated in the same way. We helped clean out houses and give out food and clothing for the people in need." DeLucie said. "We had to pause for a week, but we picked it up and played for ourselves, our family and our community. It meant a whole lot to me."

DeLucie recorded 59 assists in the first two rounds of the playoffs to lead Lindenhurst into the county final against Sachem East. There, he stepped up when co-captain Ryan McDonough was injured early in the match, putting up 55 assists, nine blocks and seven aces in a five-set victory that clinched Lindenhurst's second straight county championship.

DeLucie then had 37 assists, five kills, five aces and four blocks in Lindenhurst's 3-1 win over Massapequa in the Long Island Division I title match, to reach the states.

"He's the best setter in Suffolk, he plays every rotation, every point of every single game," Muscarello said. "He's a very good passer, one of the top blockers in the county. He's that guy. He's the total package."

In the state semifinal pool play, DeLucie led Lindenhurst from behind with a 25-19 and 27-25 win over Bethlehem.Lindenhurst needed to take both games from Bethlehem in order to advance, and trailed 17-21 in its last game before rallying to earn a spot in the final.

The Bulldogs fell to McQuaid Jesuit in the state final.

"For me it was a great run and a great way to end my high school career," DeLucie said. "In the end we had a great season and it all paid off."

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