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Long Beach boys volleyball team back together for playoffs after Sandy

Long Beach volleyball player Scott Blumenfeld.

Long Beach volleyball player Scott Blumenfeld. Credit: Handout

Scott Blumenfeld has been staying in Washington, D.C., since superstorm Sandy forced his family out of their Long Beach home.

Thursday night, he took the train back to New York to play in Long Beach High School's first-round volleyball playoff game Friday at Herricks.

After the storm, Blumenfeld moved to D.C. to stay with his older brother, Steven, while his parents stay with other relatives in Rockville Centre to deal with insurance adjusters.

Some of his teammates made similar treks from various parts of the Northeast Thursday, hoping to come together for a game they were far from ready to play.

Long Beach High School has been closed since Oct. 26.

"We don't even have a gym. Our coach's house was destroyed and he's living in Woodstock," Blumenfeld said. "We haven't practiced for a week and a half."

The seventh-seeded Marines were originally scheduled to play yesterday, when Blumenfeld and other displaced players would not have been able to reach Long Island in time to prevent a forfeit. Wednesday's nor'easter pushed the event back a day.

Even Blumenfeld, a co-captain who had been texting teammates in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, didn't think the team could get together that quickly.

"I didn't want to have to pay to take a train for a game that we might forfeit," he said.

He was also concerned that the games were being played too soon, what with many teams being in disarray, and hoped they'd be pushed back to next Tuesday, but was told his suggestions didn't mesh with Section VIII's needs to get Nassau teams qualified to go upstate for the state finals next week.

Much of the team's equipment was destroyed by the storm and a question arose as to whether the players would be able to wear matching uniforms.

"We're not entirely sure if everyone has their jerseys so our coach called to see if we could play without them," said Josh Ayzenberg, a co-captain. A waiver was granted by Nassau executive coordinator Nina Van Erk.

"So I told the guys to bring a blue shirt just so we can look like a team," Ayzenberg said. "We left all our extra jerseys in the locker room, which got flooded."

Long Beach girls volleyball coach Kerri Rehnback said her team's circumstances were different from the boys because several players had friends or families with homes that had power or generators relatively close to Long Beach, and they weren't scheduled to play until Saturday.

"We have them all close enough to be here for the matches," Rehnback said. "We know about the boys' situation and we feel horrible for them."

Blumenfeld remains committed to the cause. He helped Marines coach Bill Gibson contact players all day Thursday. "We didn't have a great regular season and we want to prove we're better than that," he said. "I want to win a title for my school and for my city."

With Ian Cutler

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