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Jake DesLauriers, Mark Porcelli lift Eastport-South Manor to LI Division II boys volleyball title

Jake DesLauriers #13 (back, face visible) and the

Jake DesLauriers #13 (back, face visible) and the Eastport-South Manor Sharks celebrate their 3-0 win over Roslyn in the Division II boys volleyball Long Island Championship at Longwood High School on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Credit: James Escher

The "Drive for 25," as Eastport-South Manor boys volleyball coach Bill Kropp likes to put it, is nearly complete.

Dating back to last season’s county title run, Eastport has been determined to extend its win streak to 25 consecutive matches, which would ultimately culminate with a state championship.

On Thursday morning, the Sharks stretched it to 24 and booked their ticket upstate as they head toward the last stop of the drive.

Behind the star hitting duo of Jake DesLauriers and Mark Porcelli, undefeated Eastport took down Roslyn, 25-17, 25-10, 25-14, to win the Long Island Division II championship/Southeast Regional final at Longwood.

"Just like our coach always tells us, ‘Respect all, fear none,’ " said DesLauriers, who recorded 15 kills, nine digs, five aces and two blocks. "That mentality of going out there and not playing their game. We’re going to play our game. We’re going to play to the level that we know we’re supposed to be playing at. We’ve got to show other teams that we’re the best."

Winning their first Long Island title since 2017, the Sharks, whose only dropped set of the season occurred in the opener, will compete in the state tournament at Albany Capital Center on Nov. 20.

Porcelli and company had their season cut short following last season’s county championship as the Long Island championship was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that they’ve taken advantage of the opportunity they’d hoped for, they’re relishing the chance to compete for a state title.

"This is great," Porcelli said after adding nine kills, seven digs, one block and one ace. "It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to have the state championships last year. But we took what was available and we’re just so excited to be able to take that next step."

Eastport (17-0) applied constant pressure on Roslyn (11-6) from the outset, taking a quick 16-7 lead on their way to an opening set win. The Sharks then went on a 8-0 spurt in the second to widen the gap to 21-9 before sealing it with four of the final five points. Ahead 13-8 once again in the third, Eastport moved ahead 21-10 and went on to capture the championship from there.

"This was a goal of ours from the beginning of the season," DesLauriers said. "We knew we were going to be good and have a shot at this, and we just worked toward it."

Now it’s about completing the Drive to 25.

"This is just another piece of our plan, our goal and our dream," Kropp said. "You have to dream. This group is a great bunch that works hard and I’m excited for them. Hopefully we can get to 25 now that we’ve got 24 in."

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