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Massapequa girls volleyball earns spot in Class AA state final

Sidney Benvenisti and Alessandra Heimbauer of Massapequa blocking

Sidney Benvenisti and Alessandra Heimbauer of Massapequa blocking the volleyball hit by Zoe Rodi of Pine Bush during volleyball match at the NYSPHSAA Volleyball State Championships held at Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls, NY on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Credit: Errol Anderson

GLEN FALLS, N.Y. — The early bird gets a trip to the state final.

The Massapequa girls volleyball team’s first match of pool play in the Class AA state semifinals began at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. It was a wake-up call that Emma Reilly and her squad embraced.

"We ate a good breakfast, had music playing, and were dancing around. We were so ready to get out on the court," Reilly said. "We have been waiting for this opportunity for so long and knew we had to come out strong right out of the gates."

Massapequa girls to face Victor in Class AA state final after defeating Section II’s Shenendehowa, 25-23, 25-16, in its first match, and Section IX’s Pine Bush, 25-14, 25-13, in its second match at Cool Insuring Arena.

Megan Kirtyan totaled 27 assists and Alessandra Heimbauer and Emily Keaveney each had eight kills in the victory over Shenendehowa. Kirtyan had 21 assists, Heimbauer added eight kills and Sidney Benvenisti had seven kills against Pine Bush.

Section V’s Victor (19-1) defeated Massapequa in the final two games of pool play, 25-21, 26-24, to improve to 6-0. Massapequa earned the second seed finishing 4-2. The two teams will face each other in the Class AA state final on Sunday at 10 a.m.

"They [Victor] were the toughest team we played all year," Massapequa coach Amanda Del Giacco said. "I think that playing them today was a huge bonus for us, and we are feeling good going into tomorrow."

"We were able to see their strong points and their weak points," said Keaveney about Victor. "Tomorrow we are going to be coming in hot, and we’ll be ready to roll."

Massapequa (20-0) will attempt to win its first state title since 2007 and finish its season undefeated.

"We are a very high athletic school and have a lot of teams that are very successful, especially in the fall season," Del Giacco said. "It would be great to bring a title back to Long Island. These girls deserve it, and I would love to see it happen for them."

"The atmosphere was so fun and we were just really enjoying the moment," Keaveney said. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we just have to make the most of it."

Wantagh's quest ends

The Wantagh girls volleyball team’s quest for a state title came to an end on Saturday after winning just two of its six games in pool play of the Class A state semifinal round.

Wantagh lost its first two games of the tournament against Section II’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 25-8, 25-12, before earning a 25-23 win against Section I’s Walter Panas in game three. Walter Panas won the second game of the head-to-head matchup 26-24.

"We were a fairly young team this season with two freshmen in the starting lineup," Wantagh coach Dan O’Shea said. "Having this group show these young girls what it takes to stick together through the ups and downs of a season is always the most important things for a team’s future success."

Wantagh lost its fifth game of pool play to Section VI’s Niagara-Wheatfield, 25-19, but won its sixth game 25-20. The team had a chance at playing in a potential tiebreaking match, but that opportunity ended when Walter Panas defeated previously undefeated Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 28-26, in the fifth game for both programs.

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