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SportsHigh SchoolVolleyball

Nassau girls volleyball begins, ends with Jamie Smith, Massapequa

The girls volleyball conversation in Nassau AA begins and ends with Massapequa . . . and it has since 2000.

Massapequa has won 16 consecutive county titles, and after wrapping up an undefeated season with a win over Plainview JFK on Friday, the Chiefs are poised to make a run at No. 17.

They’ve used tournaments to their advantage this fall, experimenting with new lineups and combinations, which make it difficult for opposing defenses to hone in on certain players.

“We’ve been throwing a lot of different lineups together,” said setter and right side hitter Jamie Smith, the returning Newsday Nassau Player of the Year. “Ultimately, tournaments are for us to get better against great competition.”

“My kids can all play different positions as needed,” said coach CarolAnn Habeeb, who has been at the helm for the entirety of Massapequa’s run.

There’s plenty of versatility on the roster. That’s generally the goal when a team runs a 6-2 offense, meaning two setters with hitting ability are on the court at all times. It opens different angles and makes the defense guess who the hitter will be every time the ball is set.

Massapequa’s constant lineup switching hasn’t deterred its success at tournaments, either. The Chiefs have entered four tournaments and were victorious in each one.

“We want to become better as individuals and expose our weaknesses now,” Habeeb said. “We can expose them in tournaments.”

The Chiefs have taken top honors at the Hendrick Hudson Tournament in Cortlandt Manor, the John Jay Tournament in Cross River, the Glenn Tournament co-hosted by Glenn and Northport and most recently, the Lindenhurst Tournament.

Evidently they don’t have too many weaknesses.

“Everyone on our team is extremely motivated,” Smith said. “We’re playing with 100 percent heart. We just know where we want to be at the end of the season, and we’re working toward that goal.”

The Chiefs were beaten by Connetquot in the Long Island championship last year, and coaches have said that this Massapequa team might be better.

Adrienne Dohr and Emilie Marzano headline the back-row defense, which has improved. With Dohr and Marzano controlling the ball and executing passes to Smith, the Chiefs offense has thrived. This has them poised for a deep playoff push.

There’s no telling if the Chiefs’ season will end with a run at a state title. But you can bet that they’ll likely represent Nassau AA in the Long Island championship.


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