In each of the three previous years, Roslyn's boys volleyball team lost in the county semifinals. "It was always heartbreaking, and it didn't get easier as we got older," senior Noah Nardone said.
On Thursday night, Noah's story arc had a different ending.
One by one, the No. 2 Bulldogs exploited a size advantage and a lengthy journey ended with a 3-0 victory over No. 5 Long Beach in the Nassau Class B final at Hofstra.
"This was sweet," said Nardone, one of 10 seniors on a team that captured the first boys volleyball county title in school history, to the delight of a noisy crowd.
Nardone was named the tournament MVP and was a force all night with 21 kills, 14 assists and seven aces.
Roslyn seemed to break Long Beach's spirit with a 28-26 victory in Game 1, as Nardone came up with critical kills on points 24 and 27. "I felt that when we held them off in that first set that we were the better team," he said.
The Bulldogs won the next two games, 25-18 and 25-20. They will play Suffolk Class B champion Eastport-South Manor for the Long Island championship at noon Saturday at Suffolk CC-Brentwood.
Jason Goldstein was splendid with 20 assists. Griffin Goldberg had 11 kills. Alex Mines had 12 kills, 16 digs and four aces. Adam Gorecki had eight kills and three blocks and Calvin Tan made 16 digs. They are all seniors.
"We knew this was our last chance,'' Nardone said, " and we thought this would be our year."
Game 3 was decided quickly as Roslyn burst to a 7-1 lead, with Mines scoring a couple of service aces.
"Long Beach beat us in the regular season and played their hearts out," Roslyn coach Maureen Timony said before acknowledging that the extended first-game loss "was tough for them to come back from. My setters mixed up the offense and made smart choices to allow Noah to stay on the front line."
Timony, who founded the boys volleyball program in 1989, said she sensed she had a special team "back in June. I knew we had the ability and I knew that five of my seniors had lost in the semifinals three times. They didn't want to lose again."
Instead, the Bulldogs got to experience a flood of jubilation, thanks to Noah's spark.