Newsday’s Kenny DeJohn recaps the week of Long Island girls volleyball, starting with an update on a few of the Island’s new coaches and finishing with other notables from the fall season.
All records and results are current as of Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.
Haley Blunt, Ward Melville: Tasked with taking over for Charlie Fernandes, who moved over to coach the boys program, Blunt has helped the Patriots to a 3-2 start. She was an assistant on Fernandes’ staff, so the transition wasn’t necessarily a difficult one. An interesting match on Friday at Sachem East will be a good litmus test for Blunt and the Patriots.
Luis Sepulveda, Kings Park: The longtime Baldwin coach, who also coaches Pratt women’s volleyball in Division III, took over for Ed Manly this season on the heels of seven consecutive state championship semifinal berths. Kings Park dropped its first regular-season match in three years in a 3-1 loss to Eastport-South Manor, but the Kingsmen are 2-1 and still one of the top teams in Suffolk Class A. They’ll play ESM again on Oct. 15, and perhaps again in the playoffs.
Heather Holacek, Port Washington: Port Washington was just 1-7 last season, but Holacek has already helped match that win total with a 3-1 win over Oceanside. At 1-1, it’s too early to call Holacek’s first season a success. That said, she’s on the right track. Holacek coached Garden City to a 7-7 record last season and a Nassau Class A quarterfinal berth.
Brittany Chappas, Garden City: It’s been a rough start for the Trojans, albeit against Nassau Class A’s three best teams. They’ve lost to Wantagh, South Side and Mineola – all in straight sets – but defeated Floral Park, 3-1. Nassau A-I is a gauntlet, so the season won’t get easier. Once they adjust to playing without Julia Beckmann, a star outside hitter now playing at Harvard, Garden City will improve.
- St. Anthony’s earned an impressive 3-1 win over Kellenberg on Thursday, Sept. 20. Kellenberg, winners of three straight CHSAA titles, fell victim to the combined might of Paige Savitsky and Alyssa Moskowitz, who totaled 22 kills. Taylor Morrell had 30 assists and Emma Benes had 20 digs.
- This probably won’t be the last five-set match in Nassau A-I this season: Wantagh defeated Manhasset, 3-2, on Friday, Sept. 21, behind a strong match from Grace Riddle, who had 27 kills and 14 digs. Kayla Rende had 42 assists, and Emily Van O’Linda had 21 digs and eight kills.
- East Meadow is off to a strong start, thanks in part to a 3-2 win over Baldwin on Saturday, Sept. 22, in a crossover between Nassau AA-I and AA-II. Stefanie Botman stuffed the score sheet with 22 assists, six kills, five aces and three digs.
- Look out for Farmingdale, which is 5-0 to start the fall after a win on Saturday, Sept. 22. The Dalers’ 3-2 win over Syosset in Nassau AA-C2 was made possible by Alyson Maddalone, who had 14 kills, eight aces, three assists, three digs and one block.
- Whitman needed five sets to beat West Islip, 3-2, on Thursday, Sept. 20. Ally DeGaray had 34 kills, 15 digs and six aces, while Amanda DeWitt had 23 kills and nine digs.
- A big Suffolk VI showdown between Westhampton and Sayville resulted in a 3-2 win for the Hurricanes on Friday, Sept. 21. Belle Smith, a lacrosse standout bound for Boston College, had 58 digs, while Olivia Jayne had 36 assists. Juliette Seeliger had 23 kills. Madison Mergl had 56 assists for Sayville.
- The biggest win of the week belongs to Eastport-South Manor, which earned a 3-1 victory over Kings Park in Suffolk V on Friday, Sept. 21. Deanna Colondona had 22 digs and 14 kills to take down Kings Park in its first regular-season loss Sept. 9, 2015, against Westhampton.
Newsday’s Top 10
On the cusp (in alphabetical order): Bayport-Blue Point, East Hampton, Eastport-South Manor, St. Anthony’s, Wantagh
Games to Watch
- Thursday, Sept. 27 – Sacred Heart at St. Anthony’s, 5:30 p.m.
- Friday, Sept. 28 – Ward Melville at Sachem East, 5:45 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 29 – Lynbrook at Mineola, 10 a.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 2 – Kellenberg at Sacred Heart, 5:45 p.m.