The number one meant a lot of things to Sachem North boys volleyball this season.
It was the number of sets the Flaming Arrows dropped out of 59, and their place in the standings from the start of the year to the end.
It was also the opening of a chant that preceded each match of Sachem North's unbeaten, state-title winning season. In a ritual that symbolized the team's closeness, the players would link arms, form a circle and chant "one! S-N-B-V!" before the opening serve.
Senior setter Rob Steinberg explained that the letters stand for "Sachem North boys volleyball," while "the 'one' represents how we're a family, coming together to work as one unit and not just 18 players."
This unit became the first Sachem North team to win a Long Island championship in boys volleyball, as well as the first school from the Island to win a Class A title.
"We wanted something that could pump us up before games," senior right side hitter Nick Miller said of a tradition started before the year by himself, Steinberg and fellow senior captain Dylan Missry. "That became our calling card. The fans got into it, the parents got into it and it really got us into the mindset 'we're one.' "
This team ethos was most embodied by those three seniors, who forged a bond six years before they ever played a volleyball match together.
"We all played on the same Little League Baseball team in third grade, and we've been best friends ever since," said Steinberg, who had 631 assists this season. While Steinberg said there was no "coordinated effort" among the trio to play volleyball, they all played junior varsity volleyball as freshmen and were called up to varsity the following season.
"I feel so blessed to share the memories with my best friends," he added.
"It's an honest relationship," said Missry, who had 305 kills, adding this made it easier for the three to push each other on and off the court and lead the team.
Sachem North's success and chemistry extended beyond the so-called "Big Three." Libero Rob Nolan anchored the defense and had 116 digs, including 11 in the state final. Matt Grace moved from libero to outside hitter before the season to fit Nolan into the lineup, and finished second on the team in kills with 142. Middle hitter Adam Bloomfield added 33 kills and 53 blocks.
"It's not just about the starters either," Missry said. "All 18 guys pushed us in practice and made us the team we are. We were all so close."
It is what made the season so special for the number one volleyball team in the state.