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Sachem North motivated by last year's playoff upset

Sachem North's Dylan Missry gets the dig in

Sachem North's Dylan Missry gets the dig in a match against Lindenhurst. (Oct, 15, 2013) Credit: George A. Faella

Based on talent, depth and experience alone, Sachem North could be one of the best boys volleyball teams on Long Island this season.

The extra motivation from an upset loss in last year's playoffs could push them over the top.

"It motivated us like you couldn't imagine," said senior Rob Steinberg of the team's only loss in 2013, a 3-1 defeat to Sachem East in the Suffolk Class A semifinals. "It's all we think about. Everyday we come to practice, we just think about how much we were devastated."

"That was the fuel on the fire throughout the offseason," added fellow senior Dylan Missry.

Most of the key players return from last year's squad that went 15-0 in the regular season, dropping only four sets in the process.

"Our expectations are even higher this year," said coach Matt Rivera. "We have great leadership with our seniors who are coming back for a third varsity season."

Missry and Steinberg headline the senior class. Missry, an outside-hitter hitter, set school records for total kills, kills per match and hitting percentage in 2013.

"He's at the top of his game right now," Rivera said of Missry. "He's the focal point of what we're doing."

Rivera said Steinberg will "leave Sachem with just about every setting record there is." Steinberg had 561 assists last season and came into this year with 972 in his career.

Senior Nick Miller also will play outside hitter, while converted libero Matt Grace, a junior, will start as opposite hitter. Junior Ryan Nolan will move into the libero role.

Missry and Steinberg are quick to stress the reasons for the team's success go beyond the starting lineup.

"It's not just the six guys that are getting the credit," Missry said. "It's [also] the guys in practice."

"The reason we're so good is because we're so deep," Steinberg added, crediting the team's second string for pushing the starters "everyday in practice."

With that depth pushing the strong starting lineup, Sachem North looks primed to make a deep playoff run this season.

They certainly won't be lacking motivation.

Players to watch

NASSAU

STEVEN LOPEZ, Port Washington, Senior, Outside Hitter

ALLEN DURUTOVIC, Plainview JFK, Senior, Middle

NOAH NARDONE, Rosyln-Senior, Right hitter/setter

JUSTIN LEE, Jericho, Senior, Middle,

FRANK GALIANO, Bellmore JFK, Senior, Libero

NICK SMITH, Massapequa, Senior, Setter

BRYCE COHEN, West Hempstead, Senior, Middle

CHRISTIAN GARCIA, Floral Park, Senior, Setter

ALEC NADJARI, Port Washington, Senior, Middle/outside

BRIAN WANG, Plainview JFK, Senior, Right side hitter

SUFFOLK

DYLAN MISSRY, Sachem North, Senior, Outside Hitter

PAUL CLOSE, Sayville, Senior, Right hitter

MARK JENSEN, Bay Shore, Senior, Outside Hitter

SEAN HARRINGTON, Sachem East, Senior, Outside hitter

ROB STEINBERG, Sachem North, Senior, Setter

BLAKE HOGAN, Bay Shore, Senior, Outside hitter

TYLER BRANDOW, Eastport-South Manor, Senior, Outside hitter

BRENDAN WELLER, Smithtown East/West, Junior, Setter

TARIQ SOLIMAN, Whitman, Junior, Outside hitter

MATT GRACE, Sachem North, Junior, Libero/Outside hitter

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