(L) Massapequa #7 Brian Smith scores a point against Plainview...

(L) Massapequa #7 Brian Smith scores a point against Plainview (L) #7 John Papazoglou during the game held at Massapequa High School. (April 29, 2010) Credit: Newsday/Frank Koester

Forget the platitudes. This one meant more.

From the jittery Massapequa team that blundered away a 10-1 lead in Game 1 to lose its first game of the year came a sudden turn around, a return to form, and a definitive statement. Plainview JFK was the defending county champion, yes, but as undefeated Massapequa (9-0) beat them 3-1 Thursday the Chiefs proved they were no fluke.

"All day during school, I couldn't stop thinking of [this game]," said Massapequa outside hitter Brian Smith.

One more, with feeling: "My guys were fired up," said coach Steve Mariano. "A lot of them play club [volleyball] together. They are personal rivalries."

Take, for instance, Smith and Plainview's juggernaut middle blocker, Steven Coniglio. The two play together at LIVBC in Huntington. Coniglio, who at 6-3 is a towering presence in the front row, was neutralized, managing 11 kills - a team-high, but a relatively low number for him. After Coniglio led the Hawks (8-1) to a come-from-behind 25-21 win in Game 1, Massapequa targeted Plainview's weaker outside.

"Coniglio is going to get his kills," said Smith, who had 11 kills, eight blocks, 17 assists and seven digs. "He can jump out the building."

Still, Smith wasn't ready to rub it in. "I'm going to stay quiet," he said. "I'll brag when we win the county championship."

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