Calhoun girls volleyball teammates celebrate after their 3-1 win over...

Calhoun girls volleyball teammates celebrate after their 3-1 win over South Side in the Nassau Class A final at Farmingdale State College on Wednesday. Credit: James Escher

Calhoun was a little jittery in the first set of this Nassau Class A title match against No. 1 South Side and fell by 10 points. But the Colts decided to just forget it and try to bounce back. 

So what happened? This volleyball team quickly fell into a six-point hole in the second set.

Time for a timeout. One of the senior captains spoke up in the huddle, rather loudly.

“I might have screamed a little,” Julia Lawrence said. “I said, ‘Come on, guys. Let’s do this.’ . . . I just kind of put everyone in the mindset that we are in this; like, we beat them before [in the regular season]; we can do it. It was hard being down by that much.”

Yet Calhoun rallied to win the second set, then rallied to win the third set, then led the entire way in the fourth set. So third-seeded Calhoun made program history Wednesday night at Farmingdale State with its 15-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18 victory — first-ever county championship.

“It’s a big title, and it’s kind of crazy,” Lawrence said. “It kind of feels surreal.”

Imagine how her third-year coach, Christina Strezenec, felt. She used to play for Calhoun, Class of 2010.

“So for me, personally, it means a lot more, being a part of the program for five years and eventually getting to this point,” said Strezenec, who saw her team fall to Wantagh in the final last fall. “But I do think it’s a culmination of all the coaches who came before me . . . [and] all the players who came before us to get us into the A conference.”

Now they’re in the Long Island championship. The 13-4 Colts will face 20-0 Sayville at 10 a.m. Friday at Hauppauge.

“I think that we’re going to win that and we’re going to go to states,” said Grace Miller, a junior outside hitter.

South Side (15-3), which was paced by Ava Kelly’s 12 kills, led 7-1 and then 18-12 in the second set. But the Colts posted 13 of the final 15 points. Miller went up for the kill to close it out and even the match at a set apiece.

In the third set, the Cyclones jumped out to a 7-0 advantage. Calhoun responded and eventually tied it at 16-16. South Side went up 19-18, but Lawrence delivered two service aces and a kill in a 7-0 finishing run. Miller again closed out the set with a kill and raised her arms.

“We came back strong, and we knew we were going to win this,” Miller said.

Indeed they burst out to a 12-4 lead in the final set. It shrunk to 14-12. But the Colts rebuilt the eight-point cushion before winning by seven and celebrating on the court.

“We know they’re relentless and athletic,” South Side coach Cheryl Scalice said. “And they’re an excellent team.”


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