GLENS FALLS — Massapequa looked overpowered and overmatched early on in its state semifinal matchup, but a late comeback in the second set catapulted the team to victory.
Massapequa defeated Shenendehowa, 3-1 (18-25, 27-25, 25-18, 25-19), in the state Class AAA semifinals at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls on Saturday. Shea Ringel had 14 kills as Massapequa defeated last year’s state Class AA champion.
“We started to put the heat on them with our serving and locked in more as a team,” Ringel, a junior outside hitter said. “We played with much more unity in the second set than in the first.”
Already down a set, Massapequa trailed 21-17 late in the second. Massapequa scored the next four points and both teams proceeded to trade points, ultimately tying the score at 25. Massapequa scored the next two, with Jolie Kanceler (11 kills) smashing a ball to the court to clinch the set.
“We missed a bunch of serves and weren’t hitting our spots,” Massapequa coach Amanda Del Giacco said. “We were playing their game and once we realized we can control the pace, we started to play Massapequa volleyball.”
Massapequa jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the third set, as momentum seemed to be shifting in its favor. Ringel began to make her presence felt as she tallied five kills in the set, including three within the final five points of the set.
Allison Petrullo got a kill to put Massapequa ahead 9-8 in the fourth set and the team scored six of the next seven. The senior setter snuck in a kill to get Massapequa within a point of victory, then after numerous diving stops during a rally, Ringel hit a ball off the net that fell in to give Massapequa the victory.
“It’s really about paying attention to the other side,” said Petrullo, who had seven kills and 43 assists. “If the pass isn’t there or one of my hitters isn’t in position, I’ll try to put it over the net, just doing whatever is best to get a kill.”
Shenendehowa showcased tremendous power early on, with Reagan Ennist spiking down attacks that had no chance to be handled. Massapequa was able to neutralize that power as the match progressed.
“Our philosophy with her was just to get the ball up,” Ringel said. “It didn’t matter where a dig would end up, we had trust that our setter could get to it and set someone up nicely.”
Massapequa (15-3) will face Fairport in the state final at 9 a.m. on Sunday at Cool Insuring Arena.
“A good takeaway is that losing a set doesn’t mean the game is over,” Petrullo said. “We have to keep playing together, play strong and play hard.”