After falling into an early hole Wednesday night, things suddenly came into perspective for outside hitter Stephanie Jackson and her South Side teammates.
“We got into the huddle and realized how big this game was for us,” Jackson said. “We knew we had to step up and that we were all capable of so much more.”
The Cyclones certainly proved they were, rebounding to defeat Nassau A-I opponent Manhasset, 21-25, 25-13, 25-14, 25-17 at home in its annual “Dig Pink” game, which supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Once Manhasset rattled off 10 unanswered points to take a 21-18 lead in the first set, proceeding to win 25-21, Caroline Lanzillotta knew something had to change for South Side.
“We knew we lacked the intensity that we wanted to come out here with,” said Lanzillotta, who led the way with 13 kills, six digs, and one block. “We knew we had to get loud and get proud.”
“We talked about how good a team Manhasset is,” coach Cheryl Scalice said. “They beat us in five sets earlier in the season, so we had a little bit of apprehension.”
Once the apprehension faded, the initial letdown ignited the Cyclones, who closed the fourth set 25-17 to complete their comeback.
South Side (8-2) responded swiftly to Manhasset’s opening rally, getting out to a 17-8 advantage in the second set and ultimately winning 25-13 to even the match at 1.
Allyson Rosenbaum later came up with an emphatic kill to end the third set for South Side, 25-14.
Manhasset cut the deficit to 22-17 in the final frame, but Jackie Wilkins’ kill capped off three consecutive points by South Side and secured the come-from-behind victory.
Caroline LaMacchia also played a significant role for South Side with 16 digs, five assists and three aces.
“This is a huge win for us,” LaMacchia said. “This is a real confidence-booster for our team, knowing that they only came in with one loss.”
Jackson added 16 digs, six kills, two aces and a block, and credited her quality performance to staying low and reading the hitters shoulders consistently, as well as utilizing a variety of different hits at the net.
“When we stepped on that court we knew our team would leave their heart out there,” Jackson said.
South Side may only have three regular-season matches remaining, but Jackson said this is only the beginning.
“We have a lot more time before we hit our peak,” Jackson said. “This is a steppingstone to the county playoffs.”
Where Scalice can foresee meeting Manhasset (7-2) once again.
“We’re definitely going to see them again down the road at some point.”