Kings Park's Ali Alongi (5) gets ready to serve in...

Kings Park's Ali Alongi (5) gets ready to serve in the first game during the Suffolk High School girls volleyball match between East Islip and Kings Park on Wednesday Oct 6, 2021 at East Islip High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

With the Kings Park girls volleyball team having suffered its only loss of the season to East Islip on Sep. 13, assistant coach Kathleen Benson implored her team to dig deep entering the fifth and final set of Wednesday night’s rematch.

"I was just saying that it has to come from deep within," said Benson, who was the team’s acting head coach for the night with head coach Luis Sepulveda unavailable. "We really had to want it because East Islip is a competitive team and high up there. So it had to really come from within. We had to be the ones to fight for it and really pull it out in the end."

Message received.

Ali Alongi and Cassandra Genduso provided timely hitting throughout the night and Kings Park bounced back in impressive fashion in the tiebreaking set after dropping two consecutive to earn a road victory over East Islip, 25-22, 25-21, 26-28, 17-25, 25-17 in Suffolk III.

Leading 17-15 in the fifth game, Kings Park took control the rest of the way to seal the win.

After falling behind 2-0 in the early going, East Islip (8-4) rallied to win a back-and-forth third game before evening the match at 2. Alongi credited her team for their response to the drastic shift in momentum and the raucous home crowd.

"I’m extremely proud of my teammates for pulling through with our mindset," Alongi said. "We had a really difficult crowd that was loud and crazy, and it can be really tough sometimes. They used it to their advantage and they took it and empowered themselves over those last few sets."

Genduso said Kings Park (10-1) placed added emphasis on their defense following the first matchup and focused on keeping things simple entering the final set.

"Our thought process was we had to be the first to 10, 15, 20 and push for 25," Genduso said. "So we did that. We all got together, communicated, covered as we should and we pushed through."

Kings Park also displayed a great deal of poise in the final set without their usual leader on the sidelines in Sepulveda. While his absence was another challenge thrown their way, Genduso commended the team’s coaching staff for the quality job they did leading the way.

"Coach [Sepulveda] not being here definitely took a toll on us," Genduso said. "But we know our coaches and they fought for us and we fought during the game."

Benson believes Kings Park, which has won 10 consecutive county titles, is confident that this team can continue that legacy.

"I think they totally have it in them," said Benson, who played for some of those teams herself. "It’s going to have to come from within and they’ll have to fight for it…From what I saw tonight, they can absolutely go for that 11th one."


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