Eastport-South Manor didn’t care which division it was, so long as the Sharks walked off the court with a championship.
A year after winning the Suffolk Division I title, No. 2 Eastport-South Manor captured the Division II championship, defeating No. 1 Hauppauge in four sets at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood on Wednesday. Eastport-South Manor won, 34-36, 25-11, 25-19, 25-23, and advances to the Long Island championship at 2 p.m. on Nov. 10, taking on either Bellmore JFK or Jericho at Suffolk CCC-Brentwood.
“Whatever we had to do to win, we were going to do it,” outside hitter Adam Burk said.” Nobody believed in us, but we always believed in ourselves. We wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
Eastport-South Manor’s unconventional title defense didn’t come easy.
The Sharks (7-8) had chances to put the first set away, but couldn’t connect on that one, big play against a determined Hauppauge (9-6). It was a frustrating start and ESM knew it needed a quick turnaround if it was going to have a chance.
ESM did just that in the second set, jumping out to a five-point lead and finding its rhythm thanks to some strong play at the net.
“We told the guys they had to play in the moment,” coach Bill Kropp said. “They couldn’t think about anything else, just play their game and be confident.”
The Sharks struggled to find consistency throughout the match, facing a seven-point hole to start the third set and rallying from four down in the fourth, but ESM never doubted its comeback ability.
Burk scored the match-clinching point, with an emphatic, high-flying kill, to wrap up the title and keep ESM at the top of Suffolk county.
“Not for one minute did I doubt our team,” Burk said. “I knew we were better than them and I knew all along we were going to beat them.”