ALBANY — Westhampton’s dream season concluded on Saturday, but even in the wake of defeat, the 2019 campaign was one Ryan Barnett described glowingly.
“This was a lot of fun,” the junior outside hitter said after Westhampton was eliminated in the semifinals of the state boys volleyball championships, losing to eventual champion Grand Island (Erie County), 25-21, 25-20, and Jamesville-DeWitt (Syracuse), 32-30, 25-17, in Division II pool play at the Albany Capital Center. “Especially coming into the season with high aspirations. It’s always cool to achieve and do even more.”
Westhampton (12-7) dropped two tightly contested sets to Grand Island before being eliminated with a 2-0 loss to Jamesville-DeWitt in the ensuing match. The Hurricanes tied the score at 18 in the first set against Jamesville and went back and forth the rest of the way, with the Red Rams ultimately prevailing. Jamesville used six unanswered points in the next set to take an 18-9 lead that Westhampton was unable to overcome.
“Everything after the county championship was just a dream for us,” Westhampton coach Jackie Reed said.
Barnett discussed the significance of the program winning both its first county title and Long Island championship en route to a state semifinal appearance.
“It means everything,” Barnett said. “It was awesome to do and we did it as a team.”
Senior Matt Lambert said following last season he didn’t expect the Hurricanes would earn a trip to Albany this year.
“This was really special,” Lambert said. “You don’t really expect to make it this far after losing in the county semifinals last season. But we played great.”
A state title was ultimately the goal, but Reed emphasized how proud she was of the Hurricanes for all they achieved leading to the trip upstate.
“We’re third in the state,” Reed said. “I couldn’t be prouder. I couldn’t care less now whether we finished first, second or third. I’m proud of these guys because of how they’ve come together and what they’ve accomplished on their own.”
Reed is confident that Westhampton will build upon this experience and make a return appearance to the state championships next season.
“I told them to look around and realize that no other team at this program had done this,” Reed said. “And I told the seven seniors ‘I guarantee you’ll be back watching us play it again next year.’”