Boys volleyball wins Nassau County Championship

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Josh White

The boys varsity volleyball team huddles up for the Long Island Championship against the Sachem East Flaming Arrows. The Vikings lost this match in three sets, with a score of 25-16, 25-19, 25-23.

Seth Barshay and Adam Keltz

On Nov. 6, the boys varsity volleyball team won its first Nassau County Championship in 14 years, with a regular season record of 12-4 in Conference 1.  En route to this accomplishment, the third seeded Vikings defeated the second seeded Plainview Hawks in the semifinals, and first seeded Massapequa in the finals.

“The commitment that the boys made to the team, the focus that we practiced with every day, and the belief that we could win it all contributed the most this season,” said Coach Ms. Maria Giamanco.

Led by their captains, seniors Ben Moy, Kwan Park, and junior Steven Lopez, the team ultimately fell to Sachem East in the Long Island Championship at Hofstra University.

“I think a lot of it can be attributed to strong leadership, but more importantly as the season progressed we learned how important it was to be mentally tough.  It took us a long time to procure that just right attitude that we needed to play in those big do-or-die situations, this important balance of calm and confidence, but once we had that we were golden,” said senior Simon Shapiro.

Both Plainview and Massapequa had met Schreiber twice during the regular season, and beat the Vikings each time.  The finals win erased Massapequa’s bid to an undefeated season, finishing overall at 13-1.

“The one thing that our coach stressed to us in both the Plainview and Massapequa matches was to have fun.  She realized we play better when we aren’t pressured.  We all love the sport with such a passion that playing for fun was a difficult task,” said Moy.

In the semifinals of the Class ‘A’ Boys Volleyball Championship, held on Nov. 4, the Vikings beat Plainview in four sets, by a score of 25-13, 26-28, 25-21, 25-19

Lopez finished with 16 kills, 10 digs, and two aces, while junior Alec Nadjari had 14 kills and three blocks.

The beginning of the county finals, held at SUNY Old Westbury, saw Schreiber going into an early hole, losing the first game by two points.  This was followed by a rally, in which Port won the next three sets with scores of 25-18, 25-21, and 25-19.

“We never got worried, even after we dropped the first set.  We knew we were 100% in this match, and we came out firing right away in the second.  I think my teammates and I felt, that once we hit a  lead halfway through the set, the moment was completely in our hands, and we were able to finish each of the final three sets decisively,” said Shapiro.

Lopez finished with 26 kills and three aces, and clinched the match with the game’s final kill, which caused a mob by his teammates at center court.  He and Park combined for 53 assists.

“Having the clinching play in the County Finals was easily one of the best moments I had in the season.  I was left in shock because we had just won the championships, and we as a team were unbelievably happy.  Overall as a team we had an amazing performance, and we did everything we needed to do. This was one of the best accomplishments we had together,” said Lopez.

Park was named the tournament’s overall MVP, while Lopez was named to the All-Tournament team, and junior David Adler received an Honorable Mention.

“Winning felt amazing. It’s something I’m going to always be able to carry with me.  I knew we had the capacity to be the best in Nassau, and we were able to prove it by winning the title.  It’s great to know that we were able to make a lot of people proud,” said Shapiro

In the Long Island Championship, Schreiber lost to Suffolk County’s fourth seeded Sachem East in 3 sets, by a score of 25-16, 25-19, 25-23.

“To be able to participate in the Long Island Championship is something I would never trade anything for.  This opportunity was a once in a lifetime thing for me… I’m a little upset about ending our season in such a way, but I’m glad to show Port Washington that our volleyball team has what it takes to make it this far.  I’m sure my teammates who are younger than me will see this opportunity in the future,” said Moy.

Despite this loss, the team still feels that this season was a successful one. Before next season, seven seniors will be graduating.

“The seniors this year were certainly great for the team.  They all led very well and shaped the team.  They all were a strong foundation for the rest of the team to build upon.  It’s going to be tough to not have them next year, but we will have the players to fill in their spots, and we will have to move forward and bring it to every game,” said sophomore Andrew Kerr.

Graduating seniors include Moy, Park, Shapiro, Will Smith, Matt Shevrin, Diego Hidalgo, and manager Aaron Schuckman.

“Even though we have some very, very important seniors leaving, we have a large number of returning players that were starters or major contributors.  We have a solid group of players coming back for next year, and there is also some great potential from players on JV this year,” said Ms. Giamanco.

Looking toward next season, the returners are confident with their chances to contend.

“My hopes are that we will make it to the championship again next year, and take the title.  G. is a great coach and always pursues a successful season, regardless of who her players are.  If the team’s confidence level and attitude remains the same, there are no doubts in my mind that we have the potential to win the Long Island Championship,” said sophomore Zach Jimenez.