Boys volleyball falls in second round of Nassau County playoffs

Noah Sollinger, Contributing Writer

This fall season, the boys volleyball team entered the playoffs looking strong.  Led by coach Maria Giamanco and captains junior Daniel Dash, senior Jeremy Ettlinger, and senior Connor MacPhail, the team had an impressive 11-6 record, with a 10-4 record in division A-1.

Compared to last season’s 7-10 record, it was a great season for the Vikings, as they improved with four more wins under their belt.  On Oct. 5, Port beat Massapequa for the first time since 2013, a key victory for the team.  The 3-1 victory was the result of some stellar performances by Port’s veteran players.

MacPhail led the team with 18 kills and six aces, while Dash added 13 kills. Senior Stanley Elysee was also a major contributed in the game as he added 11 kills.  This was the Vikings’ only win against Massapequa during the 2016 season.

On Oct. 26, in an extremely crucial matchup against conference rival Plainview, Port handed Plainview their only loss of the regular season.  The Vikings won the exciting match 3-2, winning the deciding fifth set by a score of 25-23.

In the matchup, Port’s captains displayed an impressive performance.  MacPhail tallied 24 kills and three aces, while Dash racked up an additional 19 kills and five blocks.  Sophomore Reggie Bharath added 48 assists, as he ran the Vikings’ offense the entire night.

“It was one of the best games that I’ve ever been a part of,” said MacPhail. “I was so proud of the boys and what we accomplished that night.”

Last season, Schreiber had lost all three of its matchups against Plainview, so it was a morale-boosting win against the county powerhouse.  In their final regular season game on Oct. 31, Port defeated West Hempstead at home, winning three games to none.  Once again, the captains played well, with MacPhail totaling 23 kills, Dash having 10 kills and five blocks, and Ettlinger tallying 12 digs.

With a 10-5 regular season record, Schreiber entered postseason seeded fourth among eight teams in the Nassau County Class A playoffs.

“We were in line to get the three seed, but we lost one of our final games against Long Beach,” said senior Juan Soto.

The team played its first playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 5, beating East Meadow 3-1 in the Nassau County Class A quarterfinal.  Port was 1-1 against fifth seeded East Meadow this season prior to the matchup, and they were able to come away with the victory at home.

Dash led the team with 19 kills and three blocks, while MacPhail had 16 kills. Bharath also had 42 assists.

“It was a great atmosphere to be a part of,” said Bharath. “We really played as one team and we really played well.”

The ultimate goal for Port was to win the Nassau County Championship game, a feat Schreiber last achieved three years ago.  To reach this goal, however, the Vikings first had to get through top seeded Plainview in their semifinal matchup.

The Vikings took on Plainview on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Great Neck North High School.  Unfortunately for Port, their season came to an end, as they lost to the top seed three games to none.  Despite being ahead for most of the first game, Port did not come away with the win.

“We didn’t get the results we wanted that night,” said Elysee. “It was sad to end the season like that but I’m still really proud of the boys.”

Despite getting knocked out of the playoffs, Port’s season could be viewed as one of the most successful they have had in the past few years.  The team had some impressive wins, and they played many exciting games this season.  Compared to last season, the team made it one round further in the playoffs than they had and they finished with four more wins.

For next season, the Vikings will look to make it further in the playoffs and capture Port’s first county title since 2013.  The team is excited about their potential next season.  One key contributor to the team next season will be returning junior Dash.  Dash earned himself all-county honors, and sophomore Bharath earned all-conference honors.

The team is going to miss their leaving senior players.  All-county award winners MacPhail and Elysee will be leaving the team next year, along with the team’s starting libero, senior captain Ettlinger.

“I’m sad to be leaving the team next year,” said MacPhail. “I know the boys will do well next year, and they will only improve on what we accomplished this year.”