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Volleyball Upsets Port Jeff in Semis

November 3, 2016

This volleyball team is a special one.

During a season in which they battled through numerous injuries to key players, the Bears beat the odds by making the playoffs, and–after an upset victory over the second-seeded Royals yesterday evening–now find themselves in the Suffolk County Class C Championship.

Earning a berth in the county final was a tall order. In order to do so the girls had to get through Port Jeff’s defense, passing, and vaunted hitting. In the two regular season match-ups with the Royals, the Bears fell 3-2 and 3-0, so to beat Port they had to muster more wins than they earned in two combined matches against their class rivals. It would be enough to cause any player to doubt, but the girls showed no signs of intimidation. They were hungry and they served notice early in the match.

The Bears took control of set one early, racing out to an 8-2 lead that eventually swelled to 21-10 before they took the opener, 25-11. The Royals showed their mettle by rebounding in set two. They built a 10-5 lead early, but the Bears battled back to keep it within two to three points for the middle portion of the frame. The Brook eventually tied the set at 17-17 before the Royals reeled off an 8-1 run to take it, 25-18. In set three the girls built a substantial 13-4 lead that grew to 19-10 before the Royals closed to within 20-17. The Blue and White steeled their nerves and stemmed the tide and took the set, 25-21.

In the fourth set, the teams remained close throughout. The set was deadlocked at 16-16 when the Bears scored two straight points to take an 18-16 edge. On the next point, Sammy Petersen hit what was intended to be a cross-court pass just over the net and into the near left corner to push the lead to 19-16 and provide the team with an infusion of momentum. The lead grew to 20-16 when Port Jeff mishit a return on the next serve. Despite facing the late deficit, Port Jeff refused to go down easily, battling to within 21-19, 23-21, and then 24-23, to set up a frenetic finish. On the final point of the match, Port Jeff served the ball in, the first of eight times the ball would travel over the net. On the final play, freshman Bekah Detwiler took a perfect set from Petersen and sent a kill down the left sideline and off the hand of the Port Jeff libero, giving the Bears the win and send a large contingent of Stony Brook fans spilling out onto the court in celebration.

The victory was the team’s first over the Royals since a 3-1 victory on October 28, 2013. The win also ended a string of four consecutive playoff losses since the team’s last playoff victory, a 3-1 decision over Pierson in the 2009 county semifinals.

The Bears will face top-seeded Pierson/Bridgehampton in the Suffolk County Class C Championship Monday night at 6:30pm at Suffolk County Community College–Brentwood.

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