Yesterday afternoon, the volleyball team clinched at least a share of the PSAA East Division Championship with a 3-0 win over Long Island Lutheran in a game that was billed as the PSAA Event of the Week. The win completed a season sweep of the Crusaders while moving the Bears to 6-0 in league play and dropping LuHi to 5-2.
In the Bears’ first match-up with the Crusaders, they fell behind early only to storm back and take set one, 25-23, en route to a sweep. This afternoon, set one followed a similar script as LuHi came out hitting while the Bears committed several unforced errors to find themselves behind, 7-14. They still trailed 9-16 when they put together their first run of the day, a six-point spurt punctuated by a pair of Shannuel Lamptey kills and two Liz Robbins aces, to pull within 15-16. LuHi recovered to extend their lead back to 18-15, but the Bears climbed all the way back to knot the match, 18-18, after a Sydnie Beausoleil ace. LuHi pulled ahead 19-18, but a Beausoleil kill tied it again. LuHi inched forward 20-19, but the Bears again equalized. With the game on the line, Mercedes Alvarez took over control of the serve and single-handedly ended the taut opening round with four aces over the final five points as the Bears took the opener, 25-20.
In set two, the Bears found themselves in a similar position, trailing 7-14. They were still behind 9-16 when they reeled off five straight points to edge within 14-16, but LuHi stymied multiple attempts at a Stony Brook run with numerous clutch shots. The Crusaders held a 21-19 lead and looked poised to be the first team to take a set off Stony Brook this season, but the Bears rose to the challenge. Kills by Beausoleil and Lamptey tied the game at 21-21. Another Lamptey kill gave the Bears a brief lead before the Crusaders tied it again, then took a 23-22 lead. The Bears followed with three straight points to steal set two, including an epic final point that saw both defenses absorb potential kills before LuHi found the net to fall behind 0-2.
Set three remained close in the early moments as the teams were tied at 1-1, 2-2, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 9-9, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13, and 14-14. The Bears finally gained some separation when a Bekah Detwiler kill gave them a 16-14 edge before four consecutive Beausoleil aces pushed the advantage to 20-14. An Alvarez kill followed a Detwiler rocket that ricocheted off the ceiling, to push the lead to 23-15. The Bears moved within a point of the win at 24-17, but the Crusaders didn’t go without a fight, pulling within 21-24 before sending a serve long to end the threat.
The Bears are back in action this afternoon with a league match-up at Our Savior with a chance to win the East Division title outright.