Yesterday afternoon, the girls volleyball team won their 32nd consecutive league match and clinched a fourth consecutive regular season championship with a 3-0 sweep over Long Island Lutheran. The victory also clinched the #1 seed and home court advantage for the Bears throughout the playoffs.
The Bears fell behind early, 2-4, on LuHi’s home court, but a Lilly Keegan kill and an Ava McCormick ace pulled them back even before they took a 6-4 lead. A Gillian Bernier kill gave the Brook a 10-7 lead, but LuHi hung tough, tying the score back up at 10-10. Ties at 11-11, 12-12, and 13-13 followed, but a service error by LuHi gave the Bears a 14-13 edge they would not relinquish. With the Brook still ahead 15-14, they used a 6-0 spurt, capped by a pair of Keegan aces, to finally get some breathing room at 21-15. An Ella Middlekauff ace and a McCormick spike put the Bears on the brink before LuHi hit the ball out for a 25-17 opening game win.
In game two, the Bears grabbed a 2-1 advantage early and never gave it back to build a commanding 2-0 lead. Lily Middlekauff slammed a kill off of two LuHi blockers to give the Bears a 4-2 lead and signal they were in full attack mode. Niamh Scanlon followed with a sliding dig that crept over the net and fell for a point and a 7-3 lead. Those two early plays gave the Blue and White plenty of momentum as they failed to be bothered by a LuHi team that never quite went away. Keegan followed with consecutive kills to push the edge to 10-4. After another Keegan kill and a missed serve from McCormick, the Bears held a commanding 19-12 edge with just six points to go, but LuHi reeled off four straight points to pull within 16-19. Coach Allie Kennedy called a time out that may have been just the trick to refocus the Bears as they grabbed the next point and pushed the advantage to 21-16 following a McCormick ace. Kills from Keegan and Scanlon and a Keegan ace followed to give the Brook a 24-17 lead and Bernier closed out the 25-18 win with a kill off of a LuHi blocker.
In game three, the Bears fell behind early, 4-12, as LuHi fought to delay the Bears’ coronation. A Keegan spike and fist pump gave the girls a needed infusion of confidence as they grabbed the next three points to pull within 7-12. LuHi still led 13-7 when the Bears unleashed a 7-0 scoring run, punctuated by three straight Keegan aces, to grab a 14-13 lead. LuHi tied it back up at 14-14, 15-15, and 16-16, but a service error, followed by a rotation error, gave the Brook two points and an 18-16 lead. They would not trail again. With the Bears ahead 20-17, Keegan capped a long rally with a kill to take the last bit of fight out of Lutheran on the way to a 25-20 win.
The league title is the latest in a string that began in 2017, the team’s final year in Section XI. The girls also won PSAA titles in 2018 and 2019. The Bears are back in action this afternoon as they look to close out a fourth straight undefeated regular season vs. Lawrence Woodmere.