BAYMEN 3, WILDCATS 1
For five members of the Shoreham-Wading River girls volleyball team, a trip to the playoffs was a long time in the making.
The quintet had spent three years on the varsity and two of them even played for the Wildcats as freshmen.
So playing in their first postseason match, it’s easy to see why the team was a little nervous at the start of its four-game loss at Hampton Bays Thursday evening in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class B playoffs.
The Baymen took advantage of Shoreham’s early nerves and scored eight straight points early in the first game, en route to a 25-14, 28-26, 18-25, 25-22 victory over the Wildcats.
“We really had to shake off some nerves early on,” said SWR coach Katherine Consorte. “We came out nervous and excited. Once we got control of those nerves, we played even with them the rest of the match.”
But it was too late.
The match ultimately hung in the balance of a back-and-forth second game. Shoreham-Wading River (8-8) jumped out to a big 17-10 advantage, only to watch Hampton Bays (12-4) battle right back. The Baymen caught the Wildcats at 19 apiece and went on to close the game, which saw seven lead changes and four timeouts called, 28-26 for a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Wildcats finally broke through with a 25-18 win in the third game, which saw them lead by as much as eleven points, but a 25-22 loss in the fourth game put an end to their season. SWR once led 22-18 in the final game.
“It was actually a really exciting match,” Coach Consorte said. “My girls fought right to the very end.”
Wildcat Emma Houlihan led all players with 19 kills. Teammate Chelseas Hughes added 14 more kills and six blocks. Tori Robinson chipped in with 33 assists.
Shoreham-Wading River had won two matches in a row heading into the postseason and four of its past five.
But the Wildcats had already lost 3-0 twice in the regular season to the Baymen, who entered the playoffs ranked No. 4 and one spot ahead of No. 5 SWR.
For Coach Consorte it marks the end of her most successful season as Shoreham-Wading River coach, reaching the playoffs for the first time since she took over the program in 2006.
“It was an absolutely amazing season,” she said afterward. “It’s been a ride. I’m so proud of these girls.”
Andrea Tufano had a team-high 10 kills and three blocks to lead the Baymen. Megan Walker chipped in with nine kills and 14 digs. Lauren Wienclawski added five aces.
Hampton Bays will now move on to play top-ranked Elwood-John Glenn in the Class B semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Glenn is vying for its 11th straight Long Island Class B title.