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09/07/15 10:00am
09/07/2015 10:00 AM


As a student teacher last year at Pulaski Street Elementary School, Kristin Andrejack got the opportunity to work alongside varsity volleyball coach Amy Greene and assist her former team. Andrejack, a 2010 Riverhead graduate, will step into a bigger role this year as the team’s head coach.


10/23/14 10:34pm
10/23/2014 10:34 PM
Sam Henry, one of Greenport/Southold's eight seniors, prepares to serve. Henry made 13 digs against Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Sam Henry, one of Greenport/Southold’s eight seniors, prepares to serve. Henry made 13 digs against Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)

CLIPPERS 25, 25, 25, MONARCHS 13, 23, 14

Jenna Standish had been looking forward to Senior Day 2014 ever since she was a freshman. The senior outside hitter and her teammates on the Greenport/Southold high school girls volleyball team found the wait to be a worthwhile one.

Standish made a special day even more memorable by her fine all-around play as the Clippers took down Bishop McGann-Mercy in three games and eliminated the Monarchs from playoff contention on Thursday. The playoff-bound Clippers played what their coach, Mike Gunther, said was one of their best matches of the season, a 25-13, 25-23, 25-14 win in their final home match of the regular season at Greenport High School. (more…)

10/10/14 7:03pm
10/10/2014 7:03 PM
Riverhead senior Rachel Doroski rises up for a hit in Friday's match against Smithtown West. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead senior Rachel Doroski rises up for a hit in Friday’s match against Smithtown West. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


Recapturing last year’s jubilant run to the playoffs, the first in three seasons, was always going to be a challenge for the Riverhead Blue Waves this season. On top of losing several of last year’s key players to graduation, the Blue Waves bumped up a league, pitting them against a host of new, and as they’ve quickly discovered, talented teams. (more…)

09/05/14 4:00pm
09/05/2014 4:00 PM
Joscelin Morrow, an all-county libero, is a big part of Riverhead's defense. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Joscelin Morrow, an all-county libero, is a big part of Riverhead’s defense. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)


This year Riverhead High School’s girls volleyball team has been moved from League IV to League III, where it will play against bigger schools. In trading places with Centereach, Riverhead is the only newcomer to League III, a mystery team to the rest of the league, if you will.

Riverhead coach Amy Greene likes that.

“We have nothing to lose this year and everything to gain because League III knows nothing about us,” she said. “… I think they should see us as a threat.”


10/31/13 7:42pm
10/31/2013 7:42 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead's Danielle Thomas tries to put a hit past Ward Melvile's Alex Stein.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead’s Danielle Thomas tries to put a hit past Ward Melville’s Alex Stein.


The Riverhead and Ward Melville girls volleyball teams might have wondered if Halloween 2013 would bring them a trick or a treat. The truth is, the spectators were the ones who were in for a treat.

Playoff volleyball on Halloween.

“It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Riverhead coach Amy Greene.

And not many teams are better than Ward Melville. It was favored Ward Melville that won the entertaining, well-played playoff match on its home court Thursday. After dropping the first game, No. 6 seed Ward Melville took the next three games for a 21-25, 25-13, 25-14, 25-14 victory in the Suffolk County Class AA Tournament first-round match.

No. 11 Riverhead (11-5), playing its first playoff match in three years, knew it was in for a tough match against Ward Melville (12-2), which reached the state tournament last year for the eighth time in team history. The Patriots are co-champions of League I along with Sachem East.

It looks as if Ward Melville has the ability to return to the state tournament this year.

“I feel good about them,” the team’s 15-year coach, Charlie Fernandes, said. “I do. I feel like we’re a very good team. I think we’ve been a little overlooked. I’m fine with that. We know what’s going on in our gym.”

Riverhead experienced it firsthand, and gave a good account of itself in the process. The Blue Waves went with a starting lineup of Megan Brewer, Dezarea Brown, Hali Martens, Joanna Messina, Danielle Thomas and Sara Tucci, with Joscelin Morrow playing libero. They won the first game, a tight, back-and-forth affair in which Ward Meville committed 15 unforced errors. The Patriots did not look happy as they headed to their bench before the start of the second game.

“I think we woke up some beast,” said Greene.

Maybe so.

Ward Melville then raised the level of its play noticeably. The Patriots never trailed in the second and fourth games and were behind only briefly in the third game.

“They got a little scare put into them, and that’s not always the worst thing,” Fernandes said. “I liked how we finished today. We have a tendency sometimes to run really hard and maybe taper off when we get a five- or six-point lead. We kept coming today.”

And how.

Carly Backiel, a junior setter, provided the Patriots with 38 assists.

The Patriots have hitters, too. With Backiel’s accurate setting, Ward Melville put away 36 kills, 14 of them coming from Amanda DiGirolamo and 9 from Alex Stein, to wrap up its fifth straight win. Leigh Gulbransen went 26 of 28 serving with 4 aces.

“Alex Stein can bury a ball,” Fernandes said. “Christine Donat can bury a ball. Amanda DiGirolamo almost is so good that you don’t notice how good she is. She’s so quietly effective. The kid hit like .500 tonight.”

Tucci had 22 assists for Riverhead.

Players on both sides were committed on defense, flinging themselves to the floor to pop up balls and digging drives that often don’t come back. It surely wasn’t the sort of volleyball that is played at the family picnic.

“It was good volleyball,” Fernandes said.  “… Big-kid volleyball is what I call it. We were blocking and swinging at each other, and that’s what you want to do. It’s intense. It’s in your face.”

Fernandes was complimentary of the way Riverhead played. “I think Riverhead is a program on the rise,” he said. “I have to give a lot of props to their coach. I think she’s doing a great job. … She has that program on the right path.”

What has helped Riverhead the most this season?

Brewer didn’t hesitate to provide an answer. “Hard practices,” she said. “We definitely go hard at practice. Our coach really works us.”

Greene said she is constantly pushing her players to improve. That may explain the team’s strong showing this year.

“This season has probably been the best I’ve seen Riverhead play,” said Greene, a former standout for the Blue Waves who went on to become an All-Conference outside hitter at Eastern Connecticut State University. “We finished the season as strong as they possibly can. They should have no regrets. I have no regrets. They put their hearts out there, and even in that last game, that fourth game when we were down by so much, they never gave up.”

The loss marked the end of the high school playing careers of five Riverheaders: Allison Fox, Brewer, Martens, Thomas and Tucci. They leave the team with some nice memories.

“I couldn’t ask for a better season,” Martens said. “It was just great. We’ve come so far. I’m just like happy that we even made it to playoffs.”


10/18/13 7:37pm
10/18/2013 7:37 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead junior Joscelin Morrow (left) and senior Hali Martens celebrate a Blue Waves’ point in Friday’s playoff-clinching win over Deer Park.

BLUE WAVES 3, FALCONS 1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-12)

There was never a thought of if the Riverhead girls volleyball team would clinch a playoff spot. For coach Amy Greene, it was only a matter of when.

As the Blue Waves celebrated in the aftermath of Friday’s playoff-clinching win over Deer Park at Riverhead High School, Greene had a surprise for her players: white T-shirts proudly proclaiming the Blue Waves are playoff bound.

“These were a surprise,” said senior Hali Martens after the team posed for photos in their new shirts. “We didn’t know we were getting them, so I guess coach had a lot of faith in us.”

The Blue Waves had four matches remaining beginning Friday and needed just one win to guarantee their first playoff trip since 2010.

“I tell them I have more confidence in them than the world,” Greene said. “So I believed that they were going to get there. Whatever game they got there, those shirts were going to come out for them. It’s a little extra boost.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior Danielle Thomas rises up at the net.

For the five seniors on varsity it’ll be their first time playing in a playoff match. The playoffs are slated to begin Oct. 31.

“It’s awesome because we’ve always been the underdog,” Martens said. “Now we came back and we’re better than ever.”

It almost looked as if the T-shirts might have be stored away for at least another match when the Falcons came out and took Game 1, 25-23, after holding off a late rally from the Blue Waves.

It was the fourth straight match Riverhead lost Game 1, but the Waves bounced back to dominate the rest of the way. Riverhead won the next three games 25-14, 25-14, 25-12.

Greene said a pep rally at the end of the school day to kick off homecoming festivities might have zapped some of the team’s energy.

“I think the girls were a little bit drained from exerting all their energy there and then coming into here,” she said. “We just needed to wake up a little bit on the court again.”

Deer Park came into the match with only one league win on its resume. But the Falcons (2-10 overall) came out strong, not giving away any easy points to Riverhead (9-3 overall) and forcing the Blue Waves to make plays.

Martens said improving communication on the court was a key to the turnaround.

Riverhead’s last playoff appearance came in 2010 when the Blue Waves, as the No. 14 seed, lost to Smithtown East in the first round.

“The loss kind of motivated us,” she said.

Martens had a big day playing outside hitter for Riverhead with 6 kills and 10 digs. Junior libero Joscelin Morrow had 41 digs and 6 service aces.

Late in Game 2, with the Falcons still hanging around, Morrow and Martens both came up with several big plays to close out the game. Morrow took the serve with Riverhead ahead 20-14. The Blue Waves closed out the game with five straight points, including a Martens kill and ace from Morrow. Middle hitter Megan Brewer delivered the final point with a kill.

In Game 3, Riverhead jumped ahead 12-4 and never looked back. Game 4 was similar as the Blue Waves led 10-1, then 17-3.

“Once we [woke up], they were relentless,” Greene said. “They were all over the floor and they were exciting to watch.”

There was some good news with the return of sophomore Dezarea Brown, who had missed a few matches with an ankle injury, Greene said. Brown played sparingly in the middle as Greene wanted to bring back along slowly.

“She came back and it was like she never left,” Martens said.

Greene said Brown’s return just adds to the Blue Waves’ depth. In her absence junior Rachel Clement got more playing time.

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead coach Amy Greene had shirts made up for her team to celebrate clinching a playoff spot.

Senior Sara Tucci had 20 assists and a pair of service aces for Riverhead.

“She does a great job getting to the ball,” Greene said. “She put her body out on the floor a few times. And she hustles to set every ball.”

With one goal complete now in making the playoffs, the Blue Waves will turn their attention to the next goal: closing out the regular season with three more wins and beating Bellport Oct. 28.

The Clippers, who are 8-1 in league, defeated Riverhead in a grueling five-set match two weeks ago.

“Our goal is to beat Bellport,” Martens said. “That’s a really big goal we have.”