Playing against some of the top teams in Suffolk County’s top division in high school boys volleyball isn’t easy, as Shoreham-Wading River can attest.
What makes it even more difficult for the Wildcats is that, unlike many of the teams they play, they have only one team member who plays club volleyball, Chris Rottler, a senior outside hitter. The rest of the Wildcats are seasonal players (as in they only play during the school season), said their new coach, Paul Anderson.
That puts the Wildcats at a distinct disadvantage and goes a long way toward explaining the team’s 1-9 record, overall and in Division I. It also doesn’t help that the Wildcats have a small roster, with only eight players on it.
Entering Thursday’s home match against Smithtown East in 18th place among the division’s 21 teams, based on power rankings, the Wildcats had their work cut out for them against the Bulls, who were ninth and chasing a playoff berth.
Although the Wildcats had their moments, Smithtown East’s quality won out. The Bulls won in three tidy games, 25-13, 25-20, 25-14.
Smithtown East (6-5, 6-4) dominated in kills, 31-9, with 10 of those kills coming from Bryan McArdle. Kyle Shaffer provided 20 assists.
The two teams were fairly even through the first half of the first game, before Smithtown East ran off 11 straight points behind William Haff’s serving for a 24-11 lead.
The second game was the closest, tied at 17-17 at one point. But kills down the stretch by McArdle and Liam Waring helped Smithtown East wrap up that game.
In the third game, Smithtown East scored 19 of the last 27 points to finish the match, giving its playoffs prospects a boost.
Shoreham’s setter, Sean King, had 8 assists.
Photo Caption: Shoreham-Wading River (white shirts) lines up for its match against Smithtown East on Thursday. (Credit: Bob Liepa)