Pierson Volleyball Rolls to Another Victory

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Nia Dawson spikes the ball at the net as the Lady Whalers beat Port Jefferson on Tuesday. Michael Heller photos

Nia Dawson spikes the ball at the net as the Lady Whalers beat Port Jefferson on Tuesday. Michael Heller photos

By Gavin Menu

Nia Dawson was feeling the love Tuesday night in her home away from home inside the Pierson High School gymnasium. The senior basketball star from Bridgehampton has been making a name for herself on the volleyball court as well, helping lead the Lady Whalers to a 4-0 start in League VIII action.

With cheers of love and adoration raining from a crowd of Bridgehampton faithful, Dawson kept cool and delivered 19 serves, eight kills and three blocks in a 3-2 win over visiting Port Jefferson, which entered the game in second place in the league standings.

Pierson, which moved up to Class C this year with the addition of Dawson and a portion of Bridgehampton’s enrollment numbers, also knocked off McGann-Mercy, 3-1, on September 20 and Greenport/Southold, 3-0, on Friday. All three Pierson victories came against potential opponents when the postseason begins late next month.

Pierson's Olivia Helbing makes a dig against Port Jeff on Tuesday.

Pierson’s Olivia Helbing makes a dig against Port Jeff on Tuesday.

Port Jeff on Tuesday won the first game, 25-22, before Pierson bounced back to take game two, 25-10. The Lady Whalers lost game three, 25-23, but in the end it was Dawson and Pierson seniors Maizy Guyer and Mackenzie Benbenek who turned up the heat as the Lady Whalers cruised in the final two games by scores of 25-10 and 25-11.

“We have a motto and we say ‘Own the net, play with heart,’ and each point counts,” Pierson head coach Donna Fischer said afterward. “Maizy and Nia have been leading the way and Mackenzie has been killing it on the outside. They’re really coming together.”

Just about every member of the Pierson roster played important roles on Tuesday, with juniors Leigh Hatfield and Olivia Helbing scoring important points, while sophomores Hannah Tuma and Sophie Borzilleri and freshman Samantha Cox came up big as well. Senior Chloe Collette-Schindler has been sidelined with a foot injury and is expected to miss at least another two or three weeks.

Dawson missed all of last season after Bridgehampton attempted to form a varsity team of its own, only to have the program fold too late for the students to play at Pierson. Dawson this season is again wearing the scarlet and black and is bringing the Lady Whalers to a whole new level.

“She’s a leader on and off the court and she brings the girls up,” said Fischer. “She’s my go-to girl.”

And she’s feeling plenty of love along the way.

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