Lady Whalers Kick Off Homecoming in Style

Pierson's Gylia Dryden goes up for a spike against Center Moriches on Friday, September 21. Michael Heller photos

The word of the game was “relentless” and the target of the strategy was junior libero Oliva Cassone. The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls volleyball team cruised past Center Moriches, 3-0, to kick off homecoming weekend on Friday, September 21, and it was Cassone who led the way with six serves, including a pair of aces, nine digs and five assists. She made a series of outstanding defensive plays and consistently kept points alive for the Lady Whalers.

“I think they were a little distracted by the festivities this evening and today,” Pierson head coach Donna Fischer said later. “But we’re working with the libero on the way she moves in the backcourt, and she’s doing great. Her serve has come a long way.”

Junior Olivia Cassone digs a serve against Center Moriches.

Despite sweeping all three games against Center Moriches, every game felt close, with Pierson winning 25-16, 25-21 and 25-18. The Lady Whalers also swept Shelter Island, 3-0, on Monday and improved to 3-1 in League VIII (6-1 overall), their only loss coming in the season opener against Mattituck on September 5. Those teams will face each other again on Monday, October 1, in a game that will likely determine the league title.

“We can do it,” Fischer said about knocking off Mattituck, which moved down this season from Class B to Class C, meaning Pierson will likely see the Lady Tuckers in the postseason as well. “They know what they have to do and what they have their sights set on,” she added.

Playing in front of lively crowd for homecoming on Friday, Pierson actually fell behind Center Moriches early in every game. In game one, Pierson senior Hannah Tuma flipped the score to 11-8 and Sam Cox and Aziza El each served consecutive points to put the game away.

Pierson jumped out early in game two, but again fell behind, only to see Cox return to the service line and win four straight points to tie the game at 9-9. With the game tied at 15, Cassone served five winners, and later made an incredible defensive save, as the Lady Whalers put the second game away. The third game followed in similar fashion, with Center Moriches taking an early 6-2 lead, before letting it slip away to the Lady Whalers.

Cox finished with four aces and three kills, while Gylia Dryden had four kills and four blocks. The team’s freshman setter, Sofia Mancino, had 16 assists.

Pierson will play three straight road matches starting at Greenport on Friday, September 28, at 4 p.m. Following an 8:30 a.m. match at Shoreham-Wading River on Saturday morning, Pierson will travel to Mattituck for a 4:30 p.m. start on Monday, October 1.

Samantha Cox with a jump serve against Center Moriches in a match that kicked off Homecoming Weekend at Pierson High School.