By Gavin Menu
The goal of reaching the Suffolk County Class D playoffs has been achieved and now the Pierson-Bridgehampton girls volleyball team needs to find a way to beat perennial champion Shelter Island one way or the other.
The Lady Whalers locked up a playoff berth with a 3-0 win over the Ross School on October 16 and followed that up with an exciting 3-2 win over Greenport-Southold the following day. Pierson improved to 7-3 and as of Tuesday was tied with Stony Brook for second place behind Shelter Island, which is a perfect 9-0 in League VIII play.
During the team’s five-set win over Greenport (25-19, 19-25, 14-25, 25-22, 26-24), the Lady Whalers had to claw their way back from a 2-1 deficit by winning the final two sets, which they did by the most narrow of margins.
“The Greenport match was incredible, the crowd was going crazy,” head coach Donna Fischer said. “The girls played great defense and really rallied from behind and played smart.”
Lillian Kunzeman led the charge with 31 digs, 18 kills and 12 serves while Bridget Canavan chipped in with 22 digs and 13 serves. Senior setter May Evjen had 18 assists, many of which went to Tatyana Dawson and Shannon Keane, who finished with 12 and eight kills, respectively.
The Class D playoffs are tentatively set to begin Thursday, October 31 at 5 p.m. Shelter Island will be the top seed, followed by either Pierson or Stony Brook, which face each other in the regular-season finale tomorrow, October 25, at Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m. The winner of that game will most likely host an opening-round playoff game, while the loser will have to travel.
Greenport could be the fourth Class D school to get into the playoffs, depending on if they can obtain a .500 record during the final week of the season, and would play Shelter Island in the first round.
The Suffolk County Class D Championship is scheduled for Monday, November 4 at St. Joseph’s College, with a time to be determined later.
“With my girls, I think they can definitely do it, if they play up,” Fischer said when asked if her team could win the Suffolk title. “I’m trying to get them to practice harder and play up instead of always coming from behind. We’ll see.”