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Oct 3, 2017 2:00 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton Girls Volleyball On Fire Heading Into 'Hell Week'; Pierson, Westhampton Beach Continue Strong Seasons

Pierson's Samantha Cox serves the ball. DREW BUDD
Oct 3, 2017 2:00 PM

Since September 12, the East Hampton girls volleyball team has rattled off five straight victories without losing a single set. To say the Lady Bonackers (6-2 League VI) are on fire would be a bit of an understatement.

East Hampton’s real test awaits it this week, though.

The Lady Bonackers were slated to face Sayville (8-0 League VI) on Tuesday and will host Westhampton Beach (7-1 League VI) on Thursday, October 5, at 4:30 p.m. before playing a non-league match at Harborfields (4-3 League V) the following day at 5 p.m.

“We are calling it ‘hell week,’” East Hampton head coach Kathy McGeehan said.

Though she believes her team is ready, McGeehan said there are a few key injuries. Senior co-captain Olivia Brauer suffered a sprained ankle in the win at Miller Place on September 27, and starting sophomore libero Zoe Rea Leach has been suffering back spasms that have kept her from playing the last two matches. Sophomore Molly Mamay has done a great job filling in for Leach, McGeehan said, and will continue to do so until Leach is feeling better.

“We are looking forward to the challenges that this week brings so that we can measure our progress versus the top teams [Sayville, Westhampton Beach] in the league,” she said. “Last time versus both the top teams, our serving during key moments in the match let us down. That is one area we expect to show improvement, because we have been working on it. Also, our offense has begun to really click. But we will be challenged to keep that offense going versus teams that serve tough and transition well.”

Elle Johnson, a junior, led the Lady Bonackers in their 25-16, 25-10, 25-17 victory at Miller Place last week. She had 13 aces and 21 assists. Sophomore Mikela Junemann led the offense with nine kills.

Pierson/Bridgehampton

The Lady Whalers are off to a strong start in League VIII following its latest pair of 3-0 victories over Southold/Greenport on September 27 and Mercy two days prior. A 5-1 record puts the Lady Whalers in second place behind undefeated Stony Brook (6-0), which handed Pierson its only league loss of the season on September 18.

“The girls are practicing hard and playing the best they can. Super proud of this young group,” Pierson head coach Donna Fischer said.

Stony Brook is the team to beat this year, Fischer said, but if her team continues to work hard, anything is possible. Pierson is scheduled to play at Stony Brook on Monday, October 16, at 4:30 p.m.

Pierson had an easy time with Southold/Greenport last week, winning 25-15, 25-14, 25-13. It was the team’s “Dig Pink” game, raising awareness of breast cancer. Samantha Cox finished with eight aces and seven kills, Hannah Tuma had seven blocks, Aziza El had five blocks and Sofia Mancino finished with 22 assists.

Pierson had lost its first set to Mercy, 25-22, on September 25 but came back and won, 25-13, 25-11, 25-14. Mancino record three aces and 27 assists, Gylia Dryden had five aces, three kills and three blocks, Tuma finished with seven blocks and four aces, Leigh Hatfield had six aces and five kills, and Celia Barranco finished with four kills.

Southampton

The Lady Mariners won back-to-back 3-0 matches over Babylon and Hampton Bays on September 5 and 7, but they have since then dropped their past three matches to fall to 2-4 in League VII.

Hampton Bays

The Lady Baymen are 2-5 overall (1-5 League VII). Their most recent victory was a 3-2 non-league win over Pierson on September 20.

Westhampton Beach

The 7-1 Lady Hurricanes are enjoying yet another strong season, even though a 3-2 loss to Sayville at home back on September 18 threw a bit of a monkey wrench in their plans for winning another league title. But those hopes are still very much alive.

The Lady Golden Flashes won the first two sets of that match, 25-21, 25-22, before Westhampton Beach figured out Sayville’s top hitter, Melanie O’Hoppe, and were able to force a fifth set after winning the third and fourth sets by consecutive 25-15 scores. The Lady Canes led the decisive final set 8-4 before O’Hoppe got going again and led Sayville to a 25-23 victory, clinching the match for the still-undefeated Lady Flashes (8-0).

O’Hoppe had 39 kills, and Westhampton Beach head coach Lenny Zaloga said she was the difference.

“I’m hoping that she just had the match of her life, because we do have to face her again,” he said.

Since then, the Lady Canes have rattled off three wins, including a 3-2 non-league victory at rival Eastport South Manor on September 26. It was a hard-fought match on both sides and included a 30-28 victory for Westhampton Beach in the third set. Senior Shannon Hewlett finished with 24 kills, senior Smiltene Jankunaite had eight blocks, and sophomore Isabelle Smith had 85 digs. Smith leads the state in recorded digs with 323 this season.

Westhampton Beach will be at East Hampton on Thursday, October 5, at 4:30 p.m. and then will play a non-league match at Kings Park on Tuesday, October 10. Zaloga said that match will be a barometer showing how his team stacks up against undefeated Kings Park, but he’s focusing more on league matches against East Hampton, and at Sayville on October 18 at 4 p.m.

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