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Sep 13, 2018 1:46 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Lady Bonac Volleyball Announces Its Position Among County's Top Teams In First Two Victories

The Lady Bonackers celebrate their first win at Westhampton Beach in over four years. DREW BUDD
Sep 25, 2018 1:32 PM

With Sayville and Westhampton Beach—co-League VI champs from a season ago—on the schedule to start the season, the East Hampton girls volleyball team was going to find out early on what this season would have in store for them. Were the Lady Bonackers going to be able to stand up to the perennially strong teams, not only in the league, but from around Suffolk County?

They answered that question with a resounding yes.

After easily dispatching Sayville in three sets at home in the season opener on September 4, East Hampton defeated host Westhampton Beach, 3-1, on September 12, marking the first time it has won in Westhampton Beach in at least four years. The Lady Bonackers (4-0 League VI) went ahead and defeated Rocky Point on Friday, took first in the gold division of the Eastport South Manor Tournament on Saturday and then defeated Amityville on Monday.

“I guess the cat’s out of the bag,” East Hampton head coach Kathy McGeehan said with a smile after her team’s latest victory. “It’s a long season, but, we knew coming in that we had to be ready and the girls did everything they could to get ready.

“We’re thrilled about it … I don’t want to think beyond every match, so, we’re where we need to be right now.”

East Hampton took the first set on Wednesday, 25-13, but Westhampton Beach responded nicely in the second set, knotting the match at 1-1 with a 25-15 win. The third set was close throughout, but East Hampton held on for the 25-23 victory on an unforced error by the Lady Hurricanes. The Lady Bonackers wound up taking the fourth set, 25-18, to win the match.

East Hampton senior captain Elle Johnson had 38 assists in the win at Westhampton Beach, one more than what she had against Sayville.

“Since I’ve been in high school we’ve never won against Westhampton before. It’s something we’ve been striving for, for a really long time,” she said. “It feels really, really good to be able to bring home that win. We’ve worked really hard all summer—there are lots of girls who are doing stuff in the offseason—so it’s really just a testament to how hard we’ve worked, basically outside of the season.

“We were third in the league last year behind Sayville and Westhampton, so this is really big for us.”

Senior Madyson Neff had a well-rounded game for East Hampton. She led the team in both digs (21) and service aces (6) and was second in kills (10). Junior Mikela Junemann has started the season with back-to-back matches with 11 kills. Junior Zoe Rae Leach had 18 digs, senior Ella Gurney had eight kills, and senior Nicole Realmuto had six kills.

“I think the beauty of Bonac this year is the senior leadership. I have 11 returning players from last year,” McGeehan said. “We have a core group of kids who have been together now for three years. The current juniors who are starting blend together for a team that, in a match like this, [was] able to keep its composure. We’ve had the talent before, we finally have the experience, and it made a difference.”

Westhampton Beach, which is coming off its fourth straight county final appearance last season, rebounded from last week’s loss with a 3-1 victory at Islip on Friday to move to 3-1 on the season. Head coach Lenny Zaloga said his team is in the opposite situation of East Hampton, with just two returning starters—junior Isabelle Smith and senior Cortina Green. At one point, Zaloga noted, the Lady Canes had three sophomores on the floor, including a key position at setter, something that can make the difference in a match.

“In the third set, we were one mental error away from winning,” he said. Had the Lady Canes won the third set, he said, “we go up, 2-1, and then they’re thinking, ‘Oh God, we’re going to lose to Westhampton again. Instead they’re like, ‘Oh God, we’re going to win against Westhampton.”

Smith had 32 digs for the Lady Canes while Green had eight kills. Senior Juliette Seeliger and junior Michelle Kryl tied for the team-high in kills with nine. Kryl also had five solo blocks while senior Maura Pesce had three, and sophomore setter Olivia Jayne had 24 assists.

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