It happened quickly.
With one well-placed spike, the fifth-seeded Eastport South Manor girls volleyball team’s season ended, and fourth seed Deer Park survived to move on to the Class A semifinals to face top-seeded Kings Park.
Trailing, 23-19, in the decisive fifth game, Deer Park rallied from behind to serve with a crucial one-point lead, 25-24. Eastport South Manor desperately needed a side-out to tie the game, but it wasn’t to be. The Falcons slammed the door with a knockout kill to end the game and advance.
It was a disappointing finish for the Lady Sharks who had lost the first game, 25-20, but bounced back to win games two and three convincingly, 25-16 and 25-18 behind the stellar play of Cassandra Minogue (16 kills), Brittany Boccio (16 kills), Morgan Johnson (11 kills) and setter Nikki Illuzi (38 assists). The Lady Sharks were firing on all cylinders from precision serves, timely kills, and splendid passing and looked poised to finish off the favored Lady Falcons on the road. But Deer Park weathered the storm and proved it was determined to get back in the match by winning a very close game four, 25-23.
In the deciding game five, Eastport South Manor held the lead most of the way, but again the Lady Falcons found a way to turn the momentum and get themselves back in the game. ESM squandered leads of 11-7, 20-14, and 23-19, and having used all their remaining time outs to try and stall Deer Park’s momentum, could not put the game away.
“You have to give credit to Deer Park,” ESM head coach Don Consorte said. “They stuck it out both with the game and under the circumstances with the recent storms. Being down a few times and never giving up is a sign of a good team. They were better than us on that day.”
“I’m proud of my kids,” Consorte added. “Sometimes things work out positively, sometimes they don’t.”