The East Hampton girls volleyball team took care of business on its home court on Thursday night, doing what was expected by beating Bayport/Blue Point 3-0 in the semifinals of the Suffolk County Class B tournament. The win put the Lady Bonackers in the county final, where they lost for the third time this season to defending state champion Elwood/John Glenn (see separate article).
The Lady Bonackers looked like a team ready to make a run at the county title on Thursday, although the Lady Phantoms did not go down without a fight. East Hampton won with scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-17. East Hampton looked the sharpest in the second set, when it got off to a 6-0 lead thanks to strong serving from Lydia Budd and nice hitting by Raya O’Neal, who had three consecutive kills to put her team up. Later in the match, three consecutive kills by Lady Bonacker Melanie Mackin gave her team a commanding 17-6 advantage. Not too long after, another kill by Mackin gave East Hampton a 22-7 lead. Bayport made another mini-run, but never truly threatened to win the set.
Strong serving by East Hampton made it tough for Bayport to keep up. The team had nine aces, including four from libero Katie Brierley and three from Maria Montoya, whose blistering fast and low serves often quickly ricocheted off the hands of Bayport players and out of bounds. McGeehan did point out, however, that her team also made nine errors on serve, although she was still happy with the way they played overall in that department. She said keeping Bayport off serve was also important to her team’s success on offense.
“That’s the key to us,” she said. “We like to score points in runs. When we score two, then they have one, then we have one—it’s harder to get back into our sync.”
Mackin led the team with 14 kills while O’Neal contributed with 12. Montoya and Charlotte Wiltshire each had five kills and Carley Seekamp had two. O’Neal also had 15 assists while Lydia Budd had nine.
Brierley led the team with 24 digs and played well in the back row, keeping some tough balls in play. Mackin added 10 digs and O’Neal had 15. Both Lydia and Jenna Budd had seven digs.
Mackin, a senior, and O’Neal, a junior, made program history when they took the court in the county title game on Saturday, becoming the first players in the team’s history to play in three county championship games. They were both on the team that went to the state tournament in 2009 and also played in a county final loss to Bellport in 2010.