At first glance, the scores from the Hampton Bays girls volleyball team’s 3-0 playoff loss to undefeated Elwood/John Glenn on Friday seem to indicate that the match was a blowout. But Lady Baymen head coach Andy Fotopoulos didn’t see it that way.
In fact, he said he was much happier with his team’s effort against the defending Class B state champions than he was last year, when the Lady Baymen were bounced from the playoffs by the formidable Lady Knights in a match in which they were never a serious threat.
This time around, Hampton Bays played tough in the first set, keeping it to an 11-9 deficit to start off, before ultimately succumbing, 25-11, in that first set. Glenn went on to win the next two sets, 25-9 and 25-7, but Hampton Bays was frisky in the second set as well, limiting the deficit to 8-5 early on.
Considering the fact that Glenn was not only undefeated all year but didn’t drop a single set to any of its opponents, Fotopoulos was proud of his team’s performance. Glenn is typically strongest in the first sets of its matches, allowing teams only single-digit scores a majority of the time. In their Class B semifinal win over Hampton Bays last year, the Lady Knights allowed the Lady Baymen only three points in the first set.
Glenn, as predicted, went on to win the county Class B title against East Hampton the following day, sweeping the Lady Bonackers as well (25-14, 25-15 and 25-15). The Lady Bonackers finished second in League VI to Glenn, and their only losses of the regular season came against the Lady Knights, a pair of sweeps. In the rest of their wins, East Hampton won by sweeps—which gives a sense of just how strong a team Glenn is.
“I thought we played great,” Fotopoulos said. “We came out strong. In that first game, Glenn always comes out strong and really tries to put you away. Our goal was to win, of course, but we just wanted to have a better showing than we did last year. We didn’t back down.”
Fotopoulos also pointed out that he utilized all 16 of his players that day, while Glenn kept its starters on the court for the entire match.
“He’s looking to win a state championship,” Fotopoulos said of Glenn coach Kevin Harrington’s decision to keep his starters in for the whole match. “He’s not playing around with subbing. He’s trying to refine what he’s doing.”
One factor that makes the loss to Glenn tough to swallow, however, is the fact that Hampton Bays is just over the cusp in terms of enrollment for being a Class B school. A student body population of 30 fewer kids, Fotopoulos said, would have put his team in Class C, where there is a good chance it could have won the county title. The Lady Baymen swept Babylon, this year’s Class C champ, during the regular season.
Despite the loss to Glenn, Fotopoulos said the season was a success overall for his squad. After losing several key players to graduation last year, the Lady Baymen were still one of the top squads in Class B, finishing with a 9-2 record in League VIII, good enough for second place behind Bayport/Blue Point, which was 11-4 overall.
The team will say goodbye to seven seniors: Analise Algieri, Samantha Aube, Colleen Lawrenz, Stephanie Salomon, Andrea Tufano, Lauren Wienclawski and Stephanie Williams. With several key player returning, however, Fotopoulos thinks his squad will be strong again next year. “We’ll be scrappy and I think we’ll be more athletic next year,” he said. “We’ll be okay.”