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Nov 5, 2018 10:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pierson Girls Volleyball Falls To Mattituck in Suffolk County Class C Championship

Pierson junior Samantha Cox digs a ball. DREW BUDD
Nov 6, 2018 10:48 AM

For a moment, it looked as if the Pierson/Bridgehampton girls volleyball team was going to summon some of the same magic it had last season in this year’s Suffolk County Class C Championship against Mattituck at Shoreham/Wading River High School on Monday.

Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Lady Whalers won back-to-back sets to force a fifth and deciding frame. But the Lady Tuckers proved to be too much and went on to win the match, with scores of 25-17, 25-15, 15-25, 23-25, 25-12. It was the third time this season that Pierson had lost to Mattituck, which made the jump down to Class C this season after being a Class B school in previous years.

Pierson head coach Donna Fischer said after the loss that it was tough preparing the team without sophomore middle Gylia Dryden, who sprained an ankle in a scrimmage at Westhampton Beach this past Thursday. The absence of Dryden forced Fischer to move players around to unfamiliar positions, and it may have led to the slow start that the Lady Whalers had on Monday.

After Mattituck won the first two sets rather handily, Pierson got a nice shot in the arm in the third set behind the serving of freshman Sofia Mancino and the offense of senior hitter Hannah Tuma (10 kills). Then in the fourth set, multiple kills by senior Celia Barranco (13 kills) and aces by junior Olivia Cassone gave the Lady Whalers a late lead. A kill by Mancino (five aces, 28 assists) clinched the fourth set for Pierson.

But in the fifth set, Mattituck junior Viki Harkin became an upstoppable force on offense, and some key serves by senior Jillian Gaffga helped the Lady Tuckers defeat the defending county and Long Island Champion Lady Whalers.

Monday’s loss spells the end for three careers in Barranco, Tuma and Aziza El, all key players to the team this season and during last year’s run, which finished with the program’s first ever state tournament appearance. While the team has some key players returning next season in Cassone, Dryden, Mancino and Sam Cox, Fischer said she’s going to miss her departing seniors.

“Celia, Hannah and Aziza, three big girls in the front row that I’m not going to have next year. They did a great job tonight. I was very proud of them,” Fischer said.

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