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Nov 6, 2018 10:53 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

ESM Defeats Westhampton Beach Boys Volleyball In County Semis

Westhampton Beach sophomore Ryan Barnett sends the ball over the net. DREW BUDD
Nov 6, 2018 11:13 AM

The Eastport South Manor boys volleyball team had, when compared to past seasons, a down year, finishing the regular season with a 6-8 record. Westhampton Beach was coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory after a 7-7 regular season. The thought was that the Sharks were a vulnerable team and the Hurricanes could walk out of the Shark Tank with a big playoff victory when they met up on Friday afternoon in the Suffolk County Division II semifinals.

It’s tough beating tradition, though.

ESM, behind its bevy of postseason experience, defeated Westhampton Beach, playing in its first playoff match in more than a decade, 3-1, advancing to yet another county final where it faced top-seeded Hauppauge on Wednesday. After the Canes won the first set, 25-23, ESM came back and won three consecutive sets, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17.

Westhampton Beach head coach Jackie Reed said she was extremely proud of the way her players competed and that they did everything she and the coaching staff asked them to do, which is tough to do for a team that has no postseason experience. But when a player such as ESM’s Adam Burk (22 kills) gets on a roll, it can sometimes propel a team.

“There’s something to be said for past experience being in a major game like that, having your program go through it, and ESM has been in huge games. They’re consistently in the playoffs, and it’s no wonder that success breeds success,” Reed said. “Do I think they were a better team? I think they were a better team at the time.

“My kids were focused and engaged in what they needed to do,” she continued. “They were there to do a job. We’ve instilled in them—this is a task, get your task done—and I felt they got their tasks done, it just so happens that sometimes one person can be the difference.”

Senior setter Ryan Haber had 20 assists and five blocks in what ended up being his final game on the court for the Canes. Sophomore Ryan Barnett had eight kills, freshman Daniel Haber led the team with 10 kills, and junior libero Matt Lambert had 20 digs.

Ryan Haber will lead what is three seniors graduating from the team this June, with Aidan Sattler and Michael Magill. Reed said all three will be missed. Losing a player like Haber who plays such an important position will be tough, but, she also said that junior Blake Busking was one of the most improved players throughout the season and should step into Haber’s role.

“We still have a strong clientele coming back and they’re very young,” Reed said. “Making the playoffs this season was my expectation for them, it wasn’t theirs. I only hope their expectation is to be in the playoffs next season and hopefully they will meet it.”

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