By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller
The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls volleyball team went from having one win all of last season to nine this year, including a 3-0 playoff victory over Stony Brook on Friday. The turnaround, led by a core of six seniors and first-year head coach Donna Fischer, has been nothing short of remarkable.
But the Lady Whalers’ party parade was brought to a halt on Monday at Patchogue-Medford High School, where top-ranked Shelter Island cruised in straight sets (25-15, 25-14, 25-21) to win the Suffolk County Class D Championship.
The Lady Indians advanced to play a New York State Regional Semifinal at James O’Neill High School in Fort Montgomery on Wednesday, November 6. With Monday’s win they claimed their 10th straight Suffolk title, a streak of dominance made even more impressive considering the program has gone undefeated against League VIII and Class D opponents for the last five seasons.
Shelter Island’s experience and considerable skill both showed on Monday.
“Usually we start off with high energy in the first game,” Pierson’s senior captain, May Evjen, said afterwards. “We didn’t reach our potential today.”
Evjen will graduate in June along with Bridget Canavan, Sydney Mitchel and Lily Kunzeman, as will Tatyana Dawson and Jennah Hochstedler from Bridgehampton. Together the five seniors helped bring the program from the basement of League VIII to Suffolk County’s biggest stage.
“I’m so glad I’ve been part of this team,” Evjen said. “Coming from winning one game to making it to the championship game is unbelievable. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“Each and every one of them has worked so hard and improved so much,” Fischer added. “We’re going to miss all our seniors.”
Juniors Morgan Vaughn and Shannon Keane will return to lead next year’s team, “and we have a great JV coming up,” Fischer said, perhaps setting the stage for more surprises next season.