By Benito Vila
If Chuck Berry had been writing about this year’s Lady Whaler volleyball squad, “You Never Can Tell” might have started: “It was high school volleyball and their folks all wished them well.”
But just as Pierre and his mademoiselle had a tough start in the song, so did the team this fall; their record stood at 2-4 just three weeks ago, a three-game losing streak smothering a strong start.
Things turned around suddenly though, a win over Ross was followed by wins over Port Jefferson, Southold-Greenport and Mercy, moving the team into third in the standings at 6-4. Last Friday, the Lady Whalers were at Stony Brook and came home with yet another win, clinching a spot in the county Class D playoffs.
In that five-match run, a historic first for the volleyball program, Pierson took 15 out of the 16 games played, the only “extra” game coming against Ross. Coach Stacey Springer called the win over the Lady Bears, “The best win in the six years I’ve been here.”
“Everybody was on that day. We played awesome the whole match–diving, talking, hitting, blocking. Balls were going into the stands and we were going after them.”
While Tanasha Clark had eight kills and Xylia Serafy 21 assists to lead the team statistically, Coach Springer added, “We all hit well: Samara [Finkenauer], Maddy [Puckett], Christina [Martin], Rebecca Speckenbach and Katelyn [Grodsky]. It’s too bad the scorebook doesn’t show everything we did.”
C’est La Vie
The Pierson win streak came to a quick end on Monday on Shelter Island, the league-leaders keeping their perfect season in tact by prevailing 25-20, 25-12 and 25-17. Coach Springer said, “We started well and were ahead by five, but then we got thrown off by one of their servers.”
“After that, we just didn’t have a good game in the second game and the third game got away from us even though we started strong.”
The team still has two matches left on the regular season schedule, hosting Center Moriches this Saturday morning in the Pierson gym at 10 a.m. and traveling to Ross Tuesday for a 4 p.m. start.
It is likely that Pierson will be matched up against 9-3 Stony Brook in the first round of the Class D bracket next Wednesday. The winner will take on Shelter Island in the finals next Friday in Center Moriches.
The current standings call for the Lady Whalers be the visitors next Wednesday. Coach Springer is already looking ahead, hopeful Pierson fans will follow. “It’d be great to get some people to come see us play. Stony Brook always packs their gym and this is a playoff game so there’ll be even more of their fans there.”