By Gavin Menu
The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls volleyball team won just one game all of last season. It took one match — the first of the season — for the Lady Whalers to match that total this fall.
“So we’re off to a good start,” said Donna Fischer, who takes the reigns from Stacey DeRobertis as head coach this season after having coached at the middle school level for the last five years.
Pierson traveled to play Class C rival Port Jefferson last Thursday, September 12 and came away with a convincing 3-1 win (28-26, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17) to kick off the 2013 campaign.
The Lady Whalers were brought back to earth on Monday, however, falling to perennial volleyball powerhouse Shelter Island, which knocked off the Lady Whalers in their home opener in straight sets (25-13, 25-17, 25-10).
“Shelter Island is a small school and volleyball is the sport of choice,” Fischer said about the Lady Indians, who were undefeated at both the varsity and JV levels in League VIII play last fall. “And they play year-round.”
While Shelter Island graduated seven seniors last year, they still returned a strong, albeit young, team this fall. Pierson, meanwhile, has been building its own program, which now has six seniors and five juniors with important experience on their side.
Seniors Lily Kunzeman and Jennah Hochstedler will be the team’s top outside hitters this year, with another senior, Bridget Canavan, at opposite hitter. Shannon Keane, a junior, is the team’s top server and plays middle blocker alongside senior Tatyana Dawson, who, along with Hochstedler and back row reserve Jada Pinkney, are students at Bridgehampton High School.
Senior May Evjen is the team’s top setter and junior Morgan Vaughn will play libero. Sydney Mitchell, a senior, is another strong server who helps lead the back row.
Junior Colleen Samot backs up the back row and Maria Florez will see time at outside hitter.
Against Port Jefferson, Keane had 17 serves, five aces and six kills. Kunzeman led the team with 20 serves while Vaughn had eight digs.
Against Shelter Island on Monday, Evjen led the team with seven assists while Keane had six kills and three blocks. The match was close in the second game, but Shelter Island exerted its dominance in the third to pull away with a relatively easy win.
“This was their first home match, so maybe there were some jitters,” Fischer said afterwards. “But I think the girls hustled just as hard as they did against Port Jeff.”
The Lady Whalers played at Ross last night after press time, and will be at Shoreham-Wading River today, September 19, at 4:30 p.m. The next home game will be Tuesday, September 24 against Greenport-Southold.