Undefeated volleyball team shares top spot in league

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO | Teamwork and constant attack has been the hallmark of the varsity girls volleyball team this season.

It is still relatively early in the season, but the Shelter Island varsity girls volleyball team  already has focused its goal on getting to the playoffs.

The varsity team is 5-0, and has faced its three other Suffolk County Class D foes, Stony Brook, Pierson and the Ross School. Interestingly, both Pierson and Stony Brook also have winning records at this point of the season and are sitting atop League 8 with undefeated Shelter Island.

The Island girls took on the Ross Cosmos in their Center for Wellness on Thursday, September 26, with the varsity teams facing off first. MeMe Lawrence set the tone at the start with her intimidating, tough serves. Erin Colligan has taken the “attack, attack, attack” mantra to heart, and was taking good swings, hitting at the ball from all over the court. But it isn’t just the hard hits that’s keeping this team in the winning column. Ross blocked an Island hit and as they celebrated, we calmly recovered the ball, continued to play and won the point.

The first set ended at 25-13.

The second set started inauspiciously as our first two servers hit the ball into the net. We quickly righted the ship as Logan Pendergrass crushed an overpass and Kelly Colligan served steadily. With the Island ahead 15-4, Ross’s  number 47 stepped to the serving line and unleased a very tough serve. Uncharacteristically, we shanked the ball out of bounds, but Erin hustled off the court, made the save and sister Kelly launched it back over the net. Serina Kaasik handled a pass, and MeMe set it back to her. Seri hit it back over for a kill to make it 18-8. We began coasting a bit, and another tough Ross server went on a 7 point run, pulling the score 18-15. The Island shook it off and Margaret Michalak served 7 straight for us. Bre Rietvelt blocked to seal the set, 25-15.

We have been working on combination plays, and the third set allowed us to show it off. MeMe set a beautiful ball to Bre Rietvelt as Margaret Michalak screened the play. Bre’s kill ended the set and match, 25-15.

On Monday the Greenport/Southold team visited Shelter Island, and even though young and inconsistent they kept the Blue and Gray on their toes. Margaret Michalak dazzled the crowd with a couple of terrific defensive plays: in the first set she had a pancake — throwing herself to the ground she got her hand flat on the floor to prevent it from hitting. Her alert teammates continued the play, with Logan converting the point with a kill. In the third and final set Margaret dove for a short ball, quickly rolling to her feet as the ball dropped untouched to the other side. Logan also impressed me with her blocking — she scored 3 points on blocks alone. Shelter Island swept Greenport in three: 25-21, 25-18, 25-16.

One of the things I have been impressed with is the team’s ability to improvise on broken plays. They rarely panic and just put the ball back over- nearly every play is an attack. One of the disappointments so far this season is our serving consistency. While our signature aggressive serving is riskier, we have yet to get through a match with less than 9 service errors. Something to improve as we work our way into the mid-season.

JV scores back to back wins

After its first win over Stony Brook at the start of the season, the JV squad lost three matches in a row. However, JV was back to its winning ways over this past week, evening its record at 3-3.

At Ross Amira Lawrence and Colibri Lopez led the offense to a 25-14 win in the first set. Melissa Frasco used her rapid-fire serving to jumpstart the second set, 5-0. Elizabeth Dunning was calm and focused, showing her great growth this season in serving and passing. Taylor Rando handled the setting duties. As Shawna Goody complimented the team for not falling apart and staying positive, they rolled to a 25-20 victory. With the match already won, Coach Karen Gibbs took the opportunity to vary the line up to give playing time to all the athletes. Ross took the final frame15-25.

During the September 30 Greenport match, the JV showcased its continued growth. Consistent serving runs by Shawna Goody, Taylor Rando and Julia Labrozzi powered the team to a 25-8 first set victory. Genesis Urbanez has noticeably improved her confidence on the court, and Alexis Perlaki’s serving run, accented by an attempted jump serve led the squad to a 25-9 win. The third set was also a W- 25-18. Karen Gibbs calm but focused teaching methods seem to be doing the trick. The team is playing well and having fun.