Volleyball: Girls outlast Pierson, JV shows new strength

What does it take to win a game against an equally talented team? Dedication, training, a game plan and execution of it. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Shelter Island Volleyball had a fierce competition against the Pierson Whalers and came out victorious in a three-set sweep. The victory was especially sweet since we lost to the Whalers 2 sets to 3 in a hard-fought match in September.

One of the most important things about being a team is supporting one another. The volleyball squads embodied that when they turned out at Goat Hill Oct. 5 to see the Island cross country teams compete. Both the boys and the girls ran, with the volleyball team cheering loudly for each athlete as they navigated the tough, hilly course and crossed the finish line. 

Ariana Carter is one of a handful of dual sport athletes, those who compete in two sports in one season. As a senior she is the leader of the small band of athletes who run for the girls’ team. In the meet she posted her best course record, a personal record, as she led the younger athletes to their own much improved times. Ariana also proved she was a team leader on the volleyball court as she mixed up hits and tips and blocked well, posting her volleyball personal best of five kills in the win against Pierson.

The team executed the game plan well, adapting to a more complex attacking strategy to score points, while defense dug up a nice Whaler attack. Angie Rice shined in her high energy defensive role, taking the lion’s share of serve receives and digs.

Lily Page and Mary Gennari were impressive from the service line, keeping the pressure on Pierson’s serve receive. 

Eight missed serves in the third set almost derailed the victory, but the squad remained focused, passionate and supportive throughout and Franny Regan’s sixth kill of the night sealed the deal. The joyous celebration following the 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 win was intensely gratifying as a coach.

Two days later, the Greenport-Southold Clippers got that same thrilling feeling as they outlasted us in a 5-set marathon, rejoicing that their hard work and improvement finally showed up in a tangible way on the scoreboard. After a slow start, the Islanders played well, but without the intensity and urgency needed to match the energy of the Clippers.

Olivia Overstreet, Madigan Teodoru and Alex Burns have been sharing defensive duties with several players over the course of the season. Olivia’s error-free serving and Madi’s ability to switch between various defensive positions allowed us the flexibility to fill in for multiple players. Myla Dougherty was in the hot seat offensively as she battled against a tough block, scoring 11 kills, her best total in any match this season. Dayla Reyes handed out 29 assists in addition to 6 aces and 5 kills of her own.


The JV squad added two victories to its record this past week to pull the record to 5-5 in League VI. Both were exciting matches as they went to “overtime” against Pierson and Greenport.

The Pierson match started slowly, with some miscommunication. As the athletes settled into their roles, the play became more fluid. Maddie Springer dug up a tip to Sophie Clark, who set her back for the kill. Margaret Schultheis’ hustles were great, but the Whalers held on for a 25-18 win. In the second set, SI started showing their firepower. Andrea Napoles got a kill to start the scoring, then Mackenzie Speece-Langendal added another with a heads-up play at the net. Great 3-hit play and strong serving tied up the score 17-17. Danae Carter’s quick feet helped her to pass from many areas of the court, and her emerging setting skills were helpful during broken plays. Back and forth play pushed the score to 24-24 before a nice spike ended the set 26-24, and set up the tiebreaker by the skin of our teeth.

The third set showcased Sophie Clark’s tough serve. She scored 9 consecutive points, with the Pierson coach calling 2 different timeouts to try and stop her. Kaitlyn Gulluscio swung away at sets, and Harper Congdon also kept the Whalers on their heels with her tough serves. After a great rally by both teams, SI sealed the win 25-18.

The match against the Greenport/Southold Clippers was a great study in how well several of the players have improved. Dariana Duran Alvarado has worked hard on her serving and scored two aces during the contest. Johanna Kaasik has just started playing in matches, but moved and passed well to the delight of her coach and teammates. Danae Carter likewise has greatly improved her serving and led a comeback to help sweep the Clippers in three straight.

With the end of the season in sight, the teams are working hard to fine tune their offense, be as consistent as possible on their defense and enjoy every minute.

The final home game was slated for Wednesday this week against Babylon. This is our Dig Pink breast cancer awareness fundraiser and our senior game.

Friday, Oct. 15, the teams travel to the Ross School. Varsity’s final league match will be against league-leading Port Jefferson on Monday, Oct. 18, while JV will finish up its schedule with a trip to Babylon on Oct. 22.