Girls’ Volleyball Serves Another Solid Season

The Wantagh girls’ volleyball team was, as it is every season, one of the top teams in the county. The Warriors won 7 out of their first 8 games but then hit an uncharacteristic streak, losing three straight to Manhasset, Mineola and Garden City.

But Wantagh then fought back into winning form. Among its victims was South Side. Though in the playoff semifinals the Warriors fell the Cyclones (in a frustrating five-setter) who went on to become Nassau County A Champs.

As the No. 3 seed in the county the girls first took out Hewlett 3-0, led by Sarah Corry and Grace Riddle. Then the Warriors met up with North Shore in the quarters and again it was a 3-0 victory, with Kayla Rende’s 23 assists leading the way this time. But Wantagh fell to South Side in a heartbreaking 5th set, 26-24. Wantagh had defeated South Side twice during the regular season by a 3-1 score each time.

In that South Side match Wantagh took the first set, 25-20. However, it struggled in the second set and lost. The Warriors came back and lost a close third set to go down, 2-1. Rachel McCartin and Katie Conklin stepped it up to help lead the Warriors to a 25-15 fourth-set win.

In the deciding fifth set, Wantagh was down 23-18 when Jill Laino went in to serve and put the Warriors into the lead, 24-23. They were one point from victory, but it wasn’t to be. Riddle scored a number of points in that rally. Julia Pugliese had a number of blocks. Rende played great defense.

The team, coached by Dan O’Shea for the third season, featured five captains, junior Kayla Rende and seniors: Rachel McCartin, Katie Conklin, Sarah Corry and Shannon Hagan.

“We were told it’s very hard to beat a team three times,” said junior Jill Laino, DS/libero. “Most teams would not have fought like we did in the fifth set but we didn’t give up. We gave it all we had.”

Other players who had a good year for Wantagh included freshman Emily Van O’Linda, sophomore Tori Spencer and junior Pugliese.