The Seaford girls volleyball team improved to 15-0 on the season and earned a spot in the Class B championship game with a sweep over Clarke on Saturday night at Roslyn High School.
The top-seeded Lady Vikings topped the fourth-seeded Lady Rams by set scores of 25-12, 25-23 and 25-6. Senior Meaghan Curley led the way with four kills and 10 assists. Sophomore Jessica Rini added seven kills and senior Juliana Puleo contributed with six kills and four aces in the win.
“I think they were a little nervous, but winning that second game gave them the OK and helped them get in the groove,” said Seaford head coach Marie Savage. “We are ready to go and hopefully we will have a good day [in the county championship] and be consistent and move forward.”
Seaford started out in the first set with its signature fast-paced style of play. However, Clarke, led by sophomore Julia Cast and senior Tiffany Winans, initially kept up in the opening points. Two kills each by Curley and senior Megan Sullivan spurred a 14-0 run, capped off by a spike at the net from Rini to close the first set.
Clarke opened up the next set with a 4-1 lead, but Seaford evened up the score in the frame that featured five separate tie scores. With the Lady Vikings up 22-16, the Lady Rams won seven of the next eight points, pulling even at 23-23. Winans sent a spike attempt over the back line for the decisive point and a 2-0 Seaford lead.
“One thing I have to do especially as a captain and my personality is that I don’t let my face show anything because then it could let the whole team down," said Curley of how Seaford responded when the Lady Rams mounted a huge comeback in the second set. "We just needed to keep playing how we play."
With the match in control, all the Lady Vikings needed was the finishing touch. Top-seeded Seaford took an early 8-6 lead after an ace by junior Zulfiya Asquino.
Senior Juliana Puleo stepped up to serve with the score at 9-5 and rallied off 14 straight service points to put Seaford in a lead that was hard to give up. Junior Courtney Carbone added three kills in the third set, along with solid net play from junior Megan Russell to help Seaford pull away to the eventual win.
“Serves are the one thing you have total control over, so the fact that I had control on where to put the ball and where to move it around, that is the biggest thing,” said Puleo, who had three of her four aces in the stretch.
Clarke, which defeated West Hempstead in the opening round, will graduate seven seniors from the 2011 squad. The Lady Rams close the season with an 8-8 record.
“It is a disappointing way to end the season, but it doesn’t take away from a very strong season for us,” said Clarke head coach Janine Heilbronn. “Seaford held their own throughout the entire match and we just couldn’t find a rhythm to it.”
Seaford will meet third-seeded Floral Park in the Class B finals this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at SUNY Old Westbury for an opportunity to advance to the Long Island championship game. Seaford won both its matches against Floral Park in the regular season by 3-0 scores.