Since dropping its first regular season conference match in three years on Sept. 27 to Long Beach, the Wantagh girls volleyball team has won eight straight and is rolling into the playoffs with eyes set on a fourth straight Nassau County title.
After posting a hard-fought three-set win at neighborhood rival Bellmore-Kennedy Wednesday, Wantagh head coach Katie McKeefrey attributed her team’s turnaround to staying focused on and off the court. All three games Thursday were close but Wantagh pulled out the key Conference A-1 victory by set scores of 25-23, 25-22 and 25-22. In the third set, Wantagh (11-1) rallied from a 21-17 deficit to capture eight of the last nine points.
“Being prepared mentally is the reason we are so prepared for these kind of matches,” said McKeefrey, who was a standout women’s college volleyball player at Marist before taking over the Wantagh program. “We have really stuck together as a team and minimized our errors.”
Kennedy along with Long Beach and South Side, who the Lady Warriors edged in five sets for the 2011 county championship, are expected to be fierce challenges for Wantagh’s attempt at a four-peat. McKeefrey credits her senior co-captains Carly Simeone and Anna Paulik for their leadership capabilities in that drive for another title.
Wantagh closes the regular season at home Friday against South Side, who is just behind the Warriors in the Conference A-1 standings at 12-2. In the team’s first matchup this season on Oct. 4 in Rockville Centre, Wantagh won the final two sets for a 3-1 win. Playoff brackets will be announced this weekend at the conclusion of Friday’s matches.