SFDS Seventh Grade Defeats Nassau/Suffolk CYOChampions
The girls CYO volleyball “Battle of Long Island” just took place for the first time on May 21 in Manhasset at St. Mary’s High School, a great volleyball venue and sports facility. This was the inaugural year of the event, pitting the CYO volleyball champions of Brooklyn/ Queens against the CYO champions of Nassau/Suffolk. It may not go down in history with George Washington’s battle, but it was a fun event that hopefully will continue for many years in the future.
The seventh grade match featured St. Francis de Sales of Belle Harbor, coached by Jenny Breen and Iris Filippi, versus Long Beach Tri Parish. It was a best of three games format and it didn’t look good for the Rockaway girls after losing the first game. They seemed nervous, committing many unforced errors.
The Long Beach girls showed poise and composure, and above all, excellent volleyball skills. They knew how to play the game and they weren’t going to beat themselves. SFDS would have to serve better, execute plays and put the ball on the floor if they wanted to survive the second game. And they did just that. Anna Sullivan and Briana Suhr’s rock steady serving seemed to inspire the girls and give them the confidence they needed for the comeback. Lauren Guidarelli took a little pace off her normally hard top spin serve and it worked like a charm.
When Long Beach was returning the serves, the girls from SFDS started to make plays. Setters Gabby Breen and Bryn Nagel began controlling the ball and the game with some great passes and great decision making. Outside hitters Chelsea Filippi and Lauren Guidarelli, now given the opportunity to get some hits and score some points, took full advantage. Setters Bryn and Gabby also started faking the sets and tipping the ball over and it worked tremendously. Long Beach couldn’t react quickly enough to all the attacks and St. Francis rolled on to win the second game.
Now the stage was set for the final climatic game 3. And what a game it was. Long Beach showing the true mark of any good team made adjustments. They covered the tips and rarely let the ball drop. Both teams battled point for point with spectacular volleys back and forth on both sides. One incredible play involved Julianna DeSilvia of St. Francis saving a ball off the net just before it touched the floor, bumping it up to Gabby Breen who tipped it backwards over the net onto the Long Beach side where the ball landed on the floor.
The match now came down to Long Beach serving for championship point. St. Francis had to win this volley or it was all over. Rory Kirk, who arrived late because of a play-off soccer game, with no warm-up was now in the game for St. Francis when the ball came to her at the net. If she doesn’t make the play the game and match are over. She made the play, masterfully putting the ball down on the Long Beach side, inches from the sideline. Now the score was tied at 25-25 and it all came down to Chelsea Filippi serving for St. Francis. In volleyball you have to win by two points, and Chelsea, with a fiery look in her eye, stepped to the service line and proceeded to serve two aces, winning the victory for St. Francis de Sales. What a game and what a match.
Special thanks go to Keith Goldberg, Nancy Gentile, Cathy Kinney, and Ginny Sweet for organizing the matches and their tremendous dedication to the CYO volleyball program.