YORKTOWN, N.Y. - After defeating Mahopac and Ardsley earlier in the week, John Jay was on the precipice of an undefeated season. But Yorktown had other ideas on Saturday, April 17, and their four-set victory gave Yorktown top seed in the Section One tournament.
The week began at home on Tuesday, April 13, with another sweep. Mahopac made the trip to Cross River and fell 25-10, 25-15, and 25-13. Kira McMann led John Jay with a game-high 16 kills.
Ardsley also came up empty against John Jay on Wednesday, April 14. The Wolves went on the road and swept the Panthers, 25-15, 25-16, and 25-23. Lily Preis had 12 kills and 10 digs, Kira McMann registered 10 kills and 3 aces, and Allie Driesen had 30 assists and 12 digs.
“It was amazing to watch this team play so well against a very talented team,” said Coach Tom Rizzotti. “The Ardsley defense was especially impressive; how well they not only dug hard hits but also covered tips. We did a great job against a very good team.”
Saturday afternoon at Yorktown was a tall order, too.
The Huskers “played fantastic volleyball,” Rizzotti said. “When they’re that in control of the ball, Yorktown is a hard team to beat.”
Still, John Jay took the first game, even after falling behind, 10-6. John Jay pulled even at 10 when Vanesa Mulaj hit wide, and the game remained a back and forth. That is until Varriale and Preis went back-to-back on the kills to give John Jay a 21-20 lead.
Two more kills by Preis got John Jay to 24, and when Jenna Rabadi hit long, it looked like the 25-22 victory would continue business as usual for John Jay. A Madigan Flynn block gave John Jay a 19-15 second game, but Yorktown soon flipped the script.
A kill by Yorktown’s Jackie Cane got the Huskers closer at 20-18. The two teams then traded missed serves, and a miscommunication between Preis and Lily Hodor got Yorktown within one at 21-20.
Adding a pair of Lauren Strauss aces to Maddy Chen’s kill gave Yorktown a 23-21 lead. But John Jay now refused to give in. McMann killed from the center and then had blocked Aniyah Seales to tie at 23.
Unfortunately, that’s all John Jay had for game two. Allison Torres got the kill for point 24 and then Seales blocked Preis for the game.
Game three didn’t seem to have cause for concern at 5-4. But before the Wolves knew it, they were trailing 18-7 and the Huskers won going away at 25-13.
Down 2-1, the Wolves came out on fire in game four. Kills by Preis, Varriale, and Flynn gave John Jay a 7-1 lead, and extending to 11-3, a game five seemed at hand.
Three kills by Olivia Waschenko started to say otherwise, and Yorktown closed to 13-10. The Huskers pulled even on big hits from Cane and Waschenko and took a 22-21 lead on yet another Waschenko kill.
The final tally was left to the other side. Torres wound up twice and her kills gave Yorktown the 25-22 victory.
Splitting the season series, Rizzotti looked on the bright side in case the two teams meet in the finals.
“It’s hard to beat the same team three times in a season, and better today than next week (in the playoffs),” the coach said.