PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – After reaching the Section 1 Class A semifinals last season, John Jay’s volleyball team took it one step further with an appearance in the Class A finals in 2019.
The top-seeded Indians, however, ran into a buzzsaw in second-seeded Hendrick Hudson and fell in straight sets (20-25, 25-27, 23-25) on Nov. 2 at Pace University.
“We’re two very good teams and it’s a battle we knew was coming,” said John Jay coach Tom Rizzotti. “We just fell short today. We didn’t quite execute as well as we wanted. We’ve been clicking better than we were today and I give credit to Hen Hud. Their serving was great and they get us out of system. What I think you also saw today is when experience pays off. You have a really good Hen Hud team and a really good John Jay team. You have one team that knows what it’s like to be in these games and knows what it’s like to win, and one team that’s just learning. I think that ended up being the biggest factor today.”
John Jay and Hen Hud played a five-set thriller early in the regular season but the championship game lacked the same drama.
The Indians did have leads in both the first and second sets. They were a point away from a win in the second set with the score at 25-24, but a towering Sailor team rattled off three straight points to put the Indians in a 2-0 hole.
“That’s something that we’ve been great at all year, closing out (sets),” Rizzotti said. “I think sometimes the moment is bigger than you realize. Until you learn to get through those moments and handle them, it’s not a lesson you can teach in practice.”
Lily Preis led John Jay with 21 kills and 14 digs. Kira McMann added 11 kills while Bella Garcia tallied eight kills. Allie Driesen notched 25 assists and seven digs. Taylor Hoffman distributed 20 assists, served two aces and had 20 digs. Libero Annie Rutherford registered 17 digs.
The Indians ended a strong campaign with a 17-2 record.
“There was no lack of work or effort,” Rizzotti said. “They came in with a focus and attitude and that was to win the section. We came up short but that kind of drove us all season. We knew coming in what we had and we knew if we could put it together it was going to be special. Even though it didn’t finish the we wanted it to, I still think it was a special season.”
John Jay 3, Lakeland 1
The Indians defeated fifth-seeded Lakeland 3-1 (25-11, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23) in the Section 1 Class A semifinals at home on Oct. 31.
John Jay 3, Nyack 0
Preis recorded the 1,000th kill of her career in a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-14, 25-13) of ninth-seeded Nyack in the Class A quarterfinals on Oct. 29.
The junior finished with a game-high 17 kills.
Garcia and McMann had nine and seven kills, respectively. Hoffman and Driesen dished out 16 kills apiece.