By Bill Landon
After dropping the first set to the Centereach, Newfield won the next three on the road, defeating their crosstown rival 3-1 in League III volleyball action Friday afternoon.
The Wolverines looked to put the first set away, leading 20-15 at the first time out, but the Cougars battled back to tie it at 24-24, ultimately winning 26-24.
Newfield head coach Christy Innes said her team came out flat.
“The girls did not come out with a lot of energy, but they turned it around in game two,” she coach.
The second set was very different from the first.
The Wolverines turned up the intensity, and in convincing fashion, claimed the second set 25-16, to tie the match.
Centereach senior co-captain Lauren Meigel said she wasn’t surprised at the margin of victory in set two.
“That was to be expected as they were angry and wanted to get back [at us],” Centereach senior co-captain Nicole Fellone said. “Today we had great communication, where we had problems [with that] before.”
Trailing by six, Centereach battled back in the third set to tie the game at 21-21, and took a 24-22 advantage, but Newfield refused to lose, rallied back to tie it at 25-25, and neither team would give way, as the rivals retied the game at 26-26.
“Our attacking was a lot better in the later matches,” Newfield junior Rachel Mennonna said. “We talked a lot more and we moved our feet better.”
With a 27-26 lead, Newfield finished the third set, to go up 2-1 in the match.
“We played a team that was better than us,” Centereach head coach Mike Weaver said. “We’ve had a number of injuries over the season. We’re down three starters.”
Newfield showed why they took third place in league play this season, by stretching their legs in the fourth set to break out to a 19-11 lead, thanks to the senior captain Gabby Darnaby. On a service tear, rattling off eight consecutive points, Darnaby propelled her team to a 22-11 lead with a pair of service aces along the way.
“We had better energy after that first set — we had better communication and we played better defense,” Darnaby said. “We set up the blocks where they were supposed to be, and that helped a lot.”
Newfield junior Dayna Hunter brought her team to the brink with her kill shot for a 24-11 advantage. Coping with an injury-riddled lineup, Weaver had to make adjustments — rotating players to fill the holes.
“Emily Timarky, who is a freshman who was thrown into a spot she’s never played, she stepped up and had nine kills, so I was very happy,” Weaver said.
But it was too much for Centereach, as Newfield put the fourth set away, 25-11, to win the match.
“I think we worked as hard as we possibly could everyone gave 100 percent,” Meigel said. “We hustled the whole way, and on offense, we just kept swinging away; we swung hard and we were not going down without a fight.”
With the loss, Centereach fell to 5-8, and with a win to finish off the regular season, Newfield improved to 10-4, which places them solidly in the playoff picture, which gets underway Monday Nov. 2.