By Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Catoggio twins served up some double trouble for Greenport/Southold Oct. 13.
The two took matters into their own hands, serving up a combined 11 aces to help the Royals to a 3-0 sweep of the Clippers during Dig Pink nights, 25-15, 25-22 and 25-12.
“The serves were going my way, and the excitement of the team cheering you on helps,” sophomore middle and outside hitter Taylor Catoggio said. “I was happy. We worked as a team and didn’t just individually play.”
After senior Katie Chorao scored three straight points with her serve to give her team a 16-13 lead in the first set, Greenport called timeout. The Clippers scored two battle-back points, but the Royals tallied the final nine, with Catoggio serving up the last five points to take the set 25-15.
“The girls played really well and that was a tough game,” Port Jefferson head coach Maddy Combs said. “The Catoggio sisters did awesome with their serving — that was our best quality. Our setters did a great job getting good balls up for them to hit, our tipping was great and they covered really well today.”
Taylor Catoggio opened the second set with a block and scored four aces to put the Royals out front 6-1. Greenport/Southold bounced back to tie 13-13, but a bad Clippers serve gave Port Jefferson the ball back. Outside hitter Ashley Catoggio gave her team a 15-13 lead on serves, but Chorao’s out of bounds serve later in the set put the teams in a 20-20 stalemate. The two traded points, with Ashley Catoggio serving the ball first, and her sister closed out the set with the final two service points for a 25-22 win.
“I think the most important thing is for us to talk to each other on the court,” Ashley Catoggio said. “Serving is also really important. If you don’t serve well then you don’t play well. We get a lot of points from that.”
Midway through the third set, sophomore center Lia Desmond slammed home four straight points for a 13-4 edge that forced Greenport/Southold to call for timeout to regroup.
“We stayed aggressive and kept the energy and positivity up on the court,” the center said. “We’ve always been playing Greenport in playoffs, so it’s a great feeling to come away with this win.”
Chorao had a short service tare, and as happened all game, Greenport/Southold’s out-of-bounds serves and miscommunication on the court turned the ball back over to Port Jefferson. Ashley Catoggio closed out the game with the final two service points. Chorao finished the game with four digs. Senior libero Juliana Napoli tallied five digs and one ace. Junior middle blocker Izzie Love added three kills and one block.
“I’ve seen tremendous growth,” Combs said of her team, although adding she’d like her Royals to work on getting passes to the setter to run the offense more smoothly. “The first time we played Greenport it was a five-set game, so for them to come away with three shows tremendous, tremendous growth. They’re communicating extremely well on the court, they know where each other is and they’re coming together really well as a unit.”