The Half Hollow Hills boys volleyball team's run to a state championship is one step further down the road with a 3-0 win over Nassau champion Massapequa in a game played at Longwood High School.
To further strengthen team unity, nearly all Hills players showcased Mohawks, with the notable exception of Luke Birnbaum's "fohawk."
Records: Hills (17-0) Massapequa (16-1)
The Hero: James Barone provided a number of big shots throughout the match including several kills down the line. He also provided a spark for Hills when Massapequa appeared to be making a run at key moments throughout the match.
The Turning Point: With the match starting more than an hour late because of the previous Long Island championship game, both teams came out a bit tight.
When the game finally got started, Hills took an early lead with five straight kills by Mike Degrazia in the first game. With Hills leading 10-3, the Chiefs called timeout. Toward the end of the first game with the Chiefs down by seven, they missed four serves in a row, leading to a game one victory by Hills, 25 to 19.
In game three, the Barone saw his team in need of a boost. A long rally ensued with both teams having two full possessions. The Chiefs nailed a hard spike and Cody Lau's dig helped set up a kill by Barone, which seemed to shift the game's momentum back to Hills.
The Bottom Line: The state tournament continues for Half Hollow Hills and a state title is now in reach.
Key Stat: Errant serves are what hurt Massapequa chances of going to states next Friday. Compared to Hills five missed serves the entire match, the Chiefs missed a total of 13 serves.
The Quote: When asked how it feels to be Long Island champions, Jordan Flerx said, "It feels great you know. But this isn't the end for Hills volleyball. We have one more step to go until the journey is over. We're going to work very hard this week for states. And next match, in the state championship, the scores won't be this close."
Who's next? Hills travels to Syracuse Friday to play in the team's first-ever New York State Championship match.