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Girls Volleyball: Tuckers one win away from another playoff berth

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09/29/2016 11:00 PM |

Mattituck volleyball player Viki Harkin 092916

The Mattituck High School girls volleyball team began the second half of the season Thursday the same way it opened the season — with a three-set win over Southampton.

From Mattituck’s perspective, a lot of good things have happened in between those two matches. Now the Tuckers find themselves one win away from clinching a playoff berth for the 13th straight year. That could come in their next match Oct. 6 at Center Moriches.

Two reasons why Mattituck (5-3, 5-2 Suffolk County League VII) is in such good shape is the play of Madison Osler and Kathryn Zaloom. The two junior outside hitters featured prominently in Thursday’s 25-9, 25-11, 25-18 defeat of winless Southampton (0-7, 0-7) at Mattituck High School. They produced nine kills and two service aces each. Meanwhile, Sarah Shannon (nine) and Ashley Chew combined for 16 assists and Jaime Gaffga went 16-for-16 from the service line.

Southampton’s Monica Williams went 12-for-12, serving for three aces.

Aside from timeouts, Mattituck coach Frank Massa hardly had to stir from his seat. After some rocky moments early on, Mattituck soon fell into a rhythm and built momentum.

Four days earlier, the Tuckers won their own eight-team tournament for the first time, defeating Shoreham-Wading River in the final, 25-6.

“We played probably the best set of volleyball we ever played,” Massa said of that one-set final, which saw the Tuckers score 11 aces and commit only one unforced error. Osler put away six kills in the set.

And there have been other positive signs for the Tuckers. They took a set from Bayport-Blue Point. “We haven’t beaten Bayport in God knows how long,” said Massa. They gave powerhouse Elwood/John Glenn a game, dropping two sets in which the Knights clung to 23-22 leads.

“Our hitting and passing is some of the best we’ve done in a long time,” said Massa.

Not only that, he said, but Mattituck’s setters have options. He said, “We’re hitting from just about every spot on the floor.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck freshman Viki Harkin hitting past Southampton’s Ari Dozier. (Credit: Garret Meade)