SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS C SEMIFINAL | TUCKERS 25, 25, 23, 23, 25, CLIPPERS 18, 11, 25, 25, 16
What may be even more impressive than watching Emilie Reimer hit a volleyball is listening to her strike a ball. It’s a thunderous sound.
“You can hear it,” Mattituck coach Frank Massa said. “You can close your eyes and know who’s hitting the ball.”
It was a sound that was heard time and time again on Friday.
For aficionados of good, exciting volleyball, the playoff match between the Mattituck and Greenport/Southold high school girls teams was a real Halloween treat.
After taking the first two games rather handily, Mattituck, led by Reimer’s inspired play, held on for an entertaining triumph in five games to advance to a Suffolk County final for the ninth time in 11 seasons. The scores of the Suffolk Class C semifinal at Greenport High School were 25-18, 25-11, 23-25, 23-25, 25-16.
Reimer was a dominant force at the net. All but two of Mattituck’s kills came from Reimer, who crushed a career-high 29 of them. Massa called that figure “ridiculous.” Reimer also registered 6 blocks, 4 dinks, 2 service aces and 2 assists. She went 18 of 18 from the service line and even scored 3 points on well-struck hits from the back row. The senior outside hitter said it was the best match she ever played for the defending Long Island champions.
“Emilie Reimer was a beast today,” said Massa.
Mattituck setter Carly Doorhy, who had 26 assists, kept feeding the ball to Reimer. It was a wise strategy as the Tuckers (8-9), who had lost four of their previous five matches, clinched a place in Monday night’s final against Babylon (12-6) at Suffolk County Community College West.
After Mattituck’s Colby Prokop made a block for the match’s final point, there was a mob scene on the court as the Tuckers hugged and celebrated.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Reimer said moments later. “It’s exhilarating.”
The way the match started, it looked as if it would be a short one. Then Greenport/Southold (9-7) came back from a 17-11 deficit to scratch out a win in the third game. The last 2 points came on kills by Megan Murray, the first of which she squeezed through a double-block attempt.
The result meant more volleyball. With their confidence seemingly surging, the Clippers may have sensed momentum swinging their way. They led for much of the fourth game before a Reimer kill evened the score at 22-22, but then rang off 3 of the last 4 points to draw level at two games apiece.
That meant even more volleyball. One final game for a place in the county final.
“It is stressful,” said Reimer.
With Julia Orlando serving, the Tuckers charged out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth game. That lead was extended to 9-2 thanks to 4 kills and a block by Reimer.
“I was concerned but at no point did I think we were out of it because my girls do what they do,” Clippers coach Mike Gunther said. “You can see how they play. They just keep coming. It’s like Rocky. You keep hitting him, he’ll wobble but he won’t go down.”
This time, though, there was no comeback for the Clippers. The closest they came after falling behind by 9-2 was to pull to within 11-8 on an ace by Adeline Haugen.
“It was a ride, I’ll tell you that,” said Clippers senior Jenna Standish.
The Clippers’ answer to Reimer was their own hard-swinging outside hitter, Standish. Standish put away 21 kills and 5 dinks. Mercedes Edwards had 33 assists and went 18 of 18 serving for the Clippers.
The Tuckers received strong serving from Lisa Angell (20 of 24, with 7 aces) and Meghan McKillop (26 of 26).
Standish said she had to applaud Reimer’s performance out of admiration.
“She is a phenomenal player,” Standish said. “She even came up to me and said, ‘You are my biggest competition.’ We just hugged it out.”