A reporter fully aware of the situation but feeling a bit mischievous, asked coach Mike Gunther what his Greenport/Southold high school girls volleyball team had to do to make it into the playoffs.
“Wait until next year,” was Gunther’s quick-witted reply.
Not only has Greenport yet to win a match this season, but sets have been hard to come by. In fact, the only two sets the Clippers won this year came against Port Jefferson on Sept. 20.
So when Greenport found itself holding seven-point leads at 22-15 and 24-17 in the second set against Stony Brook on Thursday, a rare set win sat tantalizingly close, like a volleyball hovering just above the net, waiting to be smacked down for a kill.
Incredibly, Stony Brook rallied, fighting off set point five times before prevailing in the set and going on to take the Suffolk County League VIII match, 25-14, 27-25, 25-19.
That’s the way the season has gone for winless Greenport (0-10, 0-9). The Clippers have one last chance for a win Tuesday when they play at Bishop McGann-Mercy.
The biggest obstacle the Clippers have faced this season is inexperience. They are remarkably short on experience, having entered the season with a mere four years of varsity experience on the roster. That is the result of having graduated 15 players over the past two years.
Three freshmen — setter McKenna Demerest, right-side hitter Elizabeth Jernick and outside hitter/middle hitter Kathryn Kilcommons — played junior high school volleyball just eight months ago.
That inexperience showed time and time again.
Thursday’s contest was a Dig Pink match to raise money for breast cancer research. It was also Greenport’s Senior Day at Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium. In an appreciative gesture, the team voted to have its five seniors play the entire match. The seniors — captains Paige Asimenios and Vivian Mantzapoulos, Kylee Defrese, Caitlin Macomber and Charis Stoner — started along with Emily Russell.
Wearing pink shirts and black shorts, the Clippers showed their inexperience against Stony Brook (6-4, 6-3), which was led by Lois Ezi (five kills, three service aces) and Samantha Petersen (four aces, one kill, seven assists). Petersen went 16-for-16 serving.
Asimenios had five kills while Demerest picked up six assists.
Photo caption: Greenport/Southold’s five seniors were presented with flowers and recognized prior to Thursday’s match. From left: Kylee Defrese, Charis Stoner, Paige Asimenios, Caitlyn Macomber and Vivian Mantzapoulos. (Credit: Bob Liepa)