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Girls Volleyball: Yada, yada, yada, Tuckers win title outright

Charlotte Keil drove a ball down with overpowering force for a kill and … yada, yada, yada … the Mattituck High School girls volleyball team romped in impressive fashion.

Keil was teased for having used the phrase “yada, yada, yada” in a recent interview. Interestingly, she said she isn’t a regular viewer of the “Seinfeld” television show and never saw the famed “yada, yada, yada” episode.

Keil’s play Wednesday was no joke, though, and surely not a laughing matter for Pierson/Bridgehampton. The Mattituck middle hitter was on, and when her hitting is on, it’s devastating. The same could be said of outside hitter Viki Harkin. Both seniors provided a potent one-two punch as the Tuckers swept Pierson/Bridgehampton in three sets on Senior Day, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17, to win the Suffolk County League VIII championship outright. It’s Mattituck’s seventh league title and second in a row.< Harkin put away 16 kills to go with five service aces, but she has been known to do that sort of stuff. Keil, who drove down 15 kills, played what she — and others — believed to be the best match of her career.

“I think I’ve had moments that [were] just as good as this, but all around as a match, it’s hard to kind of beat that because I feel pretty good about it,” she said.

There was a lot for her to feel good about.

Mattituck coach Frank Massa said: “I haven’t seen her play a better match, but I have seen her play like this before. She was getting her best sets today where she really likes them and she was swinging out on them. What a nice job.”

The production from Harkin and Keil was a product of fine all-around play, including accurate passes to setters Miranda Hedges (20 assists) and Ashley Young (11 assists), who put the ball where Keil likes them.

Early on, Massa saw where the sets were going and knew it was going to be Keil’s day.

“Just keep feeding her,” he said. “When you’re hitting the ball the way she is, on different angles, it really doesn’t matter. They knew who we were going to go to. I mean, that’s just the nature of the game; you go to your best players and she was going left, right, left, right, over the top. She was changing it up a lot. Once she gets the hot hand, I just want her to keep on swinging.”

Keil, one of the 10 Mattituck seniors who were handed flowers in a ceremony before the match, said she didn’t have the best warmup. That didn’t seem to matter, though, once the first ball was served. The Tuckers (14-1, 11-0), winners of eight straight, showed they meant business and Keil was zoned in. She said she felt good about her play when she drilled a ball into a Pierson player’s face in the first set.

“Just being honest, I felt bad, but it was like a ‘yes’ moment and everyone got really excited and hyped,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to not have any regrets and just play as hard as I could in this moment. I guess that was my mentality.”

Keil went on to tally eight kills in the second set.

“It was amazing,” Young said. “She was on fire the whole time.”

Pierson (9-3, 7-3) received eight kills apiece from Gylia Dryden and Sam Cox. Sofia Mancino provided the Whalers with 16 assists.

The first match between the teams earlier this season was a five-set comeback win for Mattituck. Another five-setter was anticipated, but it didn’t happen in what might be Mattituck’s final match in its gym this season. The Tuckers have one regular-season match remaining, next Wednesday at Babylon.

Massa said this win will help his team confidence-wise. “I just don’t want them to sit back and think that we are going to walk through and somebody is just going to hand us the plaque that says, ‘county champions,’ ” he said. “They’re going to have to play as well, if not better, than they played today because chances are we’re going to be seeing them again.”

That would likely be in a county final.

For Keil, Wednesday was a day to remember. She hopes it leads to more titles and — yada, yada, yada — Mattituck returns to the state semifinal pool for a seventh time.

As for that “Seinfeld” episode with “yada, yada, yada,” Keil indicated she will check it out. She said, “Now I have to, I guess.”

Photo caption: Mattituck coach Frank Massa with his 10 seniors following the Senior Day ceremony. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

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