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Frank Massa, in his 32nd year as Mattituck High School’s girls volleyball coach, said he hasn’t made a decision on how much longer he will remain in coaching. What he does know is that he’s nearing the end of the road.

That’s just one reason a clearly delighted Massa rejoiced in Mattituck securing its sixth Long Island championship Sunday, earning the Tuckers a trip to Glens Falls for the state tournament that will be played next Saturday and Sunday. READ

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Pat McFarland, Luke Hansen and Shane Zimmer combined for 10 RBIs and seven hits as Southold romped, 13-5, over East Rockaway.


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Game day is finally approaching.

Following a 20-year wait, the Southold/Greenport high school softball team has returned to the playoffs. As Suffolk County’s only Class C qualifier, the Clippers have had to wait until Thursday when they face Nassau County champion East Rockaway in a Southeast Region semifinal at Hofstra University.

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Mattituck's three captains, from left, Colby Prokop, Carly Doorhy and Emilie Reimer picked up the Long Island Class C championship plaque, the Tuckers' fourth in five years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck’s three captains, from left, Colby Prokop, Carly Doorhy and Emilie Reimer picked up the Long Island Class C championship plaque, the Tuckers’ fourth in five years. (Credit: Garret Meade)


The Mattituck High School girls volleyball team has developed something of a habit in recent years, and it’s not a habit the Tuckers want to break.

Another year. Another regional championship plaque. Another trip to Glens Falls.

The Tuckers didn’t care much for the way their Long Island region final match against East Rockaway started on Sunday, but they had to love the way it ended. It ended with the Tuckers securing their fourth appearance in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships in five years. (more…)

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GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck players hugged each other after winning their second straight Long Island championship.

LONG ISLAND CLASS C FINAL | TUCKERS 13, 25, 25, 25, ROCKS 25, 23, 22, 18

The Mattituck High School girls volleyball team couldn’t have picked a much worse way to start its big match on Saturday, but it was the way the Tuckers finished that counted. They finished like champions. Long Island champions.

After falling behind by 12-0 to East Rockaway and blowing a first game it would rather forget, Mattituck recovered, battled back to take the next three games, and secured a place in the New York State Class C semifinal pool for the second straight year. Courtney Ficner put away a set from Dominika Kupiszewska for the final point, capping Mattituck’s 13-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 triumph in the Long Island final at St. Joseph’s College’s John A. Danzi Athletic Center.

“It was a shock,” Ficner said. “I had to think that we just actually won.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Kelly Cassidy (8) and East Rockaway's Rebecca Italiano both had a hand on the ball at the net.

Some tears of joy were shed among the Tuckers, who piled on top of each other on the court while their fans cheered and applauded.

“It’s amazing,” said Sara Perkins, who came off the bench and provided Mattituck with 17-for-19 serving and three aces. “I can’t even describe the feeling. I’m so overwhelmed.”

It was an extraordinary turn of events for Mattituck (12-10), considering the way the match between the last two Long Island champions started. After a tip at the net by Lindsey Dinowitz gave East Rockaway (11-6) the match’s first point, Katie Barto and her tough jump serve gave Mattituck considerable trouble. With Barto serving, the Rocks surged to a 12-0 lead.

“It wasn’t looking good,” said Mattituck coach Frank Massa who, in an attempt to calm his players, called two timeouts before the Tuckers had scored their first point.

“We kind of just all got together in a huddle and reminded each other why we’re here and where we go from here if we pick our heads up and keep fighting,” said Mattituck middle hitter Claire Finnican.

It was too late for Mattituck to save that first game (it trailed by 23-8 at one point), but the Tuckers did start pulling things together later in the game.

“I wasn’t even sure what was going to happen after that, if we were going to fold,” Massa said. “That [first] game was a bad taste and we got rid of it. Unbelievable. That’s all you can say.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck setter Dominika Kupiszewska bumped a ball with libero Jackie Hinrichs nearby.

Pulling out Game 2 was critical for Mattituck. The Tuckers twice trailed by one point in that game, but prevailed by two points as two kills by Ficner down the stretch helped.

“We didn’t get down on ourselves at all” after losing Game 1, Perkins said. “We kept our heads up and we kept trying, and it worked.”

Mattituck dropped the first five points of the third game before taking the lead for good after a block by Ficner made it 8-7.

In Game 4, Mattituck twice forged nine-point leads, the last coming at 18-9.

The team statistics were pretty close, including total points (88-88).

Ficner, who has a knack for finding open spaces, registered eight kills for Mattituck, as did Finnican.

Massa said Ficner played “easily the best match she ever played. And she never put the ball in the same place twice.”

Mattituck’s setters, Kupiszewska and Laurel Bertolas, had 13 and 11 assists, respectively. Bertolas went a perfect 14 for 14 serving, and libero Jackie Hinrichs hit the floor a number of times to keep the ball in play.

Gina Skelly finished with nine kills, Barto ended up with eight aces and Dinowitz made five blocks for East Rockaway.

Mattituck made team history last year with its first Long Island championship, and has done well to defend its title. The Tuckers, winners of six of their last seven matches, will play in the state semifinal pool on Nov. 19 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Despite graduating 10 players from last year’s team, Mattituck has already matched its achievement in 2010. This year the Tuckers were battle-tested in League VII, and that may have helped refine the resilience that came in so handy for them.

“That could be one of the hardest matches that we played this year,” Massa said. “With this much on the line, the amount of confidence that they showed and the bending but not breaking attitude was really unbelievable.”

Believe it or not, Mattituck is returning to Glens Falls for another shot at state glory.

“Right now it feels so good I can’t compare it to anything else because right now I’m just so happy,” Finnican said. “I’m glad to be a Long Island champion.”

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