Pearl River outlasts John Jay-Cross River in five sets
CROSS RIVER – Pearl River is no stranger to adverse situations.
After an unbeaten start to the regular season, the Pirates began to have a hard time. Numerous injuries forced Pearl River to sink deep into his bench and made other players step up their efforts. They didn’t apologize at the time, and they certainly weren’t going to start in Saturday’s Class A opener with John Jay-Cross River.
“The injuries were obviously unfortunate and it hurt us a bit, but overall it made them stronger,” Pearl River coach Brianna Kenna said of her squad. “It made them realize that it shouldn’t be taken for granted. They knew they wanted to play as hard as they could, but they also wanted to play as hard as they could for every player who couldn’t. not being there. It was a big game too. I’m so proud of this team. “
They dug deep at times and managed to pull off a five-set victory in a back-and-forth thriller, beating Wolves, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16, 13-25, 25-17.
“We were the underdogs today and came out really strong,” said Pearl River senior libero Marin Fleming. “Throughout the game we just had to keep our energy up. I think that was the goal. Being so far away, having no fans, we had to sort of build up the energy for our team and that ‘ is what we did today. “
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The last time Pearl River and John Jay-Cross River met, the Pirates fought back from a 2-0 deficit to ultimately win the game in five sets.
This time it was a back-and-forth battle. Although Pearl River won the decisive third set to take a 2-1 lead, Wolves rallied and won the fourth comfortably, forcing a fifth and final game.
The momentum seemed to be sailing the Wolves’ path, as a double-digit point streak saw them take the lead halfway through the final set. The Pirates were frustrated as mistakes and miscommunication helped John Jay move forward, but they kept themselves from getting carried away by their emotions.
“We were all like, calm down, we know how to play this game,” said Pearl River senior forward Liv Turilli. “We’ve been playing it for so long, all we have to do is put the ball in and out of that spin. Put the ball in place, put the ball down and that’s all we did.”
The Pirates responded with a run of their own, and barely looked back after that, clinging for the win.
“It’s crazy when you have two good teams meeting so early in the Class A knockout stages, but both teams played really well,” said John Jay-Cross River coach Tom Rizzotti. “Pearl River’s defense was amazing. When you play against such a relentless team, you have to play flawlessly. We didn’t play perfectly, we had untimely mistakes. When you’re aggressive it will happen sometimes. and unfortunately sometimes it goes the wrong way, but I’m proud of my team. They didn’t play hesitantly, they were aggressive all the time. “
After Pearl River took an early lead in the final set, Wolves turned the tide with an 11-1 run to take a 13-8 lead. The Pirates calmed down and fired back with a 13-2 streak to regain the lead and finish the game.
Liv Turilli, Pearl River: Whether it was a key dig or the addition of a punch, Turilli provided it and appeared to be important in key stretches of the game, particularly upping his game in the deciding fifth set. She finished with 11 kills, 21 digs and an ace.
By the numbers
N ° 9 Pearl River (12-7) – Penelope Tsetsekos had 20 assists and nine digs. Ciara McDermott had 11 kills and 19 digs. Marin Fleming had 23 digs and two aces.
No. 8 John Jay-Cross River (10-7) – Kaitlyn Varriale had 15 kills, seven aces and seven digs. Lily Hodor has had 13 searches. Jesse David had 18 digs. Julia D’Urso had 30 assists and eight digs. Katherine Martin had 11 kills.
“I’m so proud of us, from the start it was a bit fragile at the start, I’m not going to lie, but everyone has improved so much throughout the season,” said Turilli. “It’s not a one-person team, it’s an entire team – the six of us, or whoever is on that pitch. Even our bench, getting excited and angry helps us out on the pitch, so it’s really a whole team effort. “
Follow Eugène Rapay on Twitter at @ erapay5 and on Instagram at @byeugenerapay.