John Jay’s Wolves ran their unbeaten streak to 12 matches, but host Ardsley did not go down without a fight during a three-set sweep on April 14. Three days later, the Panthers closed out their regular season with a three-set sweep of host White Plains, finishing with a 9-4 record.
All of Ardsley’s losses were against formidable opponents: twice to Yorktown (14-1) and once each to Walter Panas (11-3) and John Jay (12-1). Those teams ended the regular season with a combined 37-5 record.
“My goal in designing any schedule is to prepare the team to win a championship,” Ardsley head coach Dave Ponterio said. “I want Ardsley to compete against the best, appropriate competition in Section I.”
He continued, “We played some of the top teams in the section this year and learned from the experience. It's all about the education and building character. Now that the playoffs are starting, we will find out what Ardsley wants.”
John Jay won by scores of 25-15, 25-16, and 25-23.
The third and final set was a dogfight. The teams were tied 9-9, and then 13-13, before the Wolves pulled ahead 18-15. The Panthers closed to within 19-18 on a kill by Rory McNerney, but the Wolves rattled off three successive points for a 22-18 lead. The Panthers cut that lead to 23-22 when Megan Bruno sent a Morgan Fodiman set to the floor. Bruno then knotted the score at 23-23 with a kill. The Wolves then pulled head 24-23 before Ardsley’s Izzy Miller sent a return long for the deciding point.
John Jay controlled the opening set from the outset, moving out to a 14-8 lead. The Wolves then scored eight of the next nine points to seize a 22-9 advantage. A flurry of Ardsley points, capped by a McNerney block, brought the Panthers within 23-15. However, the Wolves scored the final two points to close out the opening set.
Ardsley appeared to get their legs under them in the second set, which was more closely contested. The Wolves led 15-12, then 22-14, and then 23-16 before scoring the final two points.
“Our team defense was really good today,” John Jay head coach Tom Rizzotti said. “The type of hitters Ardsley has make it so they’re going to get their kills, but I was really impressed with how great the girls did — not just digging some hard hits but also tips and rolls over and over. Then they sent the ball back aggressively after. It was another great team effort where everyone played an important part.”
John Jay was led by Lily Preis, who finished with 12 kills and 10 digs, Kira McMann, who recorded 10 kills and three aces, and Allie Driesen, who had 30 assists. For Ardsley, McNerney had seven kills, 12 digs, two blocks, and two aces, Bruno had 10 kills and five digs, Fodiman registered 18 assists and 10 digs, and Madison Gordon had four blocks, two aces, and nine digs.
In the 25-7, 25-18, and 25-16 sweep of White Plains, McNerney had 11 kills, two blocks, an ace, and six digs, while Bruno had five kills and three aces. Gordon notched two kills, a block, and five service aces, while Meltzer recorded four aces and four digs. Fodiman handed out 21 assists to go along with two aces.
In the opening set against the Tigers, the Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and cruised to the win. Leading 20-7, McNerney converted a set by Fodiman before a net violation on White Plains made it 22-7. Gordon aces were sandwiched by a hitting error by the Tigers to close out the first set.
White Plains moved out to an 8-2 advantage in the second set. The Panthers then scored nine of the next dozen points to level the scoreboard at 11-11. Bruno put the Panthers ahead 20-15 with an ace, and then netted her next serve. White Plains took two of the next three points to leave the Panthers with a 21-18 advantage. A long White Plains serve was followed by a Gordon dunk of a return to put the Panthers up 23-18. After a net violation on the Tigers, Meltzer’s ace ended the second set.
A pair of Meltzer aces gave Ardsley a 22-15 lead in the third and final set. Gordon followed with a kill to increase the Panthers’ advantage to 23-15. The set and match ended anticlimactically with two White Plains hitting errors surrounding a Panthers error.
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IRVINGTON fell in four sets to visiting Edgemont on April 14 despite 11 kills by Scarlett Whitney. The scores were 22-25, 19-25, 25-21, and 22-25.
Irvington led the opening set, 20-17, after a Karina Ulrich kill. However, Edgemont answered with a four-point run to grab a 21-20 lead. Kills by Ulrich and Dani Heller moved the Bulldogs back up by a point, but Edgemont responded with the final four points to secure the win.
The visiting Panthers controlled the second set, winning by six points.
The third set was tight throughout. Tied at 18-18, Irvington took a three-point lead on an Edgemont service error followed by kills by Amanda Gilbert and Jordan Lenz. Ahead 21-18, Irvington’s advantage was cut to 23-21 before Liz DeYonker and Ulrich finished off the set with kills.
The Bulldogs appeared poised to push the match to a fifth and deciding set when they led the fourth at 20-15 after an Ulrich kill off of a Sydney Birkhahn set. However, Edgemont closed strong, registering 10 of the set and match’s 12 points to come away with the victory.
The Bulldogs also received seven kills each from Gilbert and Aeka Tomita, as well as six kills apiece by Ulrich and DeYonker. Birkhahn had 22 assists and 14 digs for Irvington, which also picked up 18 digs from Heller. DeYonker added 11 digs.
Irvington closed out the regular season with a four-set loss to visiting Mahopac on April 16. The Bulldogs fell by scores of 16-25, 15-25, 25-23, and 3-25.
Birkhahn had 16 digs and seven assists for Irvington, which received a dozen digs from DeYonker and four kills from Tomita.
The Bulldogs’ lone win against Mahopac came in the third set. A kill by Tomita off a pass by Emily Krzemienski gave Irvington a 22-18 lead. Mahopac then won five of the next six points to even the set at 23-23. Krzemienski set up DeYonker for a kill that brought Irvington to set point at 24-23. DeYonker followed with a block that gave the Bulldogs’ the winning point.
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HASTINGS returned to winning ways with a five-set victory over visiting Woodlands on April 14.
“Hats off to Woodlands, who played a great game,” Hastings head coach Emily Kehoe said. “We have been struggling to finish sets in close games, so I am proud that we were able to get the win in a back-and-forth game. I know tough games will benefit us in the playoffs.”
The Jackets dropped the first set, 21-25, but bounced back to even the match with a 25-16 victory in the second set. Hastings then moved within a set of the overall win with a 25-20 victory in set three.
Woodlands stayed alive with a 29-27 fourth-set triumph to set the stage for a fifth and deciding set, which Hastings grabbed by a 25-11 score.
Paige Martin led the way for the Jackets with 13 kills and two blocks, while Melissa Nadler recorded 16 assists.
The Jackets also fell in three sets to visiting Edgemont on April 16 by scores of 13-25, 9-25, and 20-25. Eleonora Comashi had four kills for Hastings, while Nadler notched 11 assists. Tubbs added five kills and a block.
Final regular season records: Ardsley 9-4; Irvington 6-4; Dobbs Ferry 5-5; Hastings 5-8