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Whitman Volleyball Ready for Playoffs

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Whitman Volleyball Ready for Playoffs

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As we begin to approach the winter months ahead, fall sports are winding down. In particular, Whitman’s volleyball teams only have a few more games to go in their regular seasons. Girls’ volleyball has already clinched a playoff spot, having defeated Half Hollow Hills East in a thrilling five-set match last week. While boys’ volleyball is still fighting for the postseason, they have earned several dramatic victories, including a sweep against Sachem East to open their season that proved that the team is maturing and gaining momentum.

           

With a 6-6 record, the boys’ team has had plenty of highlights this season. Under the coaching of Michael Patto, the team has battled against some of the best teams on the Island and is still in the playoffs hunt with just a few games left to be played. The team features a large group of underclassmen who have learned what it is like to participate at the varsity level through the leadership of the senior captains Dylan Diamond, Thomas Nicolino, and Christian Corbett.  Their fast-paced gameplay has allowed some of those underclassmen, such as sophomore Jack Poplawski and junior Sean Williams, to shine on the court and gain experience and skill with every match. Diamond discussed the importance of experience when he explained how the 3-0 victory over Sachem East gave the team a “well-needed boost of confidence to make a shot at playoffs.” As a three-year varsity player, Diamond knows more about varsity experience than most on the team.

Even though the team’s goal is to continue playing meaningful games into November, this season has been full of accomplishments for many, including libero Christian Corbett. He broke the school’s record for most digs in a single season—a record he just so happened to have set last year. When asked about the lessons he has learned over the course of his career here at Whitman, he replied that it is important to “never give up,” regardless of the “situation you’re in and what the odds are against you.” With only four games left on the schedule, the entire team will play with that in mind. Even if the Wildcats do not make playoffs this year, they seem ready to pounce in the upcoming seasons.

The girls’ team has an impressive 12-4 record as they are finishing up their season and preparing for the playoffs. Their postseason berth is the team’s first in twenty years. The clinching game occurred last Tuesday at home against Hills East. The Wildcats dropped the first two sets, and it appeared that we would have to wait for another game to celebrate. However, the girls never gave up, and they fought back to win the next three sets, securing the win and a trip to the postseason. While the team received contributions from many, a select few stood out in the victory. Juniors Noelle Bryggman and Maelyn Latko contributed with 12 kills and 37 digs, respectively. Seniors Melissa Triolo and Jessica Young each had many digs themselves, while Jack Poplawski’s sister and captain Olivia Poplawski steered the team and provided 41 assists. Poplawski explained that, despite a 20-year absence, making playoffs had been a team goal from the very beginning of the season.

Under the coaching of Steve Greco, the Lady Wildcats “worked in the offseason and over the summer to practice and run a faster offense” and add to their “strong, scrappy defense.” Poplawski has had an outstanding season individually as well; she was selected by Newsday as one of the top setters on Long Island, and she broke the record for most career aces. Although the team has already achieved their original goal, they are not finished yet. Olivia explained that the team still has another objective in mind: “to push and win our last league games to hopefully grab a home playoff game and to go far into the playoffs.”

           

The girls’ final regular season game is this Wednesday, the 23rd. Hopefully, the team can end their season on a high note and have plenty of confidence entering the playoffs.

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Whitman Volleyball Ready for Playoffs