Massapequa volleyball entered the 2012 season with the intent of getting through Nassau County and Long Island and back to the state championship final to avenge last year's loss.
For the second time in as many chances Massapequa made a statement and vanquished one of its top competitors in Conference I, defeating Plainview JFK, 26-24, 25-20, 25-22 Tuesday night. Jake Roessler had 16 kills and Nick Smith had 21 assists to lead the Chiefs.
"[Our team] knows Plainview is a good team and when they play good teams they always come in motivated," coach Steve Mariano said.
The first game wasn't easy. Trailing 23-22, Roessler made a tough bump set to get the ball up to outside hitter Matt Goldberg. Goldberg turned a potential lost point into a kill that tied the score and set the tone for the rest of the match.
From there Massapequa won the game 26-24 and edged out two tight games to improve to 11-0 in Conference I. Plainview JFK dropped to 7-4.
"We kept our composure down the stretch and didn't make any mistakes," Mariano said. "When . . . you're under a lot of stress and playing in a big arena, keeping your composure late in games is important."
Playing in high-pressure situations against tough opponents has been helpful for Massapequa. Its only loss this season is to McQuaid Jesuit, the Rochester powerhouse that beat them in the state championship.
"It's really critical that we play teams that will bring out flaws that we won't see against other teams," Mariano said.
So far no one in Nassau has been able to expose any fatal flaws, and it won't be until November that Massapequa faces its toughest tests.