Massapequa falls in NYS VB final
Cicero, N.Y. -- Massapequa middle hitter Chris Husmann would not frown, nor would he shed a tear. In the aftermath of a state final loss, he kept on smiling, even as McQuaid Jesuit celebrated a second straight title.
The previously undefeated Chiefs (20-1) lost to Jesuit in three games, 25-18, 25-19, 25-21, in the second state Division I championship Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Christian Smith had 30 assists and Husmann had 15 kills in the final.
"Not disappointing at all," Husmann said of the tournament. "We had so much fun, so much team bonding. We are the best public school in New York. That's what we look at it as."
The Chiefs finished with a 4-2 record in pool play, a frantic round-robin where each of the four qualifiers played one another in two-game mini-matches. After splitting with Bethlehem in their first match, 22-25, 26-24, they were beaten 25-15 in their first game against Jesuit.
Trailing 25-24 in the second game, a kill from Husmann saved a potential game point. Smith followed with a kill and then Jake Roessler added one of his own to give the Chiefs a 27-25 win and a 2-2 record heading into the final qualifying match.
"It was definitely a big deal," Smith said. "Everybody started crowding in the downstairs gym when they heard we were starting to beat them. We just kept our momentum in that game and had fun.
"It was definitely an accomplishment that we were the only team to beat the state champs."
Added Husmann: "It was insane. That second game, we came out loose, laughing, enjoying ourselves."
In their final match of pool play, Massapequa swept Oswego, 25-21, 25-14. Coupled with Jesuit's sweep of Bethlehem, the Chiefs advanced, becoming the second Long Island team (following Half Hollow Hills in 2010) to advance to the state Division I final.
"Taking a game from McQuaid was great because now my guys thought they could beat them," Chiefs coach Steve Mariano said. "They are a great team, everybody talks about them, and my guys proved they could take a game from them."
Competing with the Knights (21-0) in a best-of-five title match proved to be a tougher task. After the cutting the lead to 21-17 in Game 1, Jesuit's Michael Desino (14 kills two blocks), followed with a kill the down the middle.
In Game 2, a service ace from Teddy Combs put the Chiefs in a 12-6 hole. Massapequa took a short-lived 12-11 lead in the third game on a Knights' service fault. Tournament MVP and UCLA-bound Steven O'Dell (11 kills, two blocks) gave Jesuit game point at 24-20 with a ferocious kill.
The Knights won the championship two points later as Massapequa, undefeated in Long Island play, finally dropped a best-of-five match.
"If we saw it as just another game and not a state final, we would've played looser," Husmann said. "They played a great game and our service receive was terrible."
And as Husmann continued to speak, that smile never wavered.