Pick a number, any number, and it’s sure to be an impressive one with regard to Kennedy’s boys’ volleyball team. Want championships? The team captured its second consecutive Long Island Class B title last Saturday with a sweep of Sayville (25-23, 25-18, 25-20), just three days after winning its fifth Nassau County championship in the last six seasons with a three-set win over Long Beach (25-16, 25-22, 25-23).
If raw victories are the measure of success, consider that the Cougars’ (20-0 overall) win over Sayville stretched their match winning streak to 43 straight heading into this weekend’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships in Glens Falls. Making the current run even more impressive is the fact that the squad replaced eight starters at the beginning of the season.
“When we talked about team goals at the beginning of the year coming off of last season, we knew the bar would be set high,” Kennedy coach Dennis Ringel said. “Our goal was to be playing volleyball as long as possible, and that meant playing November 15” — at the state tournament.
A three-team round robin pool play kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, with Kennedy playing two matches against both Burnt Hills (Section II) and Victor (Section V). Two of the three teams will advance to the finals, scheduled for the same day at 6 p.m.
The Cougars’ road to the Long Island title was paved by senior Gary Anderson, who registered 17 kills, 17 assists and a dozen digs. To put some of Anderson’s numbers in perspective, consider this: a good player hits .300, much as in baseball, and a very good player may get closer to .400. Anderson is hitting at a .570 clip. “He’s so experienced and takes every opportunity to play,” Ringel said of Anderson, the Most Valuable Player of last season’s state tournament. “He sees the court and knows the game exceptionally well.”
While Anderson was doing some of the heavy lifting, senior Justin Feigeles was busy coming up with big points of his own, with 14 kills and a strong run of jump serves that helped Kennedy pull away in the second game. “We blew it open with a five-point run early in Game 2,” Ringel said. “That gave us a little distance and a little comfort.”