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Lynbrook rises to second place

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The Lynbrook girls’ volleyball team returned to the playoffs in 2019 after a more-than-respectable second-place finish in a tough conference.

The Lady Owls started strong with seven wins in their first eight games and clinched the program’s second double-digit win season in three years after sweeping Long Beach on Oct. 29, which moved the team to 10-4 (all Conference A1 matches.) The girls fell out of the conference title chase after back-to-back losses to South Side and Wantagh in the two previous matches, but coach Suzanne Amberge was still proud of being the runner up.

“Even though we’re not conference champs, I think it was a great and very successful season,” said the second-year bench boss. “The teams that are in our conference are tough all the time, so every time you’re playing a match, it’s like you’re playing a county final.”

Lynbrook even showed plenty of resolve in its four losses. It split the first two sets before falling 3-1 to Mineola on Sept. 16 and won the first set in each of its defeats at Manhasset (Oct. 10) and South Side (Oct. 22.) Three days later against Wantagh, the Lady Owls took a two-sets-to-one lead before dropping the fourth by a deflating 29-27 score and succumbing in the fifth.

Instead of dwelling on the missed opportunities, Amberge used the losses as a learning experience to prepare her team for the playoffs. Last year’s squad, despite an 8-7 record, advanced to the Class A championship game that went five sets.

“We never expected to go undefeated in this conference just because of all the tough teams that we go up against,” she said. “But I also don’t feel that losing is a terrible thing. You learn a lot from losing. The girls really have learned to try to remain positive.”

Several Lady Owls were found among the Nassau County leaders in just about all offensive and defensive categories. Ami Carey was near the top of the assist list with a whopping 376 and fellow senior Sara Bahri made the top five with 47 blocks. Another senior, Kate Foley, was among the 10 best with 245 digs and junior Christina Franco slid into the top 20 with over 115 kills.

Carey averaged just over 29 assists a game, including a season-high 48 against Wantagh on Oct. 25, and provided plenty of leadership. Her talents were noticed by just about anyone who took part in her matches.

“I’ve had so many refs compliment her hands as setter and how good she is,” Amberge said. “She really is such an asset to the team.”

Natalie Rosiak (97 kills, 39 digs) and Lena Weinkauf (74 digs) complemented each other nicely in their respective rows, according to Amberge, while fellow senior Kayleigh Stalter “hit harder and stronger” as the season progressed.

Amberge also praised the production of her two liberos, senior Felicia Guglielmo and junior Isabelle Gaudet. Guglielmo had 129 digs, including 19 in the loss to South Side, and Guadet is an up-and-comer after chipping in 72 of her own.