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John Jay Sweep Finishes Off Brewster to Open Volleyball Season

Off to a Great Start

By Rich MonettiPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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On Friday September 1, John Jay opened the season at home by jumping out to a 2-0 lead versus Brewster. A possible bad sign since the Wolves blew three such leads last year, and the collapses have still been a topic of conversation. “We talked a lot about cracking under pressure,” said Megan Flynn. So finishing was the outcome in mind, and taking the second ball for her team, Zoe Dollar praised her hitters for completing a storyline that always takes place at the net.

“They were just putting the balls away,” said the John Jay setter.

Even so, Dollar helped John Jay gain the early advantage on the end line. She served the Wolves to a 7-0 lead and painted the sideline twice for aces.

Of course, she made her way forward and settled under the ball. The senior assisted a pair of kills for Katherine Martin, a dink and a kill for Flynn and teed up her sister Hellen for a right side beatdown.

Still, a serve into the net ended the run. But Martin got another knock from the middle and Flynn took off where Dollar left off. Her blistering serve bumped awry off Brewster’s Shay Rookwood, and a 9-1 lead looked pretty good.

A wide serve by Flynn seemed a blip too. Instead, the Bears accepted the opening and took a big bite to make it a game. After Ilirjana Ahmetaj hit long, Rookwood served a pair of aces and Avery Dudones and Nora Keating registered kills to make it 10-7.

Not done yet, Brewster really dug in to pull within one. Subsequent whirlwinds by Ahmetaj and Flynn sent Rookwood and Avery Dudones to the floor for saves, and Dollar opted for the kill when the ball popped over in perfect position to hit. “I like that, it’s the element of surprise,” Dollar revealed.

Unfortunately, the one hitter went just long, and the game now stood at 11-10. No problem, Avery Dudones gave it right back on a wide serve, and a 7-3 John Jay run began. Three kills to Flynn, Dollar loves when her hitters are money. “It makes my job easy,” she assured.

Brewster would not oblige, though. Taylor Dudones dropped a dink and then doubled-walled with Cassidy Fallon to deny Hellen Dollar’s hit.

18-17, the differential remained when Keating powered down a center set to make it 21-20, which paved the way for the tie. First Kiley Brooks' return dropped untouched on Ahmetaj’s blast, and Taylor Dudones stood tall on another block to deadlock at 22.

The game up for grabs, Avery Dudones’ serve long gave Jay a reprieve but not for long. Taylor Dudones doing it with with length again, she got the block and the lead was next.

Flynn hit long for the Wolves, and it was game point for the Bears. So Coach Tom Rizzotti called time, and the Bear attack would whimper. Keating served into the net for deuce, Gabby Gileno whiffed the set, and Olivia Casabona’s serve went off the fingertips of Rookwood for the 26-24 victory.

Up one, John Jay went down briefly. Casabona’s bump gave Dollar a late start, and the ball fell for the first point. So on the next point, the Kennedy Catholic transfer took care of the setting duties. Dollar’s bump going straight up, Casabona settled under and pushed out Hellen Dollar for the kill 1-1.

All calm in appearance, the libero’s insides were a different matter. “I was so nervous, my hands were shaking when I put on my jersey,” said the junior.

No matter, Ahmetaj was steady in expanding the lead. The junior had a block and two kills on the way to a 10-5 lead.

But Brewster would stay in reach on an errant Dollar set over the net. Keating easily made the knock and an 11-8 game resulted.

So Dollar opted to go long at 12-10. She hit Flynn in the back row, and the hitter didn’t disappoint for a 13-10 lead. Then Ava Calandros changed it up too.

On serve, she lofted two rainbows, which fell for winners, and with a 17-11 lead, McKenna Flynn got into the act. Not wasting her chance, she first got the block and then killed from the center.

An 18-11 game, the Bears still refused to retreat to the guest room. Keating’s block made it 19-16 and Dollar’s hit into the net made it 20-19.

A last gasp it turned out. Flynn and Katherine Martin both registered kills for 22-20 lead, and the clutch was not a coincidence, according to Flynn. “Everyone just believes in each other,” said the senior.

Two service winners from Flynn set up Hellen Dollar to deliver good on the words, and the little sister made the family proud with her game winning kill. So now it was time to close.

A 2-0 Brewster lead may have brought up bad memories but a kill by Flynn, and consecutive service winners by Martin allowed the gym to exhale. Breathing easy, Hellen Dollar made it 6-3 with her kill, and Ahmetaj unleashed a twin-killing to make it 8-3 and 20-11. She also completed the day by ripping one final blast from the right, and the Wolves had a 26-24, 25-20, 25-14 sweep.

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About the Creator

Rich Monetti

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