The Massapequa and Plainview JFK boys volleyball teams waited, and then waited some more. The preceding junior varsity game was in the fifth set, already past the scheduled 6:30 p.m. start of the varsity match.
The Massapequa boys filtered in and out the gym, taking periodic glances at the scoreboard. Most of the Plainview players sat in a circle behind their bench, doing assorted stretches to pass the time.
And when the long wait ended and the varsity took the court, the Chiefs proved to be smooth, efficient operators, defeating JFK, 25-19, 25-13, 25-21, Tuesday in a battle of Nassau Conference I unbeatens.
Chris Husmann had 18 kills and six digs, Steven Woessner had 10 kills and four blocks and Christian Smith added 23 assists and seven blocks.
"We knew this was going to be a big statement game," Husmann said. "We knew this was an undefeated team we were playing and that we had to win to stay in first place."
The Chiefs, winners of the past two county titles, are 42-1 in Conference matches over the past two-plus seasons. In last year's county final, they upended Plainview in the deciding fifth set, 25-23.
Despite returning from an upstate tournament at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Chiefs (9-0) immediately found their rhythm. The first point of the first set saw Smith give a textbook set to Husmann, who tomahawked the ball onto JFK's side with a resounding thud.
Returning serve at 21-17 after dropping four straight points, Husmann dropped a soft kill past the diving JFK defense and, at 23-18, he authored yet another kill. A JFK (8-1) service fault gave the Chiefs the first set and the momentum, which they would not relinquish.
After an early 3-1 hole in the second set, Massapequa won 16 of the next 18 points. Jake Roessler had a kill, and Rob Wallace added a kill on a weak JFK return to make it 16-5.
"They had the momentum in that second game, and we kind of got down on ourselves," Hawks setter Evan Schwartz said. "In the third set, we picked it back up."
The Hawks rushed out to a 13-8 lead in the third, a moral victory of sorts on a night where little went their way. Chiefs coach Steve Mariano called a timeout, and with Smith serving after the break, Massapequa reeled off eight consecutive points to take the lead.
"He told us that we were laying back, which was true," Husmann said. "We knew we had to pick it up. We could have lost the third set, but we decided to bring it and win in three."
After just a few hours of sleep following their weekend tournament, the sooner the Chiefs went home, the better.
"We were all so tired," Smith said. "Some of us slept at my house during lunch, since I live right next to the school. Basically, we needed as much rest as possible."
After some needed shut-eye and the extended pregame buildup, the result was well worth the wait.