Port Washington downs Plainview-JFK
Jongho Byun did not receive a message, no cue that it was his time to take over the match.
The Port Washington junior just sensed the moment and carried his team home.
With the scored tied at 13 in the deciding Game 5, Byun had five kills and two blocks among his team's final 12 points, as the Vikings prevailed over Plainview JFK, 21-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, Monday night in Nassau Conference I boys volleyball.
Byun had 30 kills and three blocks, although he refused to prop up his performance.
"I couldn't do anything without my team," Byun said. "As long as my team is with me, I'm there with them."
The two teams came into the match with one loss apiece to county powerhouse Massapequa. Port's win puts it in sole possession of second place.
"It's important for us to play in these situations, where you have to turn it on," said captain Kevin Nardone, who had 27 assists. "This was an opportunity to show what we can do when we play a good team."
After winning Game 2 to even the match, the Vikings (10-1) rode that momentum to a 15-10 lead in Game 3. But JFK (9-2) would claw back into the game. A poor Vikings service return gave JFK a 22-20 lead, and with the scored tied at 23, it scored the game's final two points.
Game 3 left the Vikings with no room for error, and they responded with a crisper, more mistake-free level of play. "We started picking things up in the fourth set," Byun said. "We did a great job at the end of the match."
Riding the momentum of their Game 3 win, the Hawks looked eager to close the show with an early rally in Game 4 that mushroomed into a 13-6 lead.
The Vikings chipped away, and with a 24-23 lead, the JFK defense could not handle a low-liner serve that forced the seemingly inevitable fifth game.
Byun then took charge, with one kill after another that decided the closest of matches.
Said Nardone: "He is a gamer, and when it matters the most, you can count on him."