Ward Melville and Sachem East’s boys volleyball teams came into Wednesday evening’s matchup with one thing for certain -- both were playoff bound.
But one thing that was still up for grabs was each teams seeding in the playoffs.
The Patriots of Ward Melville did enough to enough to better their chances come playoff time as they downed the Flaming Arrows of Sachem East, 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20).
Ward Melville improved its conference record to 7-4, now even with Sachem East who fell to the very same record in the Division.
The Patriots may have won the match, however it was Sachem East drawing first blood with a decisive 25-20 win in the first set. The set was pretty even throughout, however Sachem East blew it open late holding onto an 18-17 lead with five straight points to put it nearly out of reach.
“I know I didn’t play to the best of my ability and our team came out slow in the beginning,” said setter Chris Lilley.
The Flaming Arrows established a huge net-front presence in the first set thanks to the efforts of Randall Colson and Nestor Payne.
Dealing with that dynamic duo, especially Colson was something the Patriots were ready for.
“It’s a test (to play against him),” Lilley said. “We knew what he had. We watched film and we were ready for him.”
Ward Melville picked itself up in the later sets, taking the second and third by scores of 25-19 and 25-17.
“We were pumped up to play and we wanted to go all the way,” Lilly said of his team’s resurgence. “Our intensity, our skill came up. We knew what we had to do to win.”
The Patriots shut it down in the fourth and what would be final set and jumped out to a quick 13-8 lead after Lilley led the Patriots with five straight service points. Ward Melville would shake off a late Sachem East flurry to take the game 25-20, and the match three sets to one.
Sachem East finishes the regular season on Halloween night against top-seeded Lindenhurst, while the Patriots finish off on Friday night against Half Hollow Hills.