November has been full of victories for the Seaford High School varsity girls volleyball team. Led by head coach Marie Savage, the Vikings went 9-8 in a rather hectic season.
Savage sat on the sidelines, watching in awe. She couldn’t believe what was happening, so much so that she actually had a dizzy spell.
“The regular season was very challenging because it wasn’t possible to make conferences based only on population,” Savage, who’s been the Vikings’ coach since 2004, said. “In order for the conferences to work out and the playoff seedings to be fair, they had to disperse the B schools.”
The Vikings ended up in Conference I with Wheatley and a few other schools. In the long run, though it might have been a challenging regular season, Seaford prevailed.
But that didn’t matter as the Vikings dominated the Nassau Class B playoffs, defeating Farmingdale, Wheatley and Malverne before squaring off against Wheatley in the Class B final. Seaford cruised to the triumph, 25-15, 24-26, 26-24, 26-24, capturing the Nassau County championship.
“I’ve coached this group since middle school,” Savage said. “They watched a few Long Island championships and saw us lose to John Glenn and Bayport before.”
However, 2019 was different. They wouldn’t watch another team in the Long Island championship bout.
It was time for the Long Island title battle against the Suffolk County champions at Hauppauge High School, the Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms. That’s when Emily DeVito and libero Karyn Schaller took over.
DeVito had 20 kills against the Phantoms, with a pair of aces and a block. And Schaller also stepped up when it counted the most, using her passing ability to lead the Vikings to their first Long Island championship. Seaford came out on top, 20-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19.
“Emily has always been smart,” Savage said. “But this year, she was smart and controlled. She really came through with more than 200 kills this season. She plays in the back row, so she’s a good passer.”
The triumph marks Seaford’s eighth Nassau County title and its first Long Island championship.
Last year, Seaford was in Conference B1. However, the changes meant a whole new undertaking in Conference AA/B/C-I, which featured much larger schools.
“You can lose and learn,” Savage said. “With them, they were so excited to play these big schools. To say we scored 22 points against a big school—even though we lost a match—we can say, ‘Look what we did.’ It set their confidence.”
Now that Seaford is a Long Island championship-winning team, they have a chance to perform in the state title battle, too.
But Seaford will lose nine seniors, though, and Savage is prepared to reset the team without them.
“We’re going to start from the beginning,” she said. “The sophomores and juniors on the team have been here for a while. They have the talent to do well and keep plucking away with the junior varsity girls.”