Sewanhaka nets conference title

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Since opening its doors in 1929, Sewanhaka High School has had its share of excellence on its athletic fields and courts. The lacrosse program holds a national record with 91 consecutive victories that spanned nearly a decade, and Indians have gone on to have careers in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

The boys’ volleyball program hasn’t had a lot of success on the court throughout the years, but the Indians have staged an uprising of sorts over the past few seasons, and in 2019 the boys have claimed their stake as the most accomplished team in program history.

Sewanhaka (16-1) went undefeated in Nassau Conference B2, captured its first league championship, and earned its first-ever playoff berth. And, the Indians showed they belonged when the postseason began.

In last Friday night’s home match with No. 10 Mepham, the Tribe got 25 kills, six service aces, and five blocks from senior Ryan Oommen, and a team-high 30 kills and six blocks from junior Andrew Mancharil to lead No. 7 Sewanhaka to a 25-19, 25-20, and 25-21 sweep. Shawn Matthew added 37 assists. The Indians advanced to the quarterfinals where they will meet Bethpage.

“We came into the season with a goal of making the playoffs,” third-year coach Frank Nuara said. “The guys came in back in August working toward that goal, and it just kept building. The leadership from the veteran players has been incredible. We really jelled as a team.”

Oommen, a five-year varsity performer and All-County honoree, can play anywhere and do it all. Though not the tallest player on the court, Oommen is a powerful hitter with an extraordinary vertical. Nuara lauds his steady demeanor and ability to lead.

Mancharil, the team leader in kills, was dominant in the playoff win. His strong service game and overall performance throughout the season enabled him to earn All-Conference recognition.

Matthew runs the team’s offense with precision. The senior setter emerged as one of the top players in Nassau at his position, earning All-County Honorable Mention. Previously just a back row specialist, Matthew developed into one who can play all over the court.

Sophomore Sebastian Horta’s ability at the net makes him a big part of the present and future of Sewanhaka volleyball. Horta and Kevin Charles have been big assets with their ability to block.

Sophomore Josh Mancharil is excellent behind the service line. Senior Adil Khalid is an intelligent player who never lets the moment get too big. Sameer Muzafar is an athletic player who does a solid job on the back row.

“This has been amazing,” Nuara said. “I’m enjoying every moment. They’re all great individuals, and as a team they’re a group that you look forward to seeing at practice every day. Nobody expected us to make this much noise. A group like this only comes around once in awhile.”