Second-year Calhoun girls’ volleyball coach Christina Strezenec saw the sign she’d been awaiting at an early September tournament.
With still-fresh scars after losing to eventual county champion Wantagh in last season’s Nassau Class A quarterfinals, the Colts were again on the point of falling to their nemesis at the Wantagh Invitational. From seven points down, the Colts would rally and steal the set from the Warriors – getting the latest last laugh in what has become a perpetual grudge match.
But more important, said Strezenec – whose first-place team is 5-1 in Conference A/C2, 5-2 overall – the Colts’ comeback was feisty proof that the club, which finished second last season in Conference A2, was ready to become a pacesetter.
“In that one set, they were able to take the next step,” Strezenec said. “It’s weird, because (last season) wasn’t that long ago, but they matured an incredible amount in a short time. They know now how competitive they can be together. At a certain point, they kind of said, ‘Wow, we’re in this, and we’re going to step up.’”
Before stumbling 3-0 against host Manhasset on Oct. 2, Calhoun had dropped only two sets across a five straight wins in conference – a blistering fortnight spree that started with a shutout win at Garden City, and culminated Sept. 29 with a 3-1 win at home against Lynbrook. The latter match saw season highs from junior Julia Lawrence, who blasted 21 kills, and sophomore Gianna Lucchi, who fired 12 of her conference-leading 31 aces against the Owls.