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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018: Owego, Cornwall win state volleyball openers

   Leading off today: Owego, the winner of three NYSPHSAA girls volleyball championships in the past five seasons, began its march toward defending the 2017 crown with a sweep of Red Hook on Tuesday in the first round of the state Class B tournament.

   Coming off a five-set thriller three days earlier while avenging two regular-season losses to capture its eighth straight Section 4 championship, Owego won 25-8, 25-15, 25-19.

   "When we played Saturday against Windsor, we wanted that so badly," outside hitter Kaylee Kelly said. “I think today it wasn't there, so it was hard to push things through. We didn't play the way we normally play."

   Kelly finished with 12 kills and setter Grace Thomas had 27 assists to advance the Indians into the quarterfinals Saturday vs. Ardsley.

    • In other first-round action, unbeaten Cornwall swept Union-Endicott 25-21, 25-15, 25-10 to advance in Class A. Meg Fay (13 kills) and Maggie Malone (10 kills) paced the victory, which sets up the rubber match of a season series vs. Hendrick Hudson in the quarterfinals.

   More girls volleyball: In one of the quirks of statewide scheduling, some sectional tournaments are not yet complete even as the NYSPHSAA playoffs are underway.

   Fourth-seeded Connetquot, the defending state large-school champion, pulled off a 16-25, 25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 29-27 win over No. 1 Smithtown West in the Section 11 Class AA semifinals.

   Smithtown West scored the final six points of the fourth set to force a climactic finish.

   "We didn't expect anything less," Connetquot coach Justin Hertz said. "We got in the huddle and said, 'Let's stay focused, stay hungry and find ways to make little points into big points."

   Boys soccer: David Garvin scored the goal as Curtis earned a 1-0 victory over Manhattan Beacon to send the seventh-seeded Warriors to their first PSAL championship game appearance since 1989.

   Curtis, which has won four Class A tournament games by a combined 9-1 margin, will play perennial PSAL power Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday at St. John's University.

   "If we're going to win, I need everyone to give me their all on Saturday. Even though we're considered the underdog, the beauty of soccer is that anyone can come in and win a game," said coach Cadence Turner, whose squad lost 4-1 to MLK in last season's quarterfinals.


   Glitch halts meet: The Section 11 girls gymnastics championships at Connetquot had to be suspended when officials noticed a safety issue with the uneven parallel bars. As a result, the remainder of the meet will be conducted


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  • Wednesday at Smithtown East.

       During Tuesday's third rotation, officials noticed that a floor plate connecting the bar wires to the floor was broken, making the conditions unsafe for competitors.

       The meet continued minus the uneven bars. With three events completed, Connetquot, defending champ Smithtown and Bay Shore/Islip were within 1.7 points of each other.

       College decision: Ronni Nwora, a 6-foot-3 center from the Park School, has committed to play basketball at Georgia Tech, she announced on Twitter. Her brother Jordan is a forward on the Louisville men's team.

       On the move ... again: Congratulations and condolences to the boys basketball staff at SPIRE Institute, an Ohio post-grad program that frequently attracts big-name prospects.

       The ever controversial LaVar Ball proclaimed this week on social media that "The Greatest Show in Highschool Hoops is Back!" now that youngest son LaMelo will complete his secondary school education at SPIRE while waiting for entry into the 2020 NBA draft.

       LaMelo Ball is expected to play Tuesday vs. La Lumiere (Ind.).

       LaVar Ball pulled LaMelo out of high school in California last year following a disagreement with the new coach. after middle sibling LiAngelo Ball was arrested for shoplifting in China, LaVar opted to have the younger siblings of NBA player Lonzo Ball compete for a professional team in Lithuania in what proved to be a failed endeavor.

       LaMelo Ball, once regarded as a sure NCAA impact player, burned his college eligibility with the Lithuania adventure but high school eligibility isn't an issue since SPIRE doesn't compete in Ohio's state association and instead plays a national schedule.

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