By Robert Cole
The Townsend Harris Hawks took their ninth-seeded volleyball team to the Bronx and defeated No. 8 Bronx High School of Science in straight sets, 2-0, in the second round of the PSAL playoffs
“Today was a very, very exciting game,” coach Dalia Avivi said. “I felt it was going to be a very competitive match, since both teams have very similar squads, with a lot of hitters and great defense.”
Bronx Science started the first game with a 3-0 lead before Townsend’s Zoe Tylipakis served the Hawks into a 4-4 tie.
Strong front line play resulted in the Hawks going on a 4-0 run, eventually increasing their first set lead to 12-7. After some back and forth scoring, Townsend went on a 5-0 run behind the serve of Nicole Monaco to give the Hawks a commanding eight-point lead at 21-13.
Bronx Science started to mount a comeback, but could only pull within five points, 22-17, before Wei Chen closed out the game and secured a 25-17 victory in the first set.
Townsend Harris continued their strong play, starting the scoring in second game, but Bronx Science came back to tie the score at 3-3. Both teams used tough defenses to keep the game close, exchanging points as the score remained tied at 7-7. Bronx Science then scored seven consecutive points to take a 13-7 lead. The girls from the Bronx increased their lead to 22-17, but after a Townsend Harris timeout, the Hawks made the necessary adjustments and pulled to within one point, 22-21.
The Hawks tied the score at 23-23, but Bronx Science secured the next point to go up 24-23 lead. The Hawks tied the game at 24 and forged took a 25-24 lead behind the serves of Zoe Tylipakis, who delivered the game-winning serve and secured the 26-24 victory for Townsend Harris.
“One of the most interesting thing about the game of volleyball is that you have an opportunity to reset,” Avivi said. “So when we were down 21-17, I told them we need to get tight, make good passes, kill the ball, and whenever we make mistakes reset our minds and just remember it’s one point at a time.”
The Hawks’ head coach said his team’s strong chemistry helped elevate their play in pressure situations throughout the match.
“One of the best things about this team is the fact that they are friends on and off the court, and they care about each other so much that they are constantly pushing each other to be better,” Avivi said.