By Yueh Ho | The Jersey Journal
November 13, 2014 9:12 p.m.
At the start of today’s Group 1 girls volleyball sectional championship, Secaucus did not play like itself coming out of the gate. The Patriots, ranked No. 4 in the NJ.com Top 20, appeared uncharacteristically vulnerable and disoriented. Serves went out of bounds and sets were inaccurate.
In a rare sighting, Julia McClure went up for a resounding block in the first set and was denied by a pair of Kinnelon defenders. After the ball deflected onto Secaucus’ side of the court, pushing No. 5 Kinnelon‘s lead to six, Secaucus head coach Sheila Rivera called a timeout.
“(We) weren’t playing our game,” Rivera said. “I said ‘Let’s clean it up, we have to play in our gym our way.’”
After that, Secaucus returned to the court a different team and with every kill and ace, the Patriots slowly rebuilt its confidence. While the deficit was too much to overcome in the first set, Secaucus came back to clinch a berth in the Group 1 finals, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.
“(We) stopped making mistakes. We missed serves in the first two sets. Made a couple errors that shouldn’t have been made. We had to really clean up our game. They started moving their feet a little better and playing the defense that they’re known for and pulled it out,” Rivera said.
The top-seeded Patriots will face No. 2 Bogota at South Brunswick High School for the group title on Saturday. The Buccaneers defeated No. 3 Glen Rock yesterday in straight sets to reach the championship. The Patriots will be looking for their first group title since 2006.