Girls’ Volleyball plays their way to state quarterfinals

Max Cohen ('12)/ Eastside Online Sports Editor

East girls’ volleyball got off to a blazing start in their second-round playoff game against Old Bridge today at East.  In the first set, East jumped out to a solid 9-3 lead.  The Cougars just had to hold that lead in order to win the first set in the intense playoff matchup.

The Cougars’ coaches made sure the team was prepared for situations with a lead.  Throughout the week and every week of the season, the team does situational games in practice.  One situational game is where the team has a five point lead and they need to hold it in order to win.  Coach Scott Mooney said, “It’s important for them to feel what it feels like to be up.”

This drill in practice proved its purpose in the first set as the Cougars cruised to a 25-16 win, with the score never being closer than three points.

In the second set, East once again got off to a hot start outscoring Old Bridge 4-1 on the first five points.  However, Old Bridge crept back to tie the score at 11-11.  The Cougars promptly went on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 17-11 with the match victory in hand.

But before the Cougars could start to feel too good about the playoff victory, Old Bridge came roaring back to take a slight 21-20 lead.  Then, the Cougars showed why they made it this far, taking five out of the last six points to give them a 25-22 victory in the second set and the match.

Anna Johnson (’10) and Marissa Johnson (’10) starred in the front line with various kills which helped propel East to victory.  Anna Johnson said on the team’s fast starts, “It’s really important to start on a high level.”  She also cited the drill of playing with a lead as a key to victory for the Cougars and it also allowed them to not panic when they lost their lead in the second set.

The 5th seeded Cougars advance on to the Group 4 Quarterfinals against Livingston on Tuesday.  The outcome of Livingston’s upcoming game will decide whether the game is played at East or at Livingston.  A Livingston loss would give East home court advantage.