Every comeback, no matter what the sport, has one of those plays. It's a play that everyone can look back on and say “that was it, that’s when I knew we were going to win.” A play, that not only had a direct impact the game itself, but changed the whole outlook for an entire team.
For the 2011 Harrison Huskies volleyball team, senior Jenna Webb made that play.
After rallying from down two games and forcing a fifth game, Harrison stunned undefeated No. 1 seed Ursuline 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19) to repeat as Section 1 Class A champions.
In the fifth game, Harrison trailed 13-9 before Webb made a diving, full-extension dig to save the point and give the Huskies new life.
“I knew I had to get the ball up,” Webb said of the play. “I had made a couple of errors before that, so it was crucial that I get the ball up and try and make something happen. Thank god I did because it looked like they were going to go on a roll and it would be over. I’m just glad I could help our team light the fire.”
Harrison then won the next five points and nine of the next 10, putting Ursuline in a hole it could not dig its way out of, effectively sealing the incredible comeback.
“Jenna is a clutch player and our team thrives off of that,” said Harrison coach Candy Light. “That play was just incredible… This team never gives up. They stay together, they stay focused and they always keep working. You tell them, ‘look each other in the eye and do it for the girl next to you’ and they just do it. It’s really special.”
Captain Lily Stokoe led the way for the Huskies, recording 25 digs and 18 kills. The senior was all over the floor and thrived off of the large Harrison crowd that showed up to support the team.
“I love volleyball so much and this was just is a great atmosphere,” Stokoe said. “The feeling you get when you make a really big kill or a big block and the crowd goes wild is just amazing. Our fans come out and support us and it really does make a difference. This championship isn’t just for us as a team, it’s for our whole school.”
Fellow senior captain Jessica Segal had 40 assists while Webb finished with 24 digs. Betsy Sanchez had nine kills and Elisa Santelia had six blocks.
For Ursuline, Molly McCarthy had 36 digs, Julia Parascandola had 19 digs and 13 kills, and Kristen Knight had 14 kills. Megan McCarthy had 25 assists and Celina Bertoncini added 21 assists.
“I think we dropped down our intensity level after the first two games,” said Ursuline coach Gigi Kemp. “We made some hitting errors in that third set that allowed them to start to build momentum. But I told the girls this has been a great season and I’m very proud of them. Only one team can win and we’ve got to keep our heads up high; we worked hard the entire season and we can’t let that get away just because we ended it here.”
Harrison advances to face Horse Heads in the state tournament this week. After winning the section last year but being knocked out of the state tournament, the Huskies enjoyed the moment, but have a new goal in mind.
“We’ll just take it one game at a time,” Segal said. “We can’t look too far ahead so it’ll be the same way we approached sectionals. We have to prepare hard and practice hard for our next game so we can get passed the round we got knocked out of last year.”