25th year in the playoffs

Volleyball team cultivates fast-paced strategy


The Bayport-Blue Point girls varsity volleyball team faced off against longtime rival John Glenn, and won, bringing their season record to 6-2.

“In all my years of coaching, I’ve only won maybe five times in the John Glenn gym,” said coach Toni McKinnon, who has gone to the playoffs each season since 1998.

The game against John Glenn marked a series of away games for the team as most of the early season games were scheduled at home.

“It’s rough going on the road, but the team found their rhythm,” said McKinnon.

With a whopping 18 players this year, McKinnon said the typical team size is eight to nine players, and the bench is as integral as the six athletes on the court.

“We’ve really practiced on being a cohesive team that can communicate and anticipate each other’s actions without having to look at one another, and that includes team members on the bench,” said McKinnon.

Ten of the 18 athletes are seniors who have played together since elementary school, with McKinnon remembering them attending summer volleyball clinics.

“This is what makes this team so special. I’ve coached for a long time, and you see some kids drop off, but this team has stuck together for years,” said McKinnon.

With a fast-paced technique, the athletes have developed against cacophony that could disrupt the three-touch rule for point-scoring.

“Because you can’t consecutively touch the ball, every point is a team effort,” said McKinnon.

With 25 points to win a set, that is at least 75 touches per victory.

“The endurance is insanity,” said McKinnon. “Our last Saturday tournament, the bus left at 6 a.m. and we didn’t get back until 5:30 p.m.”

Supportive parents, whom McKinnon described as willing to do “anything and everything” to help the team, said, “It is the best parent support group I could ever ask for.”

During games, parents often bring cases of water or Gatorade to players, and the Bayport-Blue Point Booster Club was cited by McKinnon as being generous patrons of the team.

“They’re all so fun to be with,” said McKinnon, who attends every pasta night hosted by the team for fundraising.

“If there’s negativity from the parent, it seeps into the child, and the parents of this team are so positive that the girls are the best of friends,” said McKinnon.

The next two games for the volleyball team include showdowns with Mount Sinai and Shoreham-Wading River. 


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