With great determination the Massapequa Girls Volleyball team headed to their second consecutive Long Island Championship. Head coach Carol Ann Habeeb-Kiel had prepared her players with great confidence to win yet another coveted title.
“Foot on the gas and don’t let up because everyone has the drive to win and the momentum can switch at any course of the game,” said Coach Habeeb-Kiel.
Throughout the championship game against the Connetquot T-Birds, the Chiefs stuck to their game plan. It was a real thriller with momentum changing from Massapequa, who lead early on to Connetquot, which fought back. But with Massapequa’s great patience and focus to stay in the game, they came out successful with their second consecutive Long Island Championship.
Coach Habeeb-Kiel spoke upon a major component to Massapequa’s game plan.
“Composure and patience is key and at the high school level, this is a huge aspect for the girls,” she said.
Volleyball is a sport that incorporates patience, stamina and composure. Fortunately the girls’ volleyball team hold those three qualities in a tremendous fashion. As one of the best volleyball programs on Long Island, every year the Chiefs make their school proud. They have been undefeated for the past eleven consecutive seasons, winning fifteen consecutive Nassau County Championships, along with two consecutive Long Island Championships and a state championship in 2007. It is hard to not be taken back by this team’s incredible accomplishments. But combining the immense amount of talented players being coached under the outstanding Habeeb-Kiel, there is no question as to why Massapequa is elite.
Coach Habeeb-Kiel is also the eighth grade coach—the legacy of the Massapequa girls’ volleyball team begins in eighth grade. Habeeb-Kiel has 27 years of coaching experience and shares her wealth of knowledge with the youth of Massapequa.
“It’s not about winning, but appreciating and getting a feel for the sport; as well as making the transition to the high school level smoother for the girls,” said Habeeb-Kiel of the younger girls.
Once these young girls get to the high school level, volleyball is full throttle. Each practice is two hours and it’s not your standard volleyball practice. Habeeb-Kiel incorporates conditioning, whether running a mile or on the bleachers, jumping rope, squat jumps and abdominal work. These workouts are in addition to the girls’ in depth volleyball practice.
The Chiefs also get added practice when they play in different tournaments on Long Island. They’re facing stronger competition, including the top Catholic school St. Anthony’s, whom they defeated.
“I start subbing early, working in each girl and creating different chemistry,” said Habeeb-Kiel as she prepares her girls for game time. “We play every game like we are the underdog because come playoffs, it is anyone’s game.”
Habeeb-Kiel coaches her team as if they are the 10 seed, which reflects the girls’ tremendous degree of respect and passion each game.
“Defense wins championships,” she said.
Volleyball is the epitome of a team sport. In order to be successful, the team must have trust and chemistry with one another, as well as a leader, who leads by example. For Massapequa, they have two of these stand out players; seniors Mikayla Porr and Jamie Schlesinger. Porr, who is the Chiefs libero, was an All State volleyball player as a junior. She is also one of Massapequa’s stronger defensive players as she is dominant and always alert. Schlesinger on the other hand, runs the offense. She has transformed into a setter this year and executes her job with excellence. Schlesinger is a hard worker and distributes the ball well. As early as November, the Chiefs already have a volleyball college commit, senior Allie Dillon, who will be taking her talents to Skidmore College next fall.
Although the Chiefs won a Long Island Championship last year, it did not make this year’s victory any less special. Last year Massapequa had a team with just two seniors, and the nerves of younger players were at an all time high. This year, the returning players showed up with a vengeance as they wanted to prove to everyone that they deserved to be at the top. They succeeded.
This elite bunch holds themselves with great integrity towards their sport. With renowned coach Habeeb-Kiel, Long Island can always expect potency from Massapequa’s volleyball team. It is a legacy at Massapequa High School that shall surely and enduringly, live on.