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High School Volleyball:
Eastern Takes Group IV State Volleyball Title
Becomes First South Jersey Team To Win State Title

Saturday, November 17, 2001

By John Daglian
SJSports Staff Writer

William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ was sight where history would occur last night. The Eastern Lady Vikings, the #3 seed, were facing the Hunterdon Central Red Devils, the #1 seed, for the Group IV State Volleyball crown. No matter who won, it would be the first time in state history that a team from either the central or southern part of the state could lay claim to the words "state champs" in volleyball. Over 400 spectators would cheer the teams on.

Hunterdon Central entered the match with 33 - 1 record that included a home win over Eastern. Hunterdon's only loss was to Bridgewater that was avenged in the semi-finals. Eastern entered the match with a 25 - 2 record. Their only other loss was to Olympic Conference rival Cherry Hill East. That loss was also avenged in the Semi-Finals. In fact, a contingent from Cherry Hill East traveled north to cheer on their conference foe.

The match was expected to be fairly close as both teams utilized all their players on offense and played gritty defense. Central jumped out to a quick 3 - 0 lead behind the serving of Tracy Zaino. However, Eastern clawed their way back to take a 7 - 3 lead behind brilliant shot selection from their entire team. As in their semi-final match, their shot placement seemed to throw off Hunterdon Central. The tough positions were forcing Hunterdon out of their normal passing game and kept them on the defensive. Eastern expanded the lead to 12 - 3 before Hunterdon mounted a mini comeback. The lead was cut to 12 - 7 before the Vikings were able to close out game one 15 - 7.

The second game started out in similar fashion as Eastern grabbed a quick 2 - 0 lead, before Central came back behind the serving of Christine Boyer to take a 7 - 2 lead. This game featured numerous long volleys and several spectacular saves. However, on this day Eastern would not be denied as they slowly cut into the lead and eventually took over at 9 - 7. Central was able to close to 9 - 8 on a kill by Amy Defazio, but they would get no closer. Eastern's Natalie Defeliciantonio and Jennifer Snyder sealed off the net on defense and provided several key kills. Eastern would win the game 15 - 11 and take home the State title.

Hunterdon Central was led by setter Tracy Zaino, hitters Christine Boyer, Amy Defazio, Becky Fraser and Leslie Lykes and Lauren Thul and defensive specialist Megan Brown. Christine Drevitch and Kim Dempsey coach Hunterdon Central.

Eastern was led by setter Kristen Bertucci, hitters Natalie Defeliciantonio, Jennifer Snyder, Angela Difilippo, Caitlen Ceilo and Liz Lemay and defensive specialist Jennifer Froelich. Tom Armour and Lisa Pepe coach Eastern.

Congratulations go to Eastern High School who has become the first South Jersey team to win a state volleyball title.

©2001 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.