Theresa Swertfager was five years old the last time her mother Diane’s Hen Hud team lost at home.
Eleven years, and more than 100 matches later, the junior libero was a part of the John Jay team that snapped her legendary mother’s illustrious streak.
The Indians (6-1) swept the Sailors, 25-15, 25-13, 25-19 in what was also the first-ever sweep against Hen Hud during Swertfager’s 25-year run at the helm of the varsity program.
“It’s just like another game, just playing to win; but you’re playing your mom — it’s a little different, I have to admit,” said Theresa Swertfager, who had 12 digs in the win.
She was also very well-aware of the Sailors’ streak.
“It’s definitely a leg-up on the win,” she said of beating the streak. “It’s just amazing, they haven’t lost for forever and we’re the ones that beat them, so it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”
Bill Swertfager, the John Jay wrestling coach and man of the household, said that Theresa has been going to Hen Hud practices since she was a one-year old. Despite attending a different high school, over the years Theresa said she views many of the Hen Hud players — both past and present — as family.
“It’s been amazing — they’ve all been a great group of girls, and I’ve just grown up with them,” she said. “They’ve taken me under their wing, so that was great. It’s fun playing against them; it’s like sister against sister, kind of.”
Diane Swertfager didn’t hide her emotions after the loss, but said that losing to her daughter was a consolation prize, of sorts.
“I’m frustrated. We’ve had 11 years in-a-row undefeated in our gym. … I guess it’s ok if you lose to your daughter,” the three-time state champion coach said.
The Sailors were battling some nagging injuries, both new and old. While Morgan Loh was just getting back on her feet — literally — after tweaking her ankle, Swertfager also regrettably announced that Alicia Niebrzydowski would likely be out for the remainder of the season with a possible ACL tear.
Hen Hud was just getting over the loss of a player to an ACL tear with Gabby Kempski back in the lineup after missing last season. Swertfager said that Kempski, who had eight kills, is “playing out of her mind right now.”
The team injuries forced Swertfager to make some adjustments to her lineup.
“I don’t feel we’re full-strength, hopefully we’ll give (John Jay) a little bit more the next time we play them,” she said. Hen Hud and John Jay will meet two more times during the regular season.
“(John Jay) hit from all three spots, as we should be, and they served very tough and put us a little bit on the defensive,” she said. “We couldn’t put it all together consistently enough today, and (John Jay) did.”
Amanda Flayhan recorded her second triple-double of the season, tallying a remarkably accurate 10 kills, 10 assists and 10 digs for the Indians. Flayhan is the first player in Section 1 to achieve the feat more than once this year.
Indians coach Tom Rizzotti paid little, if any, attention to the family rivalry; instead focusing on getting a key league victory. The ninth-year varsity coach earned his first victory against the Sailors on Tuesday.
“With Theresa, it’s never been about ‘Diane-Theresa’ with us,” he said. “For our team, coach Swertfager is coach Swertfager. It’s not (Theresa’s) mom when we think about this (match). For us, it’s always about playing the team and it’s not a matter of, ‘Who’s on the other side’ as matter of what we’re doing.”
The second installment of the Swertfager saga will be on October 8 at John Jay.
Best of the rest: Rebecca Via had eight kills for Masters in a 15-25, 25-17, 16-26, 21-25 loss to Greenwich. … Alexis Demitrovic had seven kills and seven aces for Dobbs Ferry in a 25-10, 25-23, 25-12 win over Mount Vernon. …Vanessa Rugova had 10 kills for Fox Lane in a 25-13, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18 win over Horace Greeley. … Rachel Julie had eight kills in a 25-19, 25-22, 25-22 win over Croton-Harmon. … Sabrina Perlleshi had 10 kills in a 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-19 win for Pleasantville over North Salem. … Aono Hayashi had 10 kills for Keio in a 25-9, 25-7, 25-9 win over Port Chester.
Tuesday, September 24
John Jay 3, Hen Hud 0
Briarcliff 3, Croton-Harmon 0
Somers 3, Peekskill 0
Ossining 3, Rye 0
Blind Brook 3, Albertus Magnus 2
Fox Lane 3, Horace Greeley 1
Greenwich Academy 3, Masters 1
Arlington 3, Haldane 0
Kennedy 3, Preston 0
Keio 3, Port Chester 0
Dobbs Ferry 3, Mount Vernon 0
Pleasantville 3, North Salem 1
Byram Hills 3, Valhalla 0
Harrison 3, New Rochelle 2
Zacchio’s prediction record today: 11-1
Zacchio’s prediction record this season: 119-36