Greenwich Volleyball Falls to Falcons in CIAC Class LL Finals
The Greenwich High School girls volleyball team wasn’t able to recreate the magic of the last time they competed in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship game.
Back in 2010, Big Red battled Fairfield Ludlowe High School and was trailing 2-0 before mounting a massive rally to beat the Falcons 3-2. This year, the Lady Cardinals saw their tournament run come to and end with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-23, 25-16) loss to Ludlowe.
“I felt bad for the girls because they could have taken the first and second set,” Greenwich High School head coach Steve Lapham said. “It was right there for us to take and Fairfield took it. They earned the victory tonight.”
Abbie Wolf finished the game with 20 kills and one block, while Morgan Rafferty added eight kills, three service points, one ace and two digs. Nadia Sotgiu pitched in with four kills, two digs and one ace.
“I am very proud of our team,” Sotgiu said. “We came so close and played really well all season. It was great to come together and be right there with the tough teams. Although we didn’t win today, I am still very proud of the team and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Leading the way in assists was Maggy Egan, who finished with 31 and added two digs. Teammate Micaela Lew added seven digs and six service points. Caroline Beneville paced Big Red with seven service points and added six digs, while Samantha Schecter grabbed five kills and four service points.
“To have your last practice on the last possible day you can practice is a good feeling,” Lapham said. “They are a great bunch and really worked hard. The coaching staff is really proud of what the kids brought to practice at every practice and game. Even how they played in the third game when the lights appeared to be out, but the kids kept on fighting hard and didn’t give up. We have good kids and good athletes, but the ball didn’t bounce in our direction tonight.”
For Fairfield Ludlowe, it was a sweep of the championship season, winning both the FCIAC title and the CIAC class LL crown.
“This feels a little surreal right now,” Fairfield Ludlowe head coach Meghan Skelton said. “We are super excited right now and it’s something that we’ve been planning for the entire year. We have had competitive teams in the past, but to finally get here and get it done is just awesome. Greenwich is a good team and we knew Abbie Wolf was going to be on fire, but we were prepared. We worked hard on our blocks and defense. We did a good job. Everybody stepped up.”
En route to the title game, Big Red blasted No.3 seeded Southington 3-0 and basically controlled the play from start to finish. This time around, the script didn’t stay the same.
“I think Fairfield kept more pressure on us than Southington did,” Lapham said. “Their net play was solid and they had a few blocks. They started to pick up their serve towards the end. But we needed to grab either the first or second set. It would have been a different game.”
For Sotgiu and Schecter, it was a confidence factor that was a difference in the team from how they played all tournament and in the championship game.
“I think we didn’t play with as much confidence as we did in the previous games,” Sotgiu said. “We made a lot of unforced errors, more than we usually make. We just lost our energy.”
“We started to play well in the beginning and didn’t give up, but I think we were a little bit frazzled by some of the people in the stands, but I think it was on our fault as well,” Schecter said. “We weren’t getting a lot of our serves in and our passing wasn’t too great. But I still thought we played really well.”
With the loss, Greenwich ended what was a stellar campaign. Big Red ended the regular season 13-4 and advanced to the FCIAC semis before losing to Darien High School.
“We had an amazing season,” Schecter said. “Ludlowe is definitely a good team and did win FCIACs, but I think we had a great season. I am so proud of them and these girls are definitely my family. They are all wonderful.”
In the state tournament, the Lady Cardinals blasted both Bristol Central and Brien McMahon high schools They then took care of No. 2 seeded Amity Regional High School 3-1 in the class LL quarters and blitzed third-seeded Southington High School 3-0 in the semis at Trumbull High.
“This is the most successful season we’ve had in the past few years,” Sotgiu said. “We are going to learn from this and come back next season even stronger.”