Lady Trojan spikers hang tough against top teams
Give the Weston girls volleyball team credit for hanging tough against the top teams in the SWC.
Although Weston lost 3-1 at Bunnell (25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22) Friday and 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 28-26) at home to defending SWC champion Newtown Monday to drop to 1-4, it showed many positive signs in both losses. Newtown raised its record to 5-0. Bunnell is 4-1 after beating New Fairfield Monday.
"Games 2 and 3 came right down to the end again, as we're very used to," Lady Trojans coach Jamie Charles said. "But they are a consistent and confident team and we were able to give them a good fight tonight. Made several errors such as serving and receiving mistakes, but played very good defense. I think that each of these tough games has taught us alot and made us a stronger, smarter team. Hopefully these initial struggles helps us battle through the remaining games in our schedule, especially ones that come down to the wire."
Against Newtown, Weston led in both the second and third games before falling short to the defending champs.
Savannah Carpenter led the Lady Trojans with 17 digs and six kills. Lili Clement (six kills, 10 digs) and Frances Holmes (15 digs) also played a major role. Jessy Gersh (six service points, 12 assists, eight digs), Taylor Swanson (seven digs), Morgan Murray (four digs) and Anna Hengelbrok (two digs) also contributed for Weston.
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Having only two hitters deliver kills didn't help the Lady Trojans. Their attack only consisted of two hitters delivering kills against Bunnell, which made it easier for the opposing defenses to focus their attention in containing Weston's attack.
"We have four players back and I try to go to Lili and Savanah, said Gersh, who is the team's setter and is responsible for running the offense. "It's good to have options [to set too]. Taylor is more of a setter than a hitter. Our weakest point is that we dig ourselves a hole and need to have a steady beginning. We seem to come on strong in the end. We can't give up kills at the beginning of the game."
Falling behind also didn't help the Lady Trojans. They trailed 20-13 in the second game before Carpenter's kill forced a sideout and Murray tied it with six straight service points, two aces. Clement had a tip kill and Holmes won a jump ball for a block in the rally.
Weston trailed 21-15 and 24-18 in the fourth game before they started to climb back into the game. A Lady Bulldog error helped the Lady Trojans and Gersh served three straight points, two aces, and Holmes helped the spurt out with a block.
However, Bunnell's Alex Hudak (11 kills, six digs, three service points) ended it with a kill.
"If we got on track earlier, we wouldn't be in this predicament, but Bunnell is a very good team," Charles said. "All games were close."
In the third game, Weston led most of the way. Carpenter (12 kills, one block, 19 digs, five service points) served two points to extend the lead to four, 19-15.
The Lady Bulldogs took a 22-20 lead before Clement (seven kills, one block, one service point, one ace) broke the rally with a kill. Gersh (18 assists, nine service points, two aces) tied it with a service ace.
Clement and Carpenter tied it at 23 and 24 with basketball pass-style kills before Sydney Weiss (six service points, one ace) ended the game with two service points, one ace.
Holmes (14 digs, three blocks), Murray (eight service points, three digs), Swanson (nine digs, six service points), Hengelbrok (two blocks, one dig) and Justine Belport (three digs) also contributed for Weston.
No one can fault Carpenter because she did what she could to keep the Lady Trojans in the game. She was strong in the front row.
"I was so fired up for all of the games," Carpenter said. "Coach tells me to be patient and see the set or run fast and go in there and pound it."
At 5-9 ½, hitting the floor and coming up with the dig is challenging. Nevertheless, Carpenter did it well and saved Weston many times on defense.
"It was pretty hard getting on the floor," Carpenter said. "I stay so low and normally, I'm ready for a hit. If it's a tip and I'm deep, I have to slide across the floor to get the ball up."