By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Still physically tired and emotionally bruised by a stinging 3-2 loss at Branford on Tuesday night, the Amity volleyball team returned home Wednesday night to host Southern Connecticut Conference–Housatonic Division rival Shelton. While it was far from its best effort, Amity regrouped to blank the visiting Gaelettes 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-18). With this win, the Black and Gold improve their record to 9-3 (4-1 against Housy teams, while Shelton (still trying to rebuild after having its top seven players graduate last June, drops to 4-8 (0-4 I n Housy action.)
“Not much went on tonight, but we played well enough to win,” Amity Coach Paul Thees said.
Ignited by Sydnee Sousa’s strong serving, the winners immediately took charge of the opening contest. The Lady Spartans’ senior co-captain ran off six successful serves in a row (including two aces) as Amity quickly jumped ahead 10-2. During that early charge Rebecca and Allison Denny each banged two spikes onto the floor.
Amanda Vecchio’s perfectly placed cross court blast into the far corner along with her block of an attempted kill by Shelton’s Francesca Testani enabled the winners to open up a 10 point lead (18-8). Plagued with erratic serving and hitting, Shelton also found it difficult to respond to powerful and well placed scoring hits by Vecchio and Allison Denny that ended the first game.
The second game began with Amity stumbling out of the starting gate and falling behind 4-1. Once again Sousa’s serving stabilized Amity as she ran off a five point string that featured two more aces and turned her team’s three point deficit into a five point lead (6-5). With the game knotted at 7-7, spikes by Allison Denny, Post, and Vecchio broke the deadlock and catapulted the Lady Spartans into a 10-7 advantage.
Repeated hitting mistakes by the Gaelettes enabled Thees’ girls to open up another 10 point margin (18-8). Struggling to wrap up the game and take a 2-0 lead, Amity withstood a late Shelton rally and prevented any Gaelette hopes for a comeback thanks to kills by the Denny sisters, sandwiched around a timely off-speed bump over the net from Vecchio.
Gina Orazetti’s scoring bump and a service ace by Dominika Marczak put Shelton on top 8-7 early in the third game. Back-to back kills by Allison Denny and Heather Watt gave the winners a 9-8 lead. The game see sawed back and forth and was again tied at 14-14 when Watt hammered another spike to the floor and Sousa put home four consecutive aces that opened up a 19-14 advantage for Amity.
Post caromed a bump off and over the net for another Amity point that was followed by a scoring bump by Kathryn Pisano that preceded a final match-ending blast into the net by Marczak.
“We need to be more aggressive and communicate better,” Thees said.” We were much too passive tonight. At times, we played down to the level of our opponent. Like I said before, we played well enough to beat a young, rebuilding team.”
Offensively, Allison led the way with 11 kills. Rebecca Denny and Sousa add five kills apiece. Sousa also was good on each of her 22 serves with eight aces. Sophomore Zoe Moscato came off the bench to put home all nine of her serves (with one ace). Ashley Wu also came off the bench and was good on all five of her serves. Pisano recorded 27 assists and was perfect in her seven tries from the service line and also recorded an ace. Libero Liz Marino chipped in with seven digs.
Thees added, “Lately I’ve watched Ashley serve in practice and jayvee games and saw that she is very smooth and confident in her own play. Heather Watt also played well. Our veterans did not play well last night at Branford, so I called on the young kids off the bench who haven’t seen much varsity action and they actually won the third and fourth games for us.”
Shelton was led by Testani who had three kills and 31 digs., Nicole Baird added 10 digs, seven assists, and two kills.
Amity hosts West Haven Friday at 5:00 p.m.
Below are file photos from previous 2012 games.