By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Sponsored by Robert Sousa of Sousa & Stone
Some will tell you that one mark of a good volleyball team is its ability to win five- set matches. If that is true, the Amity volleyball team has the marks of being a good team. In their first 10 matches, the Lady Spartans have played four five-setters and won three of them. Two of those four long five-setters occurred last week and Amity won both. Sandwiched around the Lady Spartans’ 3-1 victory over Lyman Hall on Wednesday, were 3-2 wins over Sheehan on Monday and the same score over Guilford on Friday. With those pair of Southern Connecticut Conference triumphs, Amity upped its Southern Connecticut Conference record to 8-2 (3-2 in the Housatonic Division) and qualified for November’s state tournament.
“The good thing about these five set-matches is we are showing resiliency. We have proven that we are able to come back when our backs are against the wall,” Coach Paul Thees said. “On the other hand, we have shown the tendency to let the opposing team win close games due to our inconsistent communication. Too many balls are drop ping to the floor because we don’t talk to each other. That leads to very scary situations.”
In Amity’s 25-12, 24-26, 20-25, 25-15, 15-13 victory over Housy rival Sheehan, it won the first game quiet easily. After that, the Black and Gold let the second and third games slip away in the face of the Titans’ increased offensive efforts. Trailing 2-1 and facing defeat if they lost Game No. 4, the Lady Spartans shook off their mid-match slump to take that game in convincing fashion. Trailing 13-11 in the 15 point third game, Amity swept the last four points to win the game and the match.
As usual, Allison Denny led the winners’ attack with a season-high 22 kills along with six digs and landing nine of her 10 serves. Sydnee Sousa added five kills, a block, six digs and was good on 25 of her 26 serves—with a pair of aces. Rebecca Denny had five kills, nine digs, and was good on all 20 of her serves—an ace. Kristen Post chipped in with five kills, six digs, and two service aces. Setter Kathryn Pisano was credited with a season-high 39 assists and was good on all but one of her nine serves with two aces.
The 5-4 Titans were led by Ali Sperrnazza, who had 13 kills and 15 digs. Katie Reed dug up 26 balls and setter Meghan Gavin recorded 26 assists and eight service aces.
It was much the same story against Guilford on Friday night when Amity survived a 25-23, 18-25, 23-25, 25-10, 15-13 marathon.
“I’ve noticed that the games we win in the five-setters are usually won quite easily, by wide margins; however, the games we lost are usually very close. As I said before, it all comes down to communication. When we communicate, we play well and win. When we don’t communicate well, we don’t play well and lose,” Thees said.
After squeaking out a narrow victory in the opener, Amity fell victim to hot serving from Sam Gavin in the second game. With her team trailing 14-9, Gavin landed 12 consecutive serves that turned her team’s five point deficit into a six point lead (20-11).
Thees added, “Guilford played well in the second and we didn’t.”
After dropping a hard-fought third game and once again trail 2-1, Amity stepped up to take the fourth game in a laugher. With the fifth and final contest deadlocked at 13-13, Guilford committed a costly net violation, giving the Lady Spartans game/match point and the serve, which they quickly converted into a match-winning final point.
This time Sousa led the winners with a dozen kills and landed 18 of 20 from the service line—with 2 aces. Allison Denny had eight kills and a block. Rebecca Denny added five kills. Amanda Vecchio was good on all 26 of her serves with four aces. Libero Liz Marino charted a career-high 23 digs while Pisano put up 28 assists and landed 10 11 serves.
Thees said, “This was the same scenario as the Guilford match. We made too many mistakes, which forced us to again come-from-behind to pull it out. As I did against Lyman Hall on Wednesday, I moved Sydnee from weak side to outside hitter in the last two games. That gave us more offense and I put Claire Foster in to give us some additional defense on the weak side. She’s very quiet but is a very smooth player who does her job quiet well. In the spring, she is an outstanding player for our tennis team.”
With her13 kills, Caitlin Sobolewski was the top hitter for the 5-5 Indians. She also chalked up 11 digs and six services aces. Setter Taylor White recorded 20 assists eight digs, and five kills. Grinold had a dozen digs, 14 service points, and four aces.
On Friday Amity visits Branford for an SCC inter-divisional contest at 5:00 p.m. seeking to avenge an early season 3-2 loss to the Hornets.