By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Sponsored by Robert Sousa of Sousa & Stone
After splitting the first two games, Amity and Cheshire were deadlocked at 21-21 in the third game of Friday’s Southern Connecticut Conference—Housatonic Division volleyball match at the Rams’ home gymnasium. The Lady Spartans held the serve and were only three points away from taking the third game and a 2-1 lead in the match. Visions of a huge road upset danced in the collective heads of the players. Amity road victories over Cheshire have been few and far between.
As luck would have it, those Lady Spartan upset dreams soon faded away. While it did have the serve and a chance to grab the third game, fate turned its back on the visitors. They lost that key tire-breaking point and also dropped the next three points as Cheshire won 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead. With a severe crimp in those upset visions, Amity quickly lost the fourth game 25-12. With that high emotional 3-1 win (25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 25-12) win, the undefeated Rams (currently ranked No. 5 in the state) improved their record to 7-0 while Amity slipped to 5-2.
Following the loss, Amity Coach Paul Thees said, “Don’t get me wrong. Right now, I do think Cheshire is a better team than we are, but we were tied 1-1 and only 4 points from winning the third game. We’ll never know what heading into Game No. 4 with a 2-1 lead would have done for us. We had our opportunity and didn’t take advantage of it. Losing the third game the way we lost it, took a lot of the wind out of our sails. Cheshire plays like it is a machine. So far, we haven’t come together as a team. We’re still a collection of parts, trying to come together.”
Going on the attack at the outset of the first game, the Rams jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead and soon wrapped up the win.
According to Thees, “Cheshire came out very strong in the first game and we played from behind during the entire game. The second game was back and forth, with neither team taking a big lead. Fortunately, we hung on and won it. After narrowly losing the third game the way we lost it, we never came out of the blocks for the fourth game. We simply fell apart.”
He added, “I was very pleased to see us hang on and win the second game. With us holding serve and tied 21-21 in the third game, I was thrilled with what we were doing. I knew Cheshire lost seven players from last year’s team and thought that we had a 50-50 chance to catch them Friday night. Out of nowhere, they come up with three sophomores who played unbelievable matches. Except for Allison Denny (nine kills, one block, 16 digs, and 13 of 14 from the service line—with three aces), we didn’t show a lot of offense. A lot of our points were a result of Cheshire mistakes.”
Amity libero Liz Marino had a memorable evening, recording 35 digs.
Thees said, “Liz did a super job in the back row. She had a fantastic match.”
Recently promoted from the junior varsity team, Julia Bedini chipped in with seven kills and three digs. Kristin Post recorded three digs, two kills, and was good on all but 1 of her 12 serves. Setter Kathryn Pisano added 23 assists and was a perfect eight-for-eight from the service line.
Last Monday night, Amity quickly put down West Haven 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-17).
Thees said, “I was told that four of West Haven’s senior missed the match because they were on a field trip. Even with them on the court, I still think we were the better team. We just didn’t play up to our potential. Instead, we played down to the level of our opponent. We don’t often play on a Monday and I don’t know if that had any impact on the match, but it was a very slow match.”
As usual, Denny led the winners with 13 kills and three digs. Post added four digs, two kills, and was good on all six of her serves—with four aces. Amanda Vecchio contributed three kills and was good on all eight of her serves with four aces.
After pointing out that Pisano posted 12 assists in the first two games and was six-for-six from the service line (with two aces), Thees added, “As a first-year setter, Kathryn has stepped into the starting line-up and been very steady— without any problems.”
The Black and Gold host Sheehan tonight at 5:30.