Magical run ends for Torrington volleyball in loss to Seymour in Class M final.
EAST HAVEN: All the old adages could have be in play on Saturday.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season.”
“The one who wins will be the one who comes ready to play with their “A” game.”
“It’s just another game”
On Saturday morning, the Torrington Raiders volleyball team was on the short end of the first two of the above mentioned and the third is really hard to make anyone who plays in this kind of game believe.
After beating their Naugatuck Valley League rival, Seymour once during the regular season and again by rolling over them in the NVL Tournament final by a 3-0 final score, the Raiders found themselves playing against a supremely motivated Wildcats team that turned the tables in a 3-0 match win with game scores of 25-23, 25-23 and 25-21.
Seymour takes home their first ever State Championship with the win while Torrington will head home still in search of that elusive girls’ championship which will be the first in school history when it happens.
It was the third ranked Wildcats who flipped the script from the first two meetings between the two rivals by consistently being on the attack while the top ranked Raiders were not as sharp as they had been the previous two matches.
“We just weren’t executing like we have in the past,” Gamari said. “Versus other teams or them (Seymour) specifically. They, I thought were playing big points better, they were scrappy. We just had way too many errors. They put us in that position, I’m not going to take anything away from them for what they did. They earned that victory, they stood up and played better than us today.”
Senior Faith Thurmond had herself a championship caliber morning, especially at the net where she dominated with 19 kills after the Raiders had effectively taken her out of her game the last two meetings.
“In past games, I think we made her a little more inconsistent,” Gamari said. “We were able to control what they did, in terms of running an offense. Our serve was not working today for us, even when we got it over the net and inbounds. We count on that to put teams in tough positions.”
Seymour head coach Cathy Federowicz was impressed with what her talented senior brought to this game.
“She (Faith) was just all out, lights out from her,” Federowicz said. “We joke that you have to have Faith and this morning we did.”
From the start, Thurmond was on her game, converting four of her team’s first five points in the opener with hard kills that propelled the Wildcats to a fast 6-2 lead.
“We had to play better than the last time we played them,” Thurmond said. “We had to come in strong and play the cleanest game and that’s what we did. I think we focused more and played together as one.”
It became evident pretty fast that Seymour was a different team than the one the Raiders swept on November 4.
“In the NVL Championship, we did not hit at all,” Seymour head coach Cathy Federowicz said. “Our back row was having a tough time bringing up their (Torrington’s) serves and we did a lot of free-balling and Torrington was banging balls down on us like crazy. They had close to 30 kills, we had eight the entire match. So we knew in order to win this match, our back row was going to have to be solid and we were going to have to have good sets and really attack the offense.”
Torrington never really seemed to get themselves in a flow on offense, more times than not just trying to stay close but never had that run they have gotten used to all season.
11 missed serves and 12 missed hits in a match like this can be the difference and on Saturday it most certainly was.
“We were able to put the ball closer to the net to allow our big hitters to swing away,” Federowicz said. “And put them on their heels. They’ve got tremendous hitters and we were kind of able to keep them at bay a little bit.”
The Raiders never led by more than three points at any point on Saturday and when they did in the second game at 20-17, Federowicz took a key time out to steady her team who responded by taking the next four points before Torrington went back in front 23-22 off a Jolie Fox kill (12 in all).
Letting a team win game two assures a long day and the Wildcats were looking to avoid that as they took another time out before taking the next three points for the 25-23 win and a 2-0 game lead.
In game three, the Raiders faced a big hill, one they had climbed once before this year when they were down 2-0 to Naugatuck early in the season.
This day though, the Wildcats had the Raiders on their heels much of the morning and although the top seed would get within two at 21-19 in that third game but the Wildcats wrapped things up with, of course, a Thurmond kill.
NOTES: Much was made of the early morning start and the time may have favored the Wildcats who had been through it before.
“We played two years ago at 10 o’clock in Glastonbury,” Federowicz said. “So we did the whole get up and come here. It’s tough to get up here and play at ten. So we though that would be a big advantage for us and maybe it was.”
No matter how much coaches may try and downplay the stage that these players find themselves on, there is no escaping it, no matter how much one might try.
“This game has meaning,” Gamari said. “Even though we try and minimize it by saying it’s just another game. I think as much as we tried to do that, the girls still knew what it was. I just want to thank my seniors for what they have done this season. Even though we go out this way, this most certainly doesn’t characterize us at all.”
Jayleen Colon finished with 24 assists giving her a remarkable 629 in her senior year. Colon added nine digs.
Carissa Carbone ends her brilliant career with a nine kill, 12 dig effort while Ali Dubois tallied 17 digs, a team high.
This was some kind of ride for the Raider faithful, who showed up in great numbers on Saturday.