Raiders spike Seymour in battle of unbeatens
TORRINGTON – It was sweet and complete. A grand total of 72 minutes give or take a tick and an awfully efficient Torrington volleyball show, a 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-17) sweep.
So what does it all mean? If you go by the marquis this was huge. Two premier programs, Torrington and Seymour, who last met in the Class M finals 10 months ago (won by Seymour). Two undefeated teams. Two preeminent programs. Did we say huge?
Easy on all that. Torrington coach Christine Gamari and Seymour coach Kathy Federowicz weren’t exactly talking state titles or doom and gloom. Not on Sept. 24. Not with so much of the season to go.
“All it means is that we are 6-0 and that’s all we are going to focus on,” said Garmari.
“We’re young and every game we’re getting better,” said Fedorowicz. “That’s the focus and making sure we play well for the end of the year.”
So nobody was getting carried away, the veteran coaches know better. But if you are Torrington you had to like what you saw. The Raiders lost a host of players from last year’s NVL championship squad. But at this point they don’t seem to have missed a beat.
There is no one star, just a lot of people starring. This one was a typical come at you from all corners effort. Senior tri-captain Nina Lestrud came through a nine-kill, eight dig effort that included some solid serving games in Game 2.
Shae Eucalitto registered 29 assists to go with a couple of kills and four digs. Lauren Gaghan had 10 kills and four digs. Libero Candyce Jewett was all over with her share of digs and sets.
Even Gamari admitted the Raiders are a tough team to defend.
“We have never been a one-star team,” said Gamari. “The opponent doesn’t get a break. There is always someone else. Other teams must be disheartened. We work hard, we’re disciplined and the defense fuels the offense.”
And for all the new faces, the Raiders are still an experienced team, six seniors playing major roles. After a bit of a shaky start on this night they took off against a Wildcat squad that at times had four sophomores on the floor and had just lost their best hitter, Caty Ragaini, to a knee injury the day before.
Trailing, 12-10, in the opening game, The Raiders used a four-point service game from Eucalitto to take the lead and never gave it back. At 21-16, Gaghan served three points up to put the Raiders in position to close out the match.
It was Lestrud’s turn in the second game. With Torrington leading, 5-4, she served seven straight points highlighted by five Seymour errors trying to return and a big spike from Jocelyn Zordan.
Lestrud also served out the match at 21-11, again Seymour unable to stay away from the unforced error column. She admitted this game had that little extra oomph for her after last year.
“Of course I thought about last year, there was extra incentive,” said Lestrud.
The Raiders do what good teams do and finished it off with no let down. With Seymour (5-1) unable to mount a consistent offense, no more than three points on any service all night, the Raiders rode some solid serving from Zordan to vault to a 14-7 lead and ground out the rest.
At, 8-6, Zordan ran off six straight points, four of her services not coming back.
So are the Raiders as good as last year’s team? Pretty early, but there are signs. Ask Lestrud.
“Last year we had a lot of experience but this year we have a lot experience too,” said Lestrud. “To us this shows a lot. We’ve been playing together since seventh grade. It shows we work as a unit.”
Nobody on either side was making claims or looking at this other than the sixth match of the season. But for Torrington there are signs staring with the record. Good signs.