Seymour Ready to Try and Stop Torrington Blitz.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
We’ve all heard the old sports adage that says it’s difficult (except in pro baseball and basketball) to beat a team three times in a row.
Well, the Seymour girls’ volleyball team is hoping that adage holds true when the Wildcats go up against Torrington in Saturday morning’s Class M state volleyball championship game.
The top-seeded Raiders hold two wins this season over third-seeded Seymour, the latter coming in the finals of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament. Will form hold true, or will Seymour figure out a way to stop the Torrington juggernaut that has seen the Raiders cruise through every team but one (Granby) and not lose a game in three state tournament matches.
The last time the two teams met, Torrington was dominant in the NVL Tournament championship match, winning, 3-2. The Wildcats led, 1-0, in the first game and then again at 3-2. They never led again for the remainder of the three-game match. Seymour was led by Alyssa Cosciello with 10 assists, Faith Thurmond with five kills and three blocks, Shari Minalga with 10 digs, and Caitlyn O’Hara with six digs.
To be certain, Seymour has the advantage of seeing THS up close and personal this fall. The Wildcats also have enjoyed a remarkable season, capturing 23 of 25 matches they have played, and winning 15 matches in a row before losing to the Raiders in the NVL Tournament. Seymour beat St. Joseph’s, 3-1, Plainville, 3-2, and Granby (which, remember, beat Torrington this season), 3-1, in the Class M semifinals to reach the state championship game.
“When you have five seniors who have gone through four years of volleyball together you develop a solid core for a team,” said Seymour head coach Cathy Federowicz. “They work hard, and they support each other.”
Seymour’s lineup against Torrington figures to be seniors O’Hair, Thurmond, Sam Diorrio-Torres, Gosia Fryc and Minalga, and sophomore Alyssa Cosciello. Junior Kaitlin Esposito and sophomore Caty Ragani will come off the bench. Make no doubt about it, this is a talented and veteran Wildcat squad that Torrington will face.
“Shari Minalga and Gosia Fryc have been starting since their sophomore years,” said Federowicz, “They are responsible for the majority of the defense for us. Faith Thurmond and Samantha Diorrio-Torres started last year and have been our two primary hitters this year.”
The head coach said her team “got a nice surprise with the development of our sophomore setter Alyssa Cosciello.” She added, “As a freshmen, Alyssa possessed great hands and over time we anticipated she could be a solid varsity setter. She started out the season as the junior varsity setter and by the fifth game of the season we knew she was ready to take over the varsity spot. As a 4-foot, 11-inch kid, she plays big on the court and has been a sparkplug for our team.”
Federowicz said the Wildcats’ two primary hitters, Ragani and O'Hara “have also had opportunities to put the ball down on the floor.”
Thurmond has 165 kills this season, 9.7 a match. She also has 26 blocks and 15 service aces. Fryc has 28 kills and 98 digs, while Mingala has 274 digs, an average of 14.4 a match.
In the state tournament, Thurmond has recorded 55 kills, or a whopping 18.3 a match, and also has 2.3 blocks a match, while Diorio-Torres had 39 kills and Minalga 71 digs in the team’s three state tourney matches.
During the regular season Seymour lost just 11 games, three of those to Torrington. The Cats’ only other close regular season matches were 3-2 wins over Naugatuck and Woodland. The ‘Cats recorded 13 shutouts during the regular campaign.
Seymour has been to the state championship game twice, losing to Haddam-Killingworth in 2014 in Class S, and losing to Darien in the Class M final in 2005.
Federowicz is assisted by Heather Yablonski and Christina Cretella.