Terrific Wildcats season comes to an end in Class M volleyball semi's.
SHELTON: It was a ride nobody saw coming but it was still tough to see it end, nonetheless.
The Wolcott Tech boys volleyball team ran into a guy named Chatham Studer and Barlow and walked away on the short end of a 3-1 score (24-26, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25).
Tech came in as the number three seed, the Falcons two and there wasn’t a whole bunch that separated the two teams, except for the very large Studer who helped his team dominate the most important part of the court; the net.
The Wildcats, who were making their fourth appearance in the Final Four, started slow in the first game, falling behind 5-1 off the bat but battled back to knot things at eight and pushed out to a 21-14 lead before the Falcons scored 12 of the games last 15 points to pull out a critical 26-24 win.
Barlow had a number of net minders who made the Wildcats look for other ways to score and to defend. Along with Studer, senior Jake Tritchonis was a powerful hitter on either side of the formation and if a Falcon setter was not setting Studer up with a kill on a plate, Tritchonis was handling things from the sides.
One of the strengths of Tech all year had been their ability to go on runs but on Monday, the runs were few and far between.
Barlow led nearly wire to wire in game two and the Wildcats season was hanging in the balance.
After being down by as many as six in the third game, the Wildcats battled back and won by a 25-22 score but game four saw the number two seed again lead almost wire to wire to move on to the finals in Class M.
Barlow will take on the winner of the other semi-final between Newington and New Canna, which will be played on Tuesday.
“I told the kids after the game,” head coach Ray Tanguay said, “That this was my sixteenth year in coaching and I have had some great teams. But out of all the teams I have ever had, this is hands down the best.”
Not bad for a team that had the coaching staff scratching their head not that long ago.
“This was a team that when we started out two and a half months ago,” Tanguay said, “We were wondering if we would even qualify. So to have these guys grow so much as athletes and young adults made the whole season worth wild. Just the best group of kids I have ever coached.”
Senior Matt Dell’Agnese, the heart and soul of this team along with fellow seniors Taegan Murphy and Ryan Lojewski, was not happy with how things ended but was proud of were his team came from and how much he got out of playing for the four years.
“I could not have asked for a better,” Dell’Agnese said, “These guys are like another family to me. I could not have asked for a better four years of playing volleyball with these guys. I’m really glad I decided my freshman year to come out and play volleyball.”
The difference tonight? One name.
“Chatham (Studer) is a great middle,” Dell’Agnese said, “They played really scrappy and I thought we were really even but the better team got the win tonight.”
So a great campaign comes an end but not before the Wolcott Tech Wildcats took their fan base on a terrific ride.