Raiders girls volleyball dominates again, shuts out Naugy, 3-0. Now 11-1.
TORRINGTON: They are the hottest team at Torrington High School this fall and may not have hit their peak at this point in the season.
I’m talking about the Raiders girls’ volleyball team who, since dropping their only match of the year to Granby Memorial (3-2) on September 29, have ramped up their intensity to a level that has allowed them to not lose a single game in their last five matches.
On Friday night during a special event the players planned and pulled off called “Dig Night”, the Raiders dispatched of the only team in the Naugatuck Valley League to take them five games (Naugatuck) in blistering fast fashion, 25-12, 25-9 and 25-19.
The final game only looked close, the Raiders substituted liberally in that third game and the visitors battled but like Friday the past five matches have not been close.
Fifteen games played, fifteen games won.
Torrington has dropped just six games all year in running their record out to 11-1 as they are firmly one of the top teams in Class M.
It’s a team that is getting contributions from every corner.
From setter Jayleen Colon to the rulers of the net, Carissa Carbone and Jolie Fox and the all-out diving efforts of Ali Dubois, the Raiders are running on all cylinders.
It’s a team that has experienced the high of a comeback when they roared back against the Greyhounds in the third game of the season when unforced errors gave Naugatuck the first two games and tested their mental ability early in the year.
Their battle against the Bears, one that went down to the wire in their only loss of the year, made them a stronger group for what didn’t happen, that is putting a team away when up 14-10 in game five.
Carbone and Fox give head coach Christine Gamari a dynamic one-two punch at the net where teams need to keep track of them at all times, something the Greyhounds failed to do at times on Friday.
“Jolie is very hard to keep track of at the net,” Gamari said. “They (Naugatuck) lost her at times during the game and she has such a powerful swing which makes her so effective.”
The ability to direct a kill so the only destination it has is the floor is a distinct weapon and through time and practice, Fox has developed her net game.
Carbone is a multi-level threat from all parts of the floor and can get up at the net with anybody she faces.
Junior Candyce Jewett is the designated Libero, or defensive specialist and a very talented but she gets plenty of help from her friends, take this year’s effort from multi-sport star Ali Dubois.
Dubois has been a force at ground level this season, sacrificing gravity in order to save a potential kill by an opponent and she feeds off of it like she feeds off her fastball on the softball diamond as one of the state’s top hurlers.
Junior Lauren Gaghan has stepped up this year and has showed skills at the net and from the service line.
Having another target at the net keep foes from focusing too much on any one player.
Gaghan led an 11-0 run in the Raiders final game win, taking the ball for service at 2-2 and not stopping until the home team was up 14-2. Fellow junior Nina Lestrud has developed into an important part of the Raiders team on both offense and defense.
The coordination of all good offensive play on this team starts and ends with senior Jayleen Colon (16 assists, seven aces on Friday.)
The calming force on the team, Colon is the orchestra leader, the one who makes sure everything runs smooth and sounds good.
The job of a setter is two or three fold. They have to be able to set the ball in front or behind themselves or know when to send the ball to an open spot on the other side of the net.
This train is loaded with talent and determined to continue this habit they have of winning until they reach their ultimate goal in the states down the line.
Eight games remain in the regular season, including another shot at the Bears on October 27 in Granby.