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Raiders volleyball team gets tested by Wolcott but come away with a 3-1 win.

POSTED September 12, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: After two sets, it seemed like old times for the Torrington volleyball team, the one that made that magnificent run all the way to the Class M State Finals a year ago.

They were up 2-0 over visiting Wolcott and humming on all cylinders to game wins of 25-10 and 25-19, seemingly on their way to another fast shutout, as they had done in their season opener against rival Woodland.

In the third game though, the Eagles raced out to a fast 6-0 lead that grew to 8-1 before ending in a 25-15 win by a suddenly awake Wolcott team.

A year ago, the Raiders lost just seven games all year on their way to a tremendous 19-1 record but lost a great deal of talent to graduation.

Not that the cupboard is bare, far from it, but the Raiders have new pieces in place that will need time to get in sync with each other.

How would they react to getting knocked back on their collective heals?

Just fine, thank you.

Led by the efforts of seniors Shae Eucalitto (29 assists, 4 kills and 3 digs), Lauren Gaghan (12 kills) and Candyce Jewett (16 digs), the Raiders came back strong themselves in game four to dispose of the Eagles by a 25-15 final.

Gaghan and Jewett, along with Nina Lestrud, were key members of the 2016 team and bring back a world of experience while adding a skilled setter in Eucalitto and several quality players as well.

Senior Vivian Jimenez-Rijo looks like she can be a force at the net while Jocelyn Zordan had key kills in the fourth and final game.

In game one, the two teams battled tightly with neither able to break away until senior Bayleigh DiMauro led an 11-0 run from the service line to seal the opener for the home team.

Lestrud was powerful at the net in game one, accounting for four kills in the game with some confident play at the net.

Wolcott showed signs of life in game two as they served better and didn’t commit as many unforced errors as they did in game one.

The visitors got within 20-16 before a pair of kills by Jimenez-Rijo wrapped up game two.

Would it be a fast 90 minutes and out of the gym as it was so many times last year?

Not so fast, the Eagles were not ready to back down.

After the game three loss, it was again Lestrud who got the Raiders off to a fast start with a pair of kills as the home team raced out to an 8-2 lead and carried that on for a four-set win, their second of the season.

It's going to be interesting watching this team grow as a unit this year.

On Tuesday, they faced their first test and first challenge of the 2017 campaign and responded the way head coach Christine Gamari would expect.

This is a championship program after all.

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