No. 1 Vikes upset by Woodstock

Griswold - The match long lost to Woodstock Academy, East Lyme senior Kayla Fobian could grin and bear it.

"I'll give them credit they did great," Fobian said after Woodstock ended the Vikings' two-year reign as Eastern Connecticut Conference volleyball tournament champion Tuesday, 25-16, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, at Griswold High School.

"They were pounding the ball at us. Honestly, our defense was having a hard time at times getting their balls back."

It was the second ECC title for the second-seeded Centaurs (17-4), the first coming with 2000.

Jillian Bartlett had 27 assists for the top-seeded Vikings (18-3) and Emily Ennis added 11 kills.

Woodstock's Sam Geddes (18 kills) was named tournament MVP. Jess Forst had 33 assists and eight kills.

It was also the first time in five meetings that the Centaurs beat East Lyme, dating back to last season's ECC final and Class L state semifinals.

The Vikings had swept the Centaurs this year, the second win coming a little over two weeks ago.

In that second match, East Lyme played strong defensively and made few mistakes. Woodstock didn't.

Tuesday, the roles were reversed.

"The first two matches that we had against East Lyme (this season), what killed us were our errors," Centaurs coach Adam Bottone said.

"One area that comes to mind the last match was we had 28 hitting errors."

Woodstock setter Jess Forst said, "We always had it in us. We were able to control our errors this time."

Defense and serve-receive had been the cornerstones of East Lyme's success during the regular season. It wasn't during the final, though.

"That was an aggressive Woodstock team," Vikings coach Jack Biggs said. "I think they definitely played to their potential tonight. If you can't pass-serve, you're not going to have too much success in this sport, and we struggled in our serve-receive tonight."

Fobian said, "We weren't quite there completely there tonight."

Woodstock libero Sam Forst was one of the biggest difference makers Tuesday. She played strong defensively and had 18 digs, allowing the Centaurs' stronger hitters to fire away at East Lyme.

"My sister is one of the best liberos I've ever seen play," Jess Forst said. "I know when she's in it mentally, she can do anything she puts her mind to."

Woodstock trailed by a point in Game 2 when Sam Forst served three straight aces. She followed with three more strong serves that the Vikings struggled with and had to dump the ball back to the Centaurs.

Geddes, Julia Low, and Geddes again had kills during that sequence as Woodstock went ahead, 21-16.

"It took us two games to realize that we were getting outworked and outhustled," Biggs said.

East Lyme begins defense of its CIAC Class L championship later this week (the CIAC pairings will be released today).

"What's practice going to be like we're going to have a little gut check," Biggs said. "Look in the mirror. How are we going to prepare for the state tournament?"

n.griffen@theday.com

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